Sunday, February 8, 2015

HOUSE CONSTRUCTION | GETTING YOUR PLAN APPROVED

Once the architect has been briefed and he prepares the plan as per your requirements, you must evaluate the plan with your family members, look at all the aspects and convey to your architect any changes that you may want to incorporate. After you are fully satisfied with the plan, you must 'freeze' the plan. By this I mean that, you should not make any more drastic changes, though small changes within the plan are acceptable. This is important because the plan for approval, the estimate, the planning for the construction by the architect and the contractor is based on a final 'frozen' plan.

The next step is to get the plan drawn for approval. Your architect, provided he is registered with the BBMP will draw up a plan which meets with the bye laws. He puts his/her seal on it and signs it.


PRECAUTIONS TO BE TAKEN BEFORE GETTING THE APPROVAL:

Follow actual site measurements: Always measure the site before the planning starts. There may be differences between the dimensions shown in the papers and the actual dimensions of the site. Sometimes, though the dimensions tally with the documents, the site wont be a perfect rectangle and this has to be taken into account in the plan. While drawing the plan, the Architect will take into account the actual dimensions and the actual angles of the site.

Be informed about the building bye-laws:   If you are building the house yourself without a Contractor, it becomes very important that you understand the bye-laws so that you are aware of what the authorities are talking about when you meet them. Very often, these  government officials harass you if they realise that you are on your own just to get bribes. If you refuse, they accuse you of violations and threaten you with consequences. Knowing the violations and the consequences before hand will help you in such situations.

The construction plan should be similar to the approved plan: Make sure the area of the approved plan is as close to that of the construction plan. If the built-up area shown in the approved plan is more than what you intend to construct, you will end up paying more tax.

Avoid violations as much as possible: If you do not plan to bribe, then make sure your approved plan is according to rules and there are no violations in your actual construction. Otherwise you will have to pay a hefty fine or the construction can be stopped by the engineer.
DOCUMENTS TO BE SUBMITTED ALONG WITH THE PLAN FOR APPROVAL:
You need to submit 10 ammonia prints with the house plan for approval.
In case of a site in a BDA layout in Banglore, the following are the legal documents that should be submitted along with the plan for approval. Make sure the photo copies are readable.
Title deed: Sale deed / Parent deed / Master deed - Agreement of sale / title.
Gift deed: If the site is transferred to your name, then the Agreement of transfer of ownership is required. This will take a day to get done, provided all the other documents are in order. - But this is not needed if you have purchased the site.
Khata Extract: You can get this done in your local BBMP office.  This will be provided within a week if the site is already in your name.
Khata Certificate:  You can get this done in your local BBMP office.
Encumbrance Certificate: Shows if there are any loans on the site.You get this done in your local sub-registrar office. This will take 20-25 days to get officially. 
GETTING THE PLAN APPROVAL:

Contacting the Authotities: If you have the time and inclination, you can go to the concerned authorities for approval by yourself, but if you feel lost in the office bureaucracy, you can enlist the help of the Contractor whom you plan to hire for the job. 

Online approval: In some cities online submission of plan for approval is accepted. But whether it is an efficient system, I cannot comment. For example in Bangalore, the automatic building plan scrutiny system for approval of building plans has some technical issues.

Time taken for approval: Usually in India, 'getting approval' takes around 15-30 days officially. But this could easily get delayed if you refuse to 'toe the line' by which I mean, giving bribes.

Bribe: Generally, a bribe is expected by the concerned engineer/s. This may be around 15,000/- for a 30'x40' site to 20,000/- for a 40'x60' site or more. If you refuse to pay the bribe the engineer might ask you to make some changes in the plans, show him your site for inspection and keep repeating this till you get exhausted. Even if you stubbornly refuse to pay a bribe till you get approval, the engineer will visit your site regularly to pull you up for small inconsistencies from the approved plan.

Validity of approved plans: The approved building plans are valid upto 2 years and so construction should begin within that period. After 2 years, they need to be renewed.

