Monday, October 26, 2009

Tiff stops B’lore’s vertical growth

Tiff stops B’lore’s vertical growth
Masterplan Okays Raising Building Height To 24 Metres; Fire-Safety Norms Ignored?
S Kushala | TNN

Bangalore: The Silicon City’s skyline should have gone the Mumbai way with redefined heights for highrises. But red tape is stopping Bangalore from reaching greater heights.
The BDA’s Masterplan 2015 has increased the building heights. Until now, any building with a height of 15 metres or more (ground plus four floors) was classified a highrise; the new zonal regulations have increased the threshold to 24 metres — ground plus eight floors. For this, you don’t need to get an NOC from the fire force department — the very crux of the new problem that’s holding up Bangalore’s dream of growing tall.
In contrast, Mumbai already has 24 metres as minimum height to declare a building a highrise.
Even two years after the Karnataka government’s nod, the go-vertical plan is mired in a bickering among the BDA, fire and emergency services department and BBMP.
While the BDA argues that the zonal regulation is a law and, therefore, has to be followed, the fire department is appalled at how the NoC clause has been removed. And it finds support in the BBMP. Ground reality: the old 15-metre rule is still in force and anything taller than this needs fire-safety clearance.
The BBMP’s town planning department officers say: “We are sticking to the 15-metre height. The new rule has not been incorporated in the building bylaws. The fire force department has written to the BDA commissioner that the height relaxation is illegal.’’
Fire and emergency services director B G Changappa says: “Zonal regulations are ambiguous. We are not following the 24-metre height rule as any building beyond 15 metres should obtain an NoC from us. We have no problems in increasing the height of the building, but why remove the NoC rider? Without an NoC, how do you expect such tall buildings to be fire-proof ?’’
BDA town planning member S S Topagi: “The new Masterplan and revised zonal regulations have been approved by the government and have to be implemented in true spirit. It is the BBMP’s job to incorporate the new laws in its building bylaws.’’
The Masterplan gave a relaxation — buildings up to 24 metres needn’t obtain an NoC from the fire department and pollution control board. But a few riders came along: the builder has to incorporate the fire-safety norms, architect should submit an affidavit confirming the structure has adhered to fire-safety norms.
AMBIGUITY IN THE LAW
The draft zonal regulations of June 2005 say a high-rise should be 15 metres. The final ZR of 2007 have modified it to 24 metres without needing fire-safety NOC and say fire protection requirements to be followed as per National Building Code. NBC says structures above 15 metres need fire-safety nod.
— B G Chengappa
Fire and emergency services director
NORMS FOR HIGH-RISES
Firefighting, safety installations for highrises up to 60 metres — staircases, lifts, service ducts, alternative power supply, escape route, fire safety plan, helipad
Side and setbacks to be left around building varies from 5 to 16 metres for building heights of 15-55 metres and above
Capacity of fire extinguishers, hose reel, yard hydrant, automatic sprinkler system, fire-alarm systems, automatic smoke detection and underground water tank increase with building’s height

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