Story of Carper to Super…. Dupper area

jashwantMehtaBy Jaswant B. Mehta,

Till late forties, most of the housing constructed in the city of Mumbai was meant to be letted out.  Since the introduction of Rent Control Act in the year 1947 which froze the Rents for subsequent years except for the permitted increases in municipal taxes etc., it slowly became a losing proposition to build and rent the premises. Due to the inflation, the returns started dwindling.  This gave rise to the concept of ‘ownership schemes’ under which the landlords or builders preferred to sell the premises on outright basis rather than ‘rent out’ and ‘regret’ for the rest of their life.  Since the rental flats were assessed on the basis of carpet area by the Municipal Corporation, the fixation of rent was on carpet area basis and the same trend continued for the ownership schemes while selling and the rates were quoted on the basis of carpet area.  The normal definition of carpet area is the area of the rooms measured from wall to wall including door jams.  Column projections inside the rooms are not deducted while arriving at the carpet area. The only difference between the method of calculating carpet area for assessment purposes by the Corporation and that adopted by the builders was as regards door jam area and the balcony area which was taken fully for computation purposes by the builders as compared to Municipal Corporation’s assessment method where balconies were taken at 50% of the area while the door jam area is very nominal (a few sq.ft. per flat), the addition of balcony area to be included fully in the carpet area calculations was accepted by the Purchasers as the balcony formed an integral and fully useable part of the flat and even the Municipal Bye-Laws were amended later on and permitted the balconies to be enclosed.


The author had his own experience of definition of carpet area when a Parsee tenant who was to be provided with alternate accommodation in a newly constructed building on ‘carpet area’ basis, refused to move in the new flat as according to him the carpet area in the new building was little less than promised to him inspite of the fact that the building was built as per the plans agreed upon. His definition of carpet area was the total area of carpet that can be laid on the floor. The skirting projection of a tile fixed on the wall as a routine practice to provide for cleanliness between corner of the walls and the floor, reduced the carpet area of rooms according to his definition.  When we decided to remove the skirting from the walls and re-plaster the walls and make them flush, he relented and took possession.

Built-up Area – Phase

This trend of selling on carpet area continued till early seventies when some of the builders started including area of walls to the carpet area and started quoting the rates on built-up area basis.  (The area of common wall between the two flats was divided equally).  According to them, this was justified since the walls were included in the FSI calculations as per Municipal rules and therefore should be included to cover the rising cost of FSI while selling. The difference between carpet area and built-up area was normally around ten percent.  Another advantage of selling on built-up area was that with escalation in prices, quoting the rates on built-up area made it more attractive to the customers as the rates on the square foot basis were lower than the carpet area.


From Built-up to Super Built-up

As the prices continued to rise, the trend of quoting the rates to appear ‘more attractive’ to the purchasers picked up and in the early eighties some of the builders initiated another ‘gimmic’ which was to include staircase, lift and lobby areas and add it on ‘prorata basis’ to individual flats and thus the practice of selling on ‘super built-up area basis’ started and slowly almost all the builders and developers fell in line of quoting on the super-built-up area method.  The difference between carpet and super built-up area was generally in the range of 20 to 25 percent depending on the no. of lifts, the width of the staircase and planning of common passages and lobbies, etc.

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