Build­ing Ty­polo­gies – Lost in Trans­la­tion!

Accommodation Times - - Real Estate Investments -

Au­thors Ar. Gau­ravSang­havi, Di­rec­tor, Pen­tas­pace Con­sul­tants Pvt. Ltd. Ar. An­mol Warang CEO, Pen­tas­pace Con­sul­tants Pvt. Ltd.

The most im­por­tant rea­son for the for­ma­tion of amended de­vel­op­ment con­trol reg­u­la­tions in 2012 and in­tro­duc­tion of Fun­gi­ble FSIhas been uni­di­rec­tional – ‘stop ram­pant mal­prac­tice, while gen­er­at­ing rev­enue for the MCGM’. It en­vis­ages a com­pact plan where all ar­eas are in­cluded for the com­pu­ta­tion of Floor Space In­dex (FSI) and a cap is fixed so that there is no room to ma­nip­u­late the rules to cre­ate ex­cess non-hab­it­able ar­eas and over­charg­ing con­sumers. Although it seems to have suc­ceeded in its prima fa­cie mo­tive, con­cep­tu­ally the idea of fun­gi­ble FSI should have been made flex­i­ble.

It has been the­o­ret­i­cally sug­gested that with the new rules that ef­fec­tively in­creased the to­talFSI at 1.79 in the is­land city and 2.7 in the suburbs, Mum­bai would wit­ness re­duced cost of hous­ing; and given an FSI cap, it would usher in a cer­tain­ra­tional­iza­tion as devel­op­ers would need to in­vest in qual­ity de­sign of­fer­ing max­i­mum value to end-users.

To say that the amended DCR has only pos­i­tives to of­fer is an ex­tremely dan­ger­ous mis­nomer to be­lieve in. Even though net FSI has in­creased, it does not nec­es­sar­ily in­crease the den­sity or quan­tity of hous­ing stock, which Mum­bai needs des­per­ately.

Fur­ther­more, the amended rules have en­sured that many build­ing ty­polo­gies be­come re­dun­dant and in some cases ex­tinct. For high den­sity hous­ing schemes apart from slum re­de­vel­op­ment it’s the be­gin­ning of a slow but sure end. In many re­de­vel­op­ment projects ear­lier it was con­sid­ered nor­mal to fit 4 / 5 / 6 and at times even 8 apart­ments per floor. Many would agree that the num­ber of ef­fec­tively planned units per floor de­cided the cal­iber of the plan­ning firm. It was al­ways more the mer­rier. The smaller the re­de­vel­oped apart­ment size, the more the

num­bers per floor. Of all the other ben­e­fits this en­sured ef­fi­ciency of the ser­vice core and lifts and in­vari­ably brought down con­struc­tion cost and the load­ing fac­tor on car­pet area.

As plan­ners we need to look be­yond the ob­vi­ous to en­sure that the end prod­uct re­ceived by the re­de­vel­oped so­ci­eties is main­tain­able and sus­tain­able. A ver­ti­cal cir­cu­la­tion core with higher num­ber of flats per floor when ef­fi­ciently planned is a very good tool to re­duce con­struc­tion and in­stal­la­tion cost of machin-

ery and equip­ment. Also if larger num­ber of units share the same cir­cu­la­tion core, the cost of main­tain­ing the core is highly re­duced and within lim­its to the com­mon man. To­day re­gard­less of the apart­ment unit size, it is not pos­si­ble to ac­com­mo­date more than 4 flats per floor. Any at­tempt to in­crease this num­ber is en­coun­tered by ‘ wastage of Fun­gi­ble FSI’. Since only the area in front of the lift and stair­case is free of FSI, any at­tempt to in­crease the num­ber of flats on each floor thereby in­creas­ing pas­sage area in the floor lobby amounts to use of FSI. No de­vel­oper wants to ‘waste’FSI for ser­vices and cir­cu­la­tion es­pe­cially when it

To say that the amended DCR has only pos­i­tives to of­fer is an ex­tremely dan­ger­ous mis­nomer to be­lieve in. Even though net FSI has in­creased, it does not nec­es­sar­ily in­crease the den­sity or quan­tity of hous­ing stock,.

comes at a pre­mium. The same thoughts are echoed by res­i­dents as ev­ery­one wants to have sole rights on their share. To find a res­i­dent will­ing to let go of FSI for the bet­ter­ment of de­sign and ef­fi­cient plan­ning is like find­ing a nee­dle in a haystack.

This has in­vari­ably killed some very ef­fi­cient floor plans and along with them a lot of form mod­u­la­tions and build­ing ty­polo­gies such as the ‘ Y ’, ‘ + ’, ‘tri­an­gle’, ‘polyg­o­nal’, ‘el­lip­ti­cal’ have most prob­a­bly have

also seen the last sun­set. Th­ese plan forms have the po­ten­tial to al­low more num­ber of units per floor but they re­quire larger lobby ar­eas and cor­ri­dors which now con­sume FSI. The idea of adding Fun­gi­ble FSI to the reg­u­lar FSI was to use it for all such el­e­ments in­clud­ing el­e­va­tion treat­ment, but the trans­la­tion of the rule on pa­per into ap­pli­ca­tion seems to have missed a trick or two. To­day all build­ings have more or less the same plan for­ma­tion; 1 / 2 / 3 and max­i­mum 4 units per floor as th­ese do not need large lobby ar­eas. With not even an iota of free­dom in plan­ning ar­chi­tects have been left with no choice but to de­sign most build­ings with a ‘rec­tan­gle’, ‘L’ or ‘T’ shapes.

Even gen­uine de­sign at­tempts to make an ef­fi­cient and good look­ing build­ing are stalled by a sim­ple state­ment – ‘ Do not waste FSI in any­thing that does not con­vert into us­able car­pet area’. A long term ef­fect of this at­ti­tude that en­sures an in­crease in the num­ber of cir­cu­la­tion cores is that the cost of liv­ing will ob­vi­ously in­crease by the day.

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