Mumbai: BMC seeks to ease marginal open spaces of commercial buildings

March 16, 2023
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Representative Image

MUMBAI: The BMC has sought to relax the quantum of marginal open spaces required on the side and rear of commercial buildings. If implemented, it will benefit developers constructing office buildings.

The BMC has invited objections and suggestions from the public within a month to its proposal to modify Clause 41(2) of Development Control and Promotion Regulations 2034 (DCPR 2034). Thereafter, it will approach the state urban development department to allow the relaxation.

The decision comes close on the heels of the state government granting a similar condonation in marginal open spaces for commercial development of airport land around Sahar in January, now owned by Adani group.

At present, building rules mandatorily require marginal open spaces on the rear and sides of every building for light and ventilation. In case of commercial buildings, the minimum requirement is 4.5 metres, going up to a maximum of 6.4 metres for a 32-metre building or of nine storeys.

Currently, the new development control rules allow a builder to seek relaxation in the mandatory requirement of side and rear marginal open spaces. The BMC commissioner, though, has to justify in writing the reasons for granting the concession. The concession is granted only upon payment of a premium which is 50% of the Ready Reckoner Rate for commercial development.

Under the new notification, the government will grant the concession in marginal open spaces by law, thus doing away with the need for the commissioner’s sanction and payment of premium.

Architect Vilas Nagalkar said the relaxation is being granted for commercial buildings with glass facades that are not dependent on natural light and ventilation.

These buildings already have provisions for artificial light and mechanical ventilation, he said. “The DCPR 2034 allows for a floor space index (FSI) of 5 for commercial buildings. This high FSI has been granted taking into consideration the built-up area required to create businesses and jobs and thus fuel the city’s economy. If builders seek concession in marginal open spaces, then the high premium proves to be a deterrent. Hence the move to rationalise it is a welcome one,” he said.

Architect Sunil Deole said the decision will result in drastic reduction in premium. P K Das, architect and town planner, said it is yet another concession in a series of concessions in open spaces which is damaging the environment and quality of life.

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