Guidelines : Committee submits draft to Municipal Commissioner
The technical committee for highrise buildings has decided not to consider any proposals for a high rise on a net plot area of less than 1,000 sq m. It has submitted its draft guidelines for such buildings to the Municipal Commissioner.
The seven-member committee,chaired by former Chief Justice BV Chavan,has decided to follow the proposed guidelines,particularly the one regarding net plot area,hereafter. Earlier,there were no set norms regarding the net plot area for highrises, Chavan said. Though we will now give clearances only under the new guidelines,we are just a recommendation committee and the ultimate power lies with the administration.
Chief Fire Officer Uday Tatkare said a highrise building on a smaller plot meant many safety norms were compromised with,especially those on fire safety. Usually,there are two staircases,one fire lift,one stretcher lift,etc which are needed for highrise buildings. He said the buildings that come up for approval with lesser net plot area could not necessarily fulfill all the safety requirements.
The committee,comprising officials from the civic development plan department,fire department,MPCB,private architects and structural,civil and soil engineers from IIT and VJTI,was formed in July 2004 to vet proposals for highrises and its brief is to examine the structural stability of a highrise building and its overall effect on the neighbouring environment,roads and infrastructure.
Under the definition,a highrise is any building over 70 m in height (approximately 20 storeys). The proposals for a 200-odd metre high residential building,owned by Picadilly Estate,on a 539-sq m plot in Malabar Hill and a 101-metre-high residential-cum-commercial building on a 290-sq m plot are among those with less than a plot area of 1,000 sq m already cleared by the committee.
As on April 19,2010,the committee has received 218 proposals,of which 155 were cleared. The highrise proposals cleared include a 300-m-high residential building at Shree Ram Mill and another 305-m-high residential building near Marine Lines.
A member said the committee used to get highrise proposals on really small areas as there was no specific parameter on the net plot area; and it was asked to clear them. As the builders will in one way or other fulfill the safety requirements,there was not much we could do. But now,there can be a blanket ban on any plot with area less than 1,000 sq m.
Upshot for cluster housing
As per the new guidelines,more space needs to be provided on the side areas of highrises while the road adjacent needs to be wider. And this means highrises can only be built on larger plots. In certain areas of Mumbai,especially the old city,small plots will have to be combined for building such high rises.
The cluster approach is largely applicable to cessed buildings in the island city,but it also extends to include other buildings that are unfit for human habitation and slums on public lands prior to January 1,1995. Most of these buildings are located in the island city that does not have much land available for new residential or commercial construction.
In cluster housing,the builders are provided incentive FSI that can be used for free sale. This encourages amalgamation of plots and deriving extra FSI from that.
We had studied cluster housing approach in Hong Kong,Shanghai and Singapore and felt that this could be a better approach to redevelopment, a committee member said.
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