BY erealto | 15-05-2019
The National Building Code sets down rules and regulations for constructing buildings. This code is prepared by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). This code is applicable pan-India and states incorporate them in their by-laws. These guidelines have the purpose of regulating construction and safety norms. This code makes builders responsible for the safety of people with a hefty fine levied if they violate the building code. It encourages new building technologies for speedier construction and it incorporates necessary changes keeping in view the requirement of modern buildings. Fire and safety norms are more specified for tall buildings. Such structures are required to have high speed lifts and clearance from the fire department. The Haryana Urban Development Authority revised the building code in their by-laws in 2016 in which they made a provision for stilt parking and increased the height of buildings from 11meters to 15 meters in lieu of the stilt parking and increasing the height of each floor. Stilt floor is a open ground floor that has structural columns supporting the building structure. This provision facilitated parking and residential areas were not cramped with unruly parking. The building code allowed a stilt parking with 3 floors on top. The Haryana government amended the Haryana by-laws in 2017 again when they allowed construction of a fourth floor on the ground without increasing the height of the buildings. The stilt parking is not mandatory any more. This amendment was met with criticism in 2017 when the residents and architects protested that this would clutter residential areas with unruly parking and make roads difficult to maneuver. Certain sectors in Haryana have a provision for stilt parking and residents argued that the amendment is of no use to them. They further argued that the height of the buildings should be increased by 1.5 meters and stilt parking should be made mandatory. The current approved height of buildings by HUDA is 2.4 metres for the stilt floor and 2.75 meters for one floor. When the height of floors is reduced, it is not ideal for summer as the ceiling is too low. Low ceilings trap the heat inside the rooms and ventilation is slower. Engineers from Haryana have stated that the height of the buildings must be raised by at least 2 meters if another floor is allowed to be constructed. Unless the building codes allow residential houses to be more that 15 meters, no more than 3 floors must be allowed. Low ceilings and non-mandatory stilt floors are planning faults because this way people would indulge in chaotic parking and unauthorized construction. This amendment in the building code resulted in many people constructing a 4th floor since 2017 in the hopes of selling the new floor as independent housing units. However the Directorate of Town and Country Planning restricted the registrations of 4th floors in many HUDA sectors which angered residents. Haryana CM Manohar Khattar stated that he has asked the concerned officials to allow residents to register their properties in May 2018. Further action is still anticipated.