Are bells, whis­tles added in re­ally build­ings needed?

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Estates - - HTESTATES - Ku­nal Lala let­ter­schd@hin­dus­tan­

De­vel­op­ers of res­i­den­tial build­ings, in or­der to at­tract home buy­ers, are pro­vid­ing ameni­ties that are way be­yond ne­ces­si­ties. But do we re­ally need all these lux­u­ri­ous ameni­ties and are they worth it? Let us look at few points that would help ex­plain it.

To be­gin with, the ba­sic ameni­ties that area must ina res­i­den­tial com­plex are :

•Interiors – Acous­ti­cal treated win­dows, high qual­ity elec­tri­cal wiring & plumb­ing fix­tures are among the ba­sic ameni­ties that need to be pro­vided in­side a home

•Safety and security equip­ment - Security and safety is an im­por­tant con­cern for ev­ery build­ing. Of­fer­ing round-the­clock security, au­to­mated ac­cess con­trol, video door phones & an in­ter­com sys­tem helps in cre­at­ing a sense of security. A backup power gen­er­a­tor, el­e­va­tors with au­to­matic res­cue de­vices & a well-trained security agency which can or­gan­ise reg­u­lar emer­gency drills gives the res­i­dent the re­quired com­fort they need in their homes

•Chil­dren’ s play area–A lawn or play­ground with equip­ment (Swing, See-saw, Mon­key bar, etc.) is a must for fam­i­lies with chil­dren

•Park­ing Space – This is a top pri­or­ity in the list of re­quire­ments for a res­i­dent. Ide­ally, this space should be cov­ered

•A hall/ open area for Com­mu­nity events-Open ar­eas al­low the mem­bers of the com­mu­nity to en­gage in so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties, and also in de­vel­op­ing re­la­tion­ships in­ter­nally with the res­i­dents of the build­ing

•Gym & Swim­ming Pool – Work­out rooms with a tread­mill and other gym equip­ment in the premises will save the res­i­dent’s time from hav­ing to travel to health clubs. It will also save the cost in terms of ex­pen­sive mem­ber­ships. While projects would launch with only a swim­ming pool and a club house a few years back, the re­cent trend is to of­fer ad­di­tional ameni­ties that may in­clude as pa, mini the­atre, home au­to­ma­tion, white goods – A smart fridge, elec­tric stove, a wash­ing ma­chine, dish wash­ers, etc

How­ever, these ad­di­tional ameni­ties tend to in­crease costs of main­te­nance over­heads as men­tioned be­low:

In­crease in CAM (Com­mon Area Main­te­nance) Charges: The res­i­dent will have to pay for the main­te­nance and re­pair of the hi-end lux­ury ameni­ties uti­lized by them as a part of the CAM Charges. The more the ameni­ties, the higher the CAM charge that is paid by each res­i­dent.

This is be­cause ad­di­tional ameni­ties tend to in­crease the con­sump­tion of elec­tric­ity& tend to in­crease the over­all cost of main­te­nance & re­pairs.

When ren­o­va­tions& re­fur­bish­ments oc­cur, nor­mally once in ev­ery 5 to 7 years, re do­ing these ameni­ties also in­creases the over­all cost.

In­crease in CAP EX in the Long Run: Ad­di­tional ameni­ties such as spa’s, mini-the­atres, au­to­ma­tion sys­tems have a lim­ited life cy­cle, which means that the Res­i­dents or the So­ci­ety will have to in­cur large cap­i­tal ex­penses to re­place these items once their use­ful life is com­plete.

These items are typ­i­cally fairly ex­pen­sive & Res­i­dents are usu­ally re­luc­tant to in­fuse more funds to­wards the so­ci­ety or use funds from a So­ci­ety’s cor­pus to pay for these ex­penses.

In­crease in Elec­tric­ity Charges for Individual Homes: Dish­wash­ers, in-unit washer-dry­ers and elec­tric stoves that are of­ten of­fered in new homes also in­crease the res­i­dent’ s elec­tric­ity bills. Hence, elec­tric­ity charges tend to be­come a lot higher than the charges that the home­owner would have pre­vi­ously paid.

Ev­ery pur­chaser needs to make an ed­u­cated cost ben­e­fit anal­y­sis of pur­chas­ing or rent­ing an apart­ment in a build­ing with ad­di­tional ameni­ties. De­vel­op­ers in­stall added ameni­ties with­out fac­tor­ing in the cost of op­er­at­ing them in the long-run be­cause it makes it eas­ier for them to ap­peal to the con­sumers in-to buy­ing apart­ments. How­ever, we have come across sce­nar­ios where res­i­den­tial hous­ing so­ci­eties ne­glect or re­place these ad­di­tional ameni­ties in or­der to reign in main­te­nance costs, once they have taken over the man­age­ment of the build­ing from the De­vel­oper

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