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Eye on violations

Other states would do well to implement the technology used by Gujarat and Maharashtra to stop builders from bending rules

realestate Updated: Jun 02, 2014 14:17 IST

With elections over and former Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi set to form the government at the Centre, the limelight is now on what is popularly called the Gujarat model. So, what are some of the real estate best practices in this state that can be adopted by cities across the country? Interestingly and not surprisingly, given PM-to-be Modi’s inclination for technology, one finds that many municipal corporations in Gujarat have been using a software that compares a developer’s layout plan with the existing master plan, acts and building by-laws of an area and also alerts the competent authority in case the developer is violating any building rules.

The Science and Technology Park (an autonomous institute set up jointly by the department of science and technology and the University of Pune) has developed this software.

Many municipal corporations in Maharashtra and Gujarat are using this software and reaping its benefits. Thanks to this software, homebuyers are assured of a safe real estate investment. However, none of the development authorities in Delhi NCR have done it yet.

“Had this been implemented in a place like Noida and Gurgaon, cases like Supertech Emerald Court and many others might not have happened. If the development authorities place a request with us for the development of open public resource planning, we can do it; but we have not received any such request from any development bodies from Delhi NCR,” says Achyut Rao, an associate at the Science and Technology Park.

According to the office bearers of the Science and Technology Park, this technology can go a long way in solving issues related to planned urbanisation and real estate.

“It has been observed that the root cause of legal cases between apartment owners, authorities and builders is improper building plans prepared by developers who have vested commercial interests. In addition, there is rampant corruption at the authority level and, hence, such illegal building plans get approved. Another factor driving unauthorised constructions is limited skilled manpower with the authorities, because of which completion certificates are given in many cases without officials visiting the sites. All such issues can be overcome by deploying g-governance (geospatial technology based governance) tools,” says Dr Rajendra Jagdale, director general of the Science and Technology Park.

Automated buildings

Every urban local body is governed by its notified building regulations and statutory provisions. Open Public Resource Planning (OPRP) can be easily customised to check compliance of regulations by customising its rule-based engine, which can validate AutoCAD building plan layouts online, using the internet and the red-line non-compliances at the submission stage itself. “A perfectly compliant building plan will ensure that all issues are highlighted at the approval stage. A transparent building plan approval will also reduce corruption,” says Jagdale.

Monitoring FAR/FSI

Using photogrammetry techniques (photography plus trigonometry), 3D city models can be generated and used as baseline data. Using this, progress can be monitored at regular intervals with the help of high resolution satellite stereo data to capture the 3D data. This will significantly help the authorities identify FAR/FSI violations and restrict builders from constructing unauthorised floors without physically visiting the site.
“The moment a developer starts any illegal construction, vertically or horizontally, OPRP can track it and send an alert to the officials concerned,” says Rao.

Declaration deed

As all building plans will be submitted into the scale AutoCAD drawing format, the declaration deed can be generated automatically from the plans submitted by the builder and cross referencing can also be done by the computer to check for consistencies with the area figures, regulations etc.
According to Rao, “By integrating the building plans with digital signatures, true copies of the declaration deeds can be published on the authority website during the approval stage itself. Prospective buyers can then download the plans, the declaration deed and make an informed decision, which will significantly reduce the litigation related to real estate deals.”

Super area fraud

It is common practice with the builder to obnoxiously load the actual area to arrive at the super area. It is also observed that in the registered sale deed, covered area is mentioned instead of carpet or super area. The common man is usually unaware about these technical details of carpet, covered and super area and generally goes with the thumb rule that 25-30% loading is acceptable. However, after purchasing the flat on actual computation, it is observed that some builders load up to 44% and shortchange the prospective flat-buyers.

By use of such g-governance tools, this super area fraud can be completely eliminated, as all figures are computed based on the electronic building plan submitted by the builder. This will considerably reduce consumer-related litigations in consumer forums.

No FAR problems

Open PRP will completely eliminate FAR violations as all areas will be automatically and accurately computed; the system will also automatically check for space provided for the setback area (especially in high-rise buildings) and provision for fire refuge areas which are blatantly violated by builders.