Over the years, people have migrated to the urban cities, for a number of reasons, which has resulted in the overcrowding of these metropolitan areas. It has emphasised the need for efficient development of cities to accommodate more people and provide for their varied needs. Only regulating the development at a micro level is not enough. The planning authorities need to have an overall plan and a set of regulations that constructors/architects can abide by to ensure the overall “development” of the city.
Development Control Regulations are a set of rules created to ensure the proper and effective development of a city, as well as the general welfare of the public. It depends on a “plan-led system” whereas development plans are made and the public is consulted. Developing new houses/industrial buildings/shops are important for supporting economic progress. At the same time, it is also necessary to protect or improve the quality of towns, villages, countryside, etc. All developers/architects or companies who have or are looking to acquire land for any kind of development must familiarise themselves with the rules and regulations set by the authorities.
What are the objectives of the Development Control Regulations?
1. To stop the unfavourable demand and misuse of land.
2. To assist private interest along with public interest in all phases of development.
3. Development control is legal in nature and the planning authority has the power to punish the defaulters.
4. To control and limit overcrowding on land.
5. To control the private development as per the required rules in connection to public safety, health, and convenience.
The Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act, 1966 aims at effective implementation of development plans throughout Maharashtra however Mumbai being a city of prime importance is also bestowed with an exclusive legislation named ‘Development Control Regulations for Greater Bombay, 1991’ in furtherance of the objects of the former Act and in exercise of the powers conferred upon the Government of Maharashtra and the Municipal Corporation of Greater Bombay known as Brihanmumbai Mahanagarpalika.
These regulations apply to building activity and development work in areas under the entire Jurisdiction of the municipal Corporation of Greater Bombay. If there is a conflict between the requirements of these Regulations and those of any other rules or by-laws, these regulations shall prevail, however, in the respect of areas included in finally sanctioned Town Planning Scheme, the Scheme regulation shall prevail, if there is a conflict between the requirements for these Regulations and the scheme Regulations.
These Regulations came into force on 20th February, 1991 as fixed by the State Government of Maharashtra and replaced the existing Development Control Rules for Greater Mumbai framed under the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966
What are the controllable factors under DCR?
Below are the controllable factors under DCR:
Floor Space Index (FSI)
It is the ratio between the total built-up area and the plot area available. It is authorized by the government for a particular locality. It principally describes the ratio of the total covered area of construction to the total plot size. It is sometimes termed as floor space compensation ratio (FSR), floor area ratio (FAR), site ratio or plot ratio. FSI rules are usually based on the National Building Code.
As per the new DCR rules, balconies, stairs, voids, flower beds, and corners are calculated in FSI and to compensate for the loss, the government has allowed compatible FSI up to 35% for residential and 20% for commercial developments.
There is a specified space for parking in residential, commercial and educational institutions as per the set laws in different States. However, as per the norms, the ideal parking size should be a minimum of 2.5 x 5.5 sq.m. (Motor Vehicle), 1.2-3 sq.m. (2 Wheeler), 3.75 x 7.5 sq.m. (Transport Vehicle).
Size of plots
As per the DCR, the size of plots appropriate for residential development varies according to the income level of residents. The ideal size conditions under DCR are –
1. Low-Income Group (LIG) – 135-180 sq.m.
2. Mid-Income Group (MIG) – 216 to 360 sq.m.
3. High-Income Group (HIG) – 486 to 972 sq.m.
Structural design and services
The architectural design of a building should be executed as per the directed norms of the National Building Code of India. The building must hold facilities of plumbing (for toilet and drinking), protection from electricity, electrical installation, air-conditioning, lift, etc.
A building with a height of more than 13 meters must have a lift from the ground floor. The minimum capacity of the lift should be 6-persons.
A building that exceeds more than three floors needs a certificate of approval from the Fire Department. Besides, every floor with more than 150 sq.m. of floor area and a capacity of 20+ people should have at least two doorways, along with a staircase for the fire exit.
During the enforcement of the previous development plan (the 1991 DP), the objective was to address the then problems of the city such as redevelopment of – slums, cessed buildings and Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority (MHADA) colonies, as well as promote/guide the new development of buildings on private land.
The 1991 DP has been in force for nearly three decades. The policies were revised several times to address the housing problems of people living in slums, cessed buildings and MHADA societies, through redevelopment. If we look at the progress achieved on the redevelopment front, the record has not been very impressive, the report noted.
1. Out of the 1.5-1.6 million slum households in Mumbai, approximately only one lakh houses have been built for the slum dwellers.
2. There are 19,800 cessed buildings in Mumbai, out of which only around 1,800 have been redeveloped.
3. Not much has been achieved on the redevelopment of MHADA societies either.
The DCPR 2034 :
The DCPR 2034 came into effect from 1st September 2018 with some provisions notified later on 13th November 2018.It will govern all the building development activity and development work in the entire jurisdiction of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) for the next two decades, also covering new redevelopment projects that are yet to obtain IOD/CC. Partially completed projects, which were started before the DCPR 2034 came into effect, may be continued as per old regulations. However, if the owner/developer seeks further development permissions, then the DCPR 2034 provisions shall apply to the balance portion of the development.
DCPR 2034: Key provisions for residential segment
Linking permissible FSI to road width
Past policies have been limited in checking congestion, leading to construction of tall residential/ commercial towers, on narrow roads that lead to congestion as it cannot support the amount of people that will visit these structures. By linking permissible floor space index (FSI) to road width, the DCPR 2034 would ensure that taller buildings can be constructed, only if the road width can support it, thereby, reducing congestion.
Increasing FSI through increase in Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) limits and premium FSI
The FSI for the island city has been increased in the DCPR 2034. This increase in FSI accrues from increase in FSI on payment of premium and the increase in the quantum of TDR that can be loaded on the plot. This would ensure that there is demand for TDR generated through surrendering land for road widening, slum rehabilitation and surrendering of reserved plots. Further, the government and the municipal corporation would earn revenues from selling premium FSI.
Increasing development rights for area surrendered
The state Urban Development Department in its November 2016 notification, had increased the TDR generated for land surrendered to the BMC due to reservation on the plot. This was increased to 2.5 times the area of land surrendered in the island city and two times the area of land surrendered in the suburbs. Prior to that, the TDR under both was 1. The same regulation has been continued in the DCPR 2034. This would ensure that there would be incentives for the stakeholders to expedite the process of slum rehabilitation and surrendering of reserved plots.
Adopting the RERA’s definition of carpet area
The DCPR 2034 has altered its definition of carpet area from the one defined by the Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act (MOFA) and has adopted the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA’s) definition of carpet area. Aligning to a uniform definition, will help reduce ambiguity amongst buyers.
Only one lakh slum units have been rehabilitated over the past 20 years, under the current slum rehabilitation policy. At this pace, it would take approximately 300 years to rehabilitate the 15-16 lakh slum units in Mumbai. The inadequacies of the past policy may get carried forward under the current DCPR 2034, as it continues the same norms.
Reduction of consent clause for redevelopment of buildings, in certain categories
The minimum irrevocable consent required for redevelopment of cessed and MHADA buildings, has been reduced from 70 per cent to 51 per cent. Redevelopment of buildings under these categories is stuck, due to other reasons. Hence, reducing the consent may not completely help to address the issue.
The basic objective of the whole development plan exercise is to have a planned and sustainable future for Mumbai. To make the city inclusive, equitable and offer improved quality of life, the authorities have realised that FSI as a controlling measure for the population influx has not worked out. In fact, the cap on FSI has degraded the living standards by reducing the average living space per capita while subjecting a significant proportion of the population to poor living conditions.