Commencement Certificate:  All approved plans come with certain conditions, one of which says - "Laying of Foundation Concrete & Columns Should Commence Only After Obtaining Commencement Certificate from BBMP after inspection from AEE". To get the commencement certificate, you should submit an annexure before laying foundation columns. However, this is more applicable for big constructions and apartment complexes. For residential buildings no one really follows this. The fine for starting construction without obtaining commencement certificate is Rs100.
DEVIATIONS THAT ARE ALLOWED DURING CONSTRUCTION:
In Bangalore, the BBMP rules state that:
Violations within 5% may be regularised: Wherever any construction is in violation/deviation of the sanctioned plan, the Commissioner may, if he considers that the violations / deviations are within 5% of the set back to be provided around the building, plot coverage, floor area ratio and height of the building and that the demolition under chapter XV of the Act is not feasible without affecting structural stability, he may regularise such violations/deviations after recording detailed reasons for the same.
Regularising Violations: Violation/deviation may be regularised only after sanctioning the modified plan and recording thereon the violations/deviations and after paying the levy of fees prescribed by the Corporation from time to time.
When violations will not be regularised: Regularisation of violations / deviations under this provision are not applicable to the buildings which are constructed without obtaining any sanctioned plan whatsoever and also the violations / deviations which are made in spite of the same being specifically deleted or rejected in the sanctioned plan.
What does 5% violation mean: In my understanding, 5% means that 5% of the approved height or FAR or plot coverage can be added to the actual construction. So for example if the minimum setback to be maintained is 5', then you can reduce the setback by 3" (0.25') or if the allowable height is 40', then you can increase the actual height by 2'.

The plan sanction will take around 20 days or say a month. Meanwhile you can study the estimate given by the Architect - make changes in the choice of your finishes to suit your budget. Then the Architect can call Contractors to quote for your project. You must hire a Contractor who suits your temperament and budget. Read about selecting a Contractor in the next post:

Sunday, February 8, 2015

HOUSE CONSTRUCTION | GETTING YOUR PLAN APPROVED

Once the architect has been briefed and he prepares the plan as per your requirements, you must evaluate the plan with your family members, look at all the aspects and convey to your architect any changes that you may want to incorporate. After you are fully satisfied with the plan, you must 'freeze' the plan. By this I mean that, you should not make any more drastic changes, though small changes within the plan are acceptable. This is important because the plan for approval, the estimate, the planning for the construction by the architect and the contractor is based on a final 'frozen' plan.

The next step is to get the plan drawn for approval. Your architect, provided he is registered with the BBMP will draw up a plan which meets with the bye laws. He puts his/her seal on it and signs it.


PRECAUTIONS TO BE TAKEN BEFORE GETTING THE APPROVAL:

Follow actual site measurements: Always measure the site before the planning starts. There may be differences between the dimensions shown in the papers and the actual dimensions of the site. Sometimes, though the dimensions tally with the documents, the site wont be a perfect rectangle and this has to be taken into account in the plan. While drawing the plan, the Architect will take into account the actual dimensions and the actual angles of the site.

Be informed about the building bye-laws:   If you are building the house yourself without a Contractor, it becomes very important that you understand the bye-laws so that you are aware of what the authorities are talking about when you meet them. Very often, these  government officials harass you if they realise that you are on your own just to get bribes. If you refuse, they accuse you of violations and threaten you with consequences. Knowing the violations and the consequences before hand will help you in such situations.

The construction plan should be similar to the approved plan: Make sure the area of the approved plan is as close to that of the construction plan. If the built-up area shown in the approved plan is more than what you intend to construct, you will end up paying more tax.

Avoid violations as much as possible: If you do not plan to bribe, then make sure your approved plan is according to rules and there are no violations in your actual construction. Otherwise you will have to pay a hefty fine or the construction can be stopped by the engineer.
DOCUMENTS TO BE SUBMITTED ALONG WITH THE PLAN FOR APPROVAL:
You need to submit 10 ammonia prints with the house plan for approval.
In case of a site in a BDA layout in Banglore, the following are the legal documents that should be submitted along with the plan for approval. Make sure the photo copies are readable.
Title deed: Sale deed / Parent deed / Master deed - Agreement of sale / title.
Gift deed: If the site is transferred to your name, then the Agreement of transfer of ownership is required. This will take a day to get done, provided all the other documents are in order. - But this is not needed if you have purchased the site.
Khata Extract: You can get this done in your local BBMP office.  This will be provided within a week if the site is already in your name.
Khata Certificate:  You can get this done in your local BBMP office.
Encumbrance Certificate: Shows if there are any loans on the site.You get this done in your local sub-registrar office. This will take 20-25 days to get officially. 
GETTING THE PLAN APPROVAL:

Contacting the Authotities: If you have the time and inclination, you can go to the concerned authorities for approval by yourself, but if you feel lost in the office bureaucracy, you can enlist the help of the Contractor whom you plan to hire for the job. 

Online approval: In some cities online submission of plan for approval is accepted. But whether it is an efficient system, I cannot comment. For example in Bangalore, the automatic building plan scrutiny system for approval of building plans has some technical issues.

Time taken for approval: Usually in India, 'getting approval' takes around 15-30 days officially. But this could easily get delayed if you refuse to 'toe the line' by which I mean, giving bribes.

Bribe: Generally, a bribe is expected by the concerned engineer/s. This may be around 15,000/- for a 30'x40' site to 20,000/- for a 40'x60' site or more. If you refuse to pay the bribe the engineer might ask you to make some changes in the plans, show him your site for inspection and keep repeating this till you get exhausted. Even if you stubbornly refuse to pay a bribe till you get approval, the engineer will visit your site regularly to pull you up for small inconsistencies from the approved plan.

Validity of approved plans: The approved building plans are valid upto 2 years and so construction should begin within that period. After 2 years, they need to be renewed.

Commencement Certificate:  All approved plans come with certain conditions, one of which says - "Laying of Foundation Concrete & Columns Should Commence Only After Obtaining Commencement Certificate from BBMP after inspection from AEE". To get the commencement certificate, you should submit an annexure before laying foundation columns. However, this is more applicable for big constructions and apartment complexes. For residential buildings no one really follows this. The fine for starting construction without obtaining commencement certificate is Rs100.
DEVIATIONS THAT ARE ALLOWED DURING CONSTRUCTION:
In Bangalore, the BBMP rules state that:
Violations within 5% may be regularised: Wherever any construction is in violation/deviation of the sanctioned plan, the Commissioner may, if he considers that the violations / deviations are within 5% of the set back to be provided around the building, plot coverage, floor area ratio and height of the building and that the demolition under chapter XV of the Act is not feasible without affecting structural stability, he may regularise such violations/deviations after recording detailed reasons for the same.
Regularising Violations: Violation/deviation may be regularised only after sanctioning the modified plan and recording thereon the violations/deviations and after paying the levy of fees prescribed by the Corporation from time to time.
When violations will not be regularised: Regularisation of violations / deviations under this provision are not applicable to the buildings which are constructed without obtaining any sanctioned plan whatsoever and also the violations / deviations which are made in spite of the same being specifically deleted or rejected in the sanctioned plan.
What does 5% violation mean: In my understanding, 5% means that 5% of the approved height or FAR or plot coverage can be added to the actual construction. So for example if the minimum setback to be maintained is 5', then you can reduce the setback by 3" (0.25') or if the allowable height is 40', then you can increase the actual height by 2'.

The plan sanction will take around 20 days or say a month. Meanwhile you can study the estimate given by the Architect - make changes in the choice of your finishes to suit your budget. Then the Architect can call Contractors to quote for your project. You must hire a Contractor who suits your temperament and budget. Read about selecting a Contractor in the next post: