By Pallavii Pitale
On the background of a recent decision of Bombay High Court declaring that the Bombay Municipal Corporation cannot levy premium for FSI exemption on lifts and staircases, The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation ( BMC ) has decided not to exempt the common areas of the elevators, staircases in exchange for a premium.
Earlier, the developers used to pay premiums for leaving these areas out of FSI calculations. Now they will have to calculate these areas in the FSI calculations.
The BMC is also making it compulsory to have an emergency exit staircase for all the new buildings that are coming up. Earlier, the emergency staircases were compulsory for the structures of min.17 storeys and above. The BMC has expressed that this is a must provision as far as the risk of life is concerned in the case of any emergency especially for the high rise structures. It has been observed that many developers up till now have ended up their projects by not providing the emergency exit but got exemptions by paying the premium for the same, thereby saving their cost.
The developers are of the opinion that this decision may lead to the reduction of property stock and so shall increase the prices of the properties. As the lifts and staircases occupy almost 10% of the total area of any project, with the new addition of emergency staircase, the no. of apartments per building would reduce, most of the projects which have almost come up to the approval stage, could become unviable.
Almost 300 such projects are stuck now due to this decision of BMC that would not clear the project until the developers are not including the staircases in the FSI calculation.
The MCHI, the apex body of the developers is of the opinion that such delays can harm the development of the city which is necessity of the times. The regional town planning act was to be amended by the state government with an additional FSI of 0.33% to the developers. The developers are hoping this amendment does not take away the exemption of staircases and elevators from calculating FSI.