Is FAR in­crease a good idea?

An in­crease in FAR and ground cov­er­age means more dwelling units in the Cap­i­tal, which will put pres­sure on civic ameni­ties

HT Estates - - HTESTATES - HT Es­tates Cor­re­spon­dent

The re­cent decision of the ur­ban de­vel­op­ment min­is­ter M Venka­iah Naidu to en­hance the ground cov­er­age and Floor Area Ra­tio ( FAR) in Delhi has evoked a mixed re­sponse from home­own­ers, builders, town plan­ners and ar­chi­tects.

The gov­ern­ment has in­creased FAR in re­spect of plots of 750 square me­tre from 150% to 200% and for plots of 1000 sq m and above from 120% to 200%. While the ground cov­er­age for plots of 750 sq m up to 1000 sq m will re­main 50%, the same has been in­creased from 40% to 50% for plots of 1000 sq m and above.

Ac­cord­ing to Pradeep Mishra, CMD, Ru­drab­hishek En­ter­prises Pvt Ltd (REPL), an ar­chi­tec­tural and town plan­ning con­sul­tancy firm, “The min­istry of ur­ban de­vel­op­ment needs to clar­ify the ap­pli­ca­bil­ity of en­hanced FAR and ground cov­er­age. It’s not clear whether it’s ap­pli­ca­ble on group hous­ing plots. As far as in­di­vid­ual plot own­ers are con­cerned, en­hanced FAR means more ground cov­er­age be­cause height re­stric­tions stand at 17.5 me­tres for all in­di­vid­ual houses sub­ject to fire depart­ment clear­ances.”

“With the pre­vi­ous FAR, the owner of an 800 sq m plot could have cov­ered 400 sq m of ground, with 1200 sq m as to­tal built-up area. It means with 400 sq m ground cov­er­age, he could have built just three floors to use up the 1,200 sq m (400 sq m mul­ti­plied by 3) FAR. Un­der the new pro­vi­sion, the same plot gets 400 sq m ground cov­er­age, but 200% FAR, which means built-up area of 1600 sq m. This means four floors can now be con­structed with 400 sq m ground cov­er­age. How­ever, in both cases, the height of the build­ing will not ex­ceed 17.5 me­tre with fire depart­ment clear­ance and 15 me­tre with­out clear­ance,” adds Mishra.

In case of plots of 1000 sq ft or above, the home­owner can cover 10% more ground area as the height re­stric­tions of 17.5 m ap­ply here as well. The new pro­vi­sion will def­i­nitely cre­ate more dwelling units on a plot big­ger than 750 sq m.

Ro­hit Raj Modi, pres­i­dent, Credai NCR, says that this ex­tra FAR will def­i­nitely help de­vel­op­ers with ex­tra space, “How­ever, we need more clar­i­fi­ca­tion on the is­sue of change in den­sity, num­ber of dwelling units and height. We think that in­crease in FAR shall be ef­fec­tive if ac­com­pa­nied by in­crease in dwelling units, den­sity and height.”

Ac­cord­ing to Anuj Puri, chair­man and coun­try head, JLL In­dia, “Though no clar­ity has been given on an in­crease in the dwelling units al­lowed on the larger plots, there is a pro­vi­sion in the draft Delhi Master Plan 2021 which al­lows for an in­crease in the num­ber of dwelling units. Un­der this pro­vi­sion, the cost of a con­cur­rent aug­men­ta­tion of as­so­ci­ated civic in­fra­struc­ture has to be borne by the de­vel­oper and paid to the au­thor­ity. This pro­vi­sion in the draft master plan can be used to in­crease the num­ber of dwelling units. If used ju­di­ciously, this pro­vi­sion in con­junc­tion with the in­creased FAR can be utilised for in­creas­ing the hous­ing stock on res­i­den­tial plots go­ing for­ward.”

How­ever, many ex­perts on ur­ban­i­sa­tion and town plan­ning say that the in­crease in FAR will yield lit­tle and dam­age more as it leads to more dwelling units, putting im­mense pres­sure on civic ser­vices in Delhi.

“The gov­ern­ment should first think of pro­vid­ing ad­e­quate wa­ter, power, proper sewage sys­tem, park­ing etc in Delhi. Delhi is burst­ing at the seams and this time in­creas­ing FAR is a bad move,” says a se­nior civil en­gi­neer from East Delhi.

“In­crease in FAR can cre­ate more dwelling units but at the same time it will put pres­sure on the ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture of the city. Delhi is al­ready a very crowded place and civic ameni­ties such as wa­ter, power, roads and trans­port are al­ready un­der ex­treme pres­sure due to ex­plod­ing pop­u­la­tion. In­crease in FAR should be done after a proper im­pact as­sess­ment on the civic ameni­ties,” says Mishra.

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