Odisha Govt Revises Construction Rules; No Prior Permission For House Renovation Needed

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Bhubaneswar: To give the much-needed push to the real estate sector and create adequate opportunities for growth of affordable housing in urban areas during and post-COVID-19, the Odisha government has introduced some major reforms in planning and building rules for construction of houses and multi-storied apartments in the state.

A new set of rules namely, Odisha Development Authorities (Planning & Building Standards) Rules, 2020, has been approved by the government which will obviate the need for formulating multiple regulations by the development authorities.

Speaking to mediapersons, Housing and Urban Development Minister Pratap Jena said that the changes in the rules and regulations are aimed at attracting more investments in real estate and giving a boost to GDP growth. “Now a common man has a hassle-free system, which will facilitate the construction of more houses,” he said,

Elaborating on the reforms, the minister said, “Buildings having eight dwelling units will now be termed apartment instead of the present four. The restriction of a minimum plot size of 500 metre has also been done away with.”

Besides, some new model plans have been prepared for the benefit of the people who can start construction work after depositing the necessary amount and an undertaking. They do not have to run to authorities concerned for housing plan approval any more, he added.

Stating that there was no need to take permission for the renovation of old houses, Jena said floor area ratio has been increased to 7. For vertical buildings, a deposit of 50 per cent of land has been reduced to 25 per cent and it can be paid in instalments, he added.

According to government sources, these rules were framed after a series of engagements with all the stakeholders for a period of almost six months. Thereafter, the draft rules were proclaimed in February 2020, inviting suggestions and objections. After considering thousands of suggestions received from a diverse range of persons, institutions and associations, the rules were finalized and notified on August 6.

Here are the details of the policy reforms:

Standardization and Digitization

  • Common planning and building standard across the state.
  • Elimination of ambiguities which prevails with multiple regulations formulated by Development Authorities.
  • Bringing clarity for the urban planners, architects, technical persons, developers, business houses, investors, government agencies /departments and officials working across the state.
  • Facilitating the introduction of On-line Building Plan Approval System on a common digital platform
  • Setting new standards of efficiency and transparency in delivering planning services.

Putting Public Convenience at Centre Stage

  • Setback for low-risk buildings made flexible by allowing cumulative side and rear setback.
  • Unlimited FAR for Residential or Commercial buildings on a plot size of 115 Sq.m (≅ 1200 Sq.ft) or less and building height of maximum 10 meters.
  • Introduction of 108 Standard Building Plans for Low-Risk Buildings
  • Construction of low-risk buildings with the above standard plans only by submitting an undertaking and fees.
  • No permission for minor alterations in building, if there is no violation of general building requirements, structural stability and fire & health safety requirements.
  • No permission required for providing partitions, opening and closing of a window/door, re-tiling/re-roofing or re-flooring or construction of sunshades, etc.
  • Exemptions up to 8 dwelling units from consideration as an apartment.
  • No minimum plot size restriction for the construction of apartments.

Promotion of Affordable Housing

  • Relaxations and exemptions on setbacks for EWS and LIG houses.
  • Relaxation on the requirement of the approach road.
  • Relaxation on parking requirement.
  • The recent amendment of the Policy for Housing for All in Urban Areas, Odisha, 2015.
  • The monetisation of government land under liberal policy framework.
  • Releasing 60% of Government land to the Private Partner for cross-subsidizing Affordable Housing Stock over only 40% of the Project Area.
  • This is the highest incentive proposed by any State in the entire country.
  • Targeting the attraction of maximum private investment in the affordable housing sector.

Introduction of mixed-use norm

  • Commercial uses (professional offices and shops, etc.) allowed on the ground floor if 30 ft wide road available.
  • Further, for such commercial use, if additional front- setback of 1 metre is provided without a front boundary wall, then the total front setback would be considered as surface parking for calculation of off-street parking requirement.

Pragmatic approach for city re-densification and effective utilization of urban space and urban infrastructure:

  • Setting a new standard in allowing FAR for all kinds of buildings, which is the highest in the country.
  • Several progressive reforms to promote compact and high rise development for effective utilization of urban land and infrastructure.

Transit-Oriented Development:

  • Transit-oriented development to encourage mixed-use and higher density.
  • Development along the notified transit priority corridors.
  • Setback requirement for high rise buildings has been reduced to allow flexibility to leave open spaces around the buildings.
  • Maximum ground coverage restriction has been introduced to disallow creation of concrete jungle.

Boosting Real Estate Development

  • Removal of restriction on minimum plot size requirement for apartment building and highrise building.
  • Reduction in requirement of the distance between two buildings within a project and linkage with the setback requirement.
  • Exemption of height of stilt/basement from height calculation.
  • Occupancy certificate for particular phase(s) of the project in accordance with RERA registration.
  • Removal of the provision for registration of developer in the Development Authority
  • Option to deposit purchasable FAR and External Infrastructure Development fee, in four equal instalments.
  • Reduction in rate of purchasable FAR to 25 per cent of Bench Mark Value.
  • Exemption of commercial activity up to 5 per cent of built-up area in apartment and housing projects while determining mixed-use buildings.

Strengthening the Enforcement Infrastructure norms through Third Party Inspection:

  • Introduction of penalty for non-submission of the stage-wise report to prevent violation at the early stages.
  • Introduction of Third Party Verification at early construction stages to detect violations at plinth level and after casting of first-floor roof in case of apartments/ housing projects/ high rise buildings /special buildings.

Making Structural Safety and Fire Safety non-negotiable priorities:

  • Vetting by a civil engineering department of any Government engineering college of Odisha mandatory for structural Design of High rise Buildings prepared by a Registered Structural Engineer.
  • Provisions for adherence to fire safety norms made mandatory.

With all these and many more provisions in the new Rules, the government wants to bring about a radical change in the Real Estate sector, which is expected set in competition in the market and ensure investment in an unprecedented scale in the real estate sector in general and affordable housing in particular, the sources added.

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