'Make builder accountable for collapse'
Building contractors should be made to give certifications to government agencies for their quality of construction, experts said
Oct 22, 2014
Source : The Times of India


NEW DELHI: In the wake of building collapses in Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai, city architects, structural engineers and even building plan sanctioning agencies pushed for a new provision in the regulations to hold contractors and builders responsible.

At the first workshop of the proposed Unified Building Bylaws and Development Control Regulations of Delhi Master Plan, some of the architects and structural engineers suggested that building contractors should be made to give certifications to government agencies. An East Corporation official said, "These players, who have a key role in construction and the quality of work should be held accountable. They compromise with norms but only architects and engineers face the music."

Raising concern over the agencies giving approval for more FAR on existing buildings, some of the architects said this should be allowed only when adequate safety measures have been taken. "Only a good building that does not compromise with the structural safety can save lives and not the government approval or any certificate can prevent a disaster," one of the architects said. He added that such provisions must be incorporated in the building bye-laws.

Most of the participants highlighted the haphazard development and poor enforcement in the national capital making urban life fraught with danger. Urban development secretary Shankar Aggarwal said that keeping in mind problems faced by the people and to realize the objectives of the Delhi Master Plan and to meet the growing housing demand, the ministry is targeting simplification of building bye-laws.

The participants strongly urged that bye-laws should enable construction of high-rise buildings to meet the growing demand in the national capital and in view of scarcity of land. They pointed out that Master Plan provides for re-development but no such activity has been allowed in the last over seven years. They said re-development can meet the needs of accommodating about 40-50% extra population.

Other suggestions made by the stakeholders included specific timeframes for approvals for lay out and building plans, increasing FAR norms and not considering circulation areas as part of FAR. Avoidance of duplication in approvals, like not requiring approvals for expansion when lay out plan was cleared, was also discussed. It was also suggested that multi-level parking should be allowed without including these areas as part of FAR and to go for online approvals of building plans.

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