Builder woes: Changing bylaws leave homebuyers clueless
Apr 14, 2014
Source : The Times of India


NOIDA: The Allahabad high court’s order to demolish two 40-storeyed residential towers of Supertech Emerald Court in Noida’s Sector 93A has brought into focus the ambiguity over rules in the construction sector, precipitated by changing norms and bye-laws.

Till 2006, a builder was allowed to construct only 1.75 times the ground area. However, bylaws also limit construction to 80 flats on an acre. There’s also a cap on the ground area that a builder can use for construction — 35per cent. Let’s say a builder is allowed to construct 80 flats on an acre, which is equivalent to 40,000 sq ft. But as the allowed floor area ratio is 1.75, the total construction area on the one-acre land can be 70,000 sqft. But this entire construction has to be done on 35per cent of the ground area, which is 40,000 sqft. This means the builder can utilize only 14,000 sqft. So, to use the total allowed built-up area, buildings more that have more than five storeys have to be constructed.

But these norms keep changing. In 2006, authorities allowed a builder to increase the floor-area ratio (FAR) up to three. In some areas like Greater Noida, the permitted FAR is even more. While increasing FAR, the authorities also allowed the developer to construct more flats on a given area. The permitted density — which is the number of flats on an acre — was increased to 140.

With these new norms, almost all developers decided not only to construct additional number of permitted apartments in their ongoing projects but also in projects that were partly completed and delivery given to a number of flatowners. In projects where developers had already started construction, they could not change the specification of a completed plinth to build additional apartments. So, they decided to build new towers to accommodate more flats.

But, in many cases, this led to violation of the allowed ground cover area. Supertech claims that it has not violated these norms. But the construction of additional towers obstructed the view of the original buyers. Many of them claimed they paid a premium for a park or swimming pool-facing flat. So, they moved the court and finally a new norm, called Apartment Act, was introduced in 2010.

Under these norms, additional construction was allowed but for that, the developer had to take consent from at least 60per cent of the old buyers. Supertech had started the project in 2006. In 2009, it got the permission to built additional flats. The Apartment Act was introduced in 2010. The CMD of Supertech, RK Arora, said the new norms are not applicable to his projects. That is why he is considering challenging the Allahabad high court judgment in the Supreme Court.

Building a controversy

Nov 23, 2004: Supertech was allotted 48,263 sq m land in Sec 93A by Noida Authority for development of Emerald Court group housing society

Jun 20, 2005: Authority sanctioned layout

Jun 21, 2006: Authority allotted an additional area of 6,556.51 sq m of the same plot to Supertech, increasing the total area to 54,819.51 sq m

Dec 29, 2006: The additional leased area was proposed to have a shopping centre (G+1 floor) and a building block (G+11 floors). Authority gave sanction

Nov 26, 2009: Supertech submitted another revised map, which the Authority sanctioned. The sanction was for Tower No. 16 (Ceyane) and Tower No. 17 (Apex) with G+ 24 floors. The towers were to be built in place of (G+ 11) building and shopping centre (G+1)

 Mar 2, 2012:  Supertech purchased additional floor area ratio (FAR) and got the revised map sanctioned. The sanction permitted the raising of heights of Apex and Ceyane to G + 40 floors

The petitioner, Emerald Court Owner Resident Welfare Association, said the sanction was in violation of building regulations and given without maintaining the mandatory distance of 16 metres between their houses and the towers.

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