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Skyscrapers are no solution for affordable housing

Delhi may be getting ready to enjoy a lifestyle close to the stars, but that's only for a chosen few. Vandana Ramnani reports.

delhi Updated: Dec 26, 2011 00:22 IST
Vandana Ramnani
Vandana Ramnani
Hindustan Times

Delhi may be getting ready to enjoy a lifestyle close to the stars, but that's only for a chosen few. Experts point out that skyscrapers do not address the problem of affordable housing. They, in fact, double the cost of construction, making your dream home on the 50th floor an expensive reality.

The taller you go, the more expensive is the structure because of costs that add up due to the massive infrastructure support, environmental, health and safety issues that developers may be required to address.

"The construction cost almost doubles when a developer decides to construct more than 20 floors. Conventional construction technology will not work. They may need to hire highly-skilled architects, designers, contractors and project managers who may not be available locally," said Anckur Srivasttava of GenReal Advisors, a real estate consultancy firm.

The high-rise concept works best in case of high-value land such as the central business district or a premium location that allows the developer to apportion the cost of land over a higher constructible area, he said. But Srivasttava did concede that tall buildings allow developers to make optimal use of land.

Agrees Navin Raheja, chairman and managing director, Raheja Developers Limited. "The cost definitely goes up - more than two times depending on the finished specifications. We are already charging floor preferential location charges (PLC) after the 20th floor at the rate of Rs 100 per sq ft per floor to compensate for the cost of construction for our 60-floor Raheja Revanta project in Gurgaon."

Tall works best when land is scarce. The biggest challenge of going tall is the limited expertise available in our country. Besides, the country never got an opportunity to go tall before, except in Mumbai, said Rahul Kumar of Rajinder Kumar and Associates, an architectural firm. Tall structures can never be a solution for affordable housing, Kumar says.

First Published: Dec 26, 2011 00:15 IST