J&K to have new Building By-Laws soon: Construction rules and codes to change

Ziraat Times Team Report

Srinagar: Jammu & Kashmir is soon to have new Building By-Laws and Building Code, by virtue of which most of the construction rules and codes for homes, commercial and public constructions will undergo major changes.

The ‘Draft J&K Model Building By-Laws and Building Code-2020’, a copy of which has been accessed by Ziraat Times, provide an insight about what is going to change and what is not. Ziraat Times Team here produces some of the key features of the new bylaws for its readers:

Government will define new zones for different types of constructions: As per new Building Laws new zoning and land use with prescribed Codes Like R-1, R-2, R-3 etc ( for residential zones) have been proposed as per Master Plan/ Zonal Development Plans. The Government has also come up with new regulations for new Housing Colonies (Plotted) below and above 4 hectares. It has also proposed by-laws for petrol/ filling stations, burial/ cremation grounds, buffer zones, poultry farms and construction activity in mining area.

Construction near rivers and other waterbodies: No construction activity shall be allowed in the areas vulnerable to flood/ flash floods, water courses, as per new laws. No development, whether any filling or otherwise shall be carried out from the 50 mts of the edge of the bank of any river, stream or major water course like Chenab, Jhelum. Tawi, Ravi, Ujh or any other river/ Khud. The recommended safer distance for water bodies like Mansar, Surinsar, Wullar, Nageen, Manasbal and other lakes shall be 30 mtrs and for Canals like Ranbir Canal, Sindh Canal, Partap, Kashmir Canals etc 20 mts, draft law says.

Constructions near defense and railway premises/lands will be governed by central laws: The new By-laws indicate that construction of any type of Govt or private building near Defence land/ premises shall be governed as per guidelines of Govt of India, Ministry of Defence. The construction of any type of Govt or private buildings near Railway land shall be governed as per the guidelines of Ministry of Railways.

Where would the new laws apply: The laws will apply to all building activity in the entire UT for all Urban Local Bodies and Urban Development Authorities including Jammu and Srinagar Municipal Corporations. These new building By-laws shall be applicable to all building activities undertaken by the private or Government agencies and shall be read in conjunction with Master Plan / Zonal Development Plan or any other statutory plan in force and notification, with regard to the same and amended from time to time. These Building By-laws shall remain in force for the next five years. Till, such time, the reviewed building By-laws are notified, these building bye-laws will continue to be in force.

Would these apply on new constructions? These By-laws shall apply to all development, re-development, erection/ re-erection of a building whether temporary or permanent as well as to the design, construction, or reconstruction and additions and alterations to a building. Where the whole or the part of or a building is demolished or altered or reconstructed, except where otherwise specