Relaxation of floor norms in Delhi: Good, bad or ugly?
Relaxing norms for construction of additional floors in residential flats will not help unless other challenges are addressed
The government has relaxed norms for construction of additional floors in residential flats having multiple ownerships, aiming to weed out corruption and help people get their building plans sanctioned without hassles. As per a new directive, people having right over the third floor will no longer require to obtain a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the other floor owners for the construction of a third floor.
Municipal corporations will have to examine structural safety and compliance of building bye-laws while giving approval for construction of the third floor. They will need to look into aspects such as structural safety, fire safety, non-obstruction of passages and air and sunshine for neighbours and neighbouring buildings before approving any building plans. Also, adequate parking norms will need to be followed to get clearance. As a matter of fact, there are quite a few complications that need to be resolved to be able to effectively implement the order.
As of now, the three owners of ground, first and second floors share one-third land rights. If an additional floor is to be constructed, then the other floor-owners have to forfeit their land right - which will go down from 33% to 25%. Moreover, if it is possible to build within the 300 FAR in any house up from 200, the other floor-owners will claim 33% right on the extra 100, while the second floor owners would claim it as theirs. In other words, there will certainly be legal issues that need to be addressed.
It also seems evident that there will be a need to increase existing infrastructure due to this move, since it will have to cater to increased population. Water, electricity and all other necessary supply systems would have to be massively ramped up in order to cater to increased demand.
In short - this directive, if not complemented along with other necessary changes in the existing laws, and if not implemented with the right intent and spirit, will do no significant good in reality.
On the positive side, this move will not essentially result in any major influx of new population to put the existing facilities under stress. Rather, it would primarily mean creation of more housing opportunities for the population currently residing there. This means that no significant additional changes will need to be made to existing colonies.
Currently in Delhi, property prices are exorbitantly high and thus are out of reach of middle-class end consumer. This move will help to put a check on the already sky-high prices. As housing options will, to a certain extent, become more affordable, the working class population will be able to address their dream of owning a home in Delhi more realistically.
With the acute scarcity of land in Delhi, there is very limited scope of horizontal expansion - and thus, vertical growth remains a viable option. The move to allow building of an additional floor will increase usable FAR resulting in more efficient utilisation of land.
Also, since we have already seen many such constructions taking place even in the absence of a corresponding documented policy, formal guidelines will give legitimacy to all such constructions, make the process smoother and help do away with involved corrupt practices.
As far as the right way to go about this is concerned, I will advocate the implementation of this move with all necessary changes in bye-laws. Merely abolishing NOCs as an appeasement strategy is not recommended. To be able to implement this action with a view to the desired results, all involved complications and challenges also need to be proactively addressed.