Development norms for senior citizens
Do the current construction norms require real estate developers to make specific provisions for the differently-abled and senior citizens? They do, but non-implementation of these provision remain a matter of concern.
The Model Building ByeLaws 2016 ( Chapter 8), IS Code 4963, CPWD guidelines for barrier- free environment give detailed design and planning guidelines for a barrier-free environment for the differently-abled and elderly people.
In fact, they have a dedicated chapter on design provisions to be incorporated in any building for public use for the groups concerned.
The provisions required include but are, by no means, limited to parking on the ground floor, wheelchairs, hand rails, easy signage for the hearing-impaired, braille signage for the visually challenged, special toilets etc.
A long way to go
In India, there are still a number of small and mid- sized towns which do not have building bye-laws. In the absence of any regulatory mechanisms, such towns are confronted with haphazard development which results in chaotic conditions and inconvenience to property users.
The recently-announced Model Building Bye-Laws 2016 are intended to establish guidelines for the benefit of state governments, urban local bodies (ULBs), urban development authorities, etc and are an improvement over the previous Model Building Byelaws brought out in 2004.
Similarly, the implementation of the norms needs to be more effective in office complexes and residential areas. The Indian developments and construction industry needs to recognise the importance – in fact, the business importance - of detailed planning and efficient execution to make any real estate development for public utility, or for use by a large number of people, disabled and elderly-friendly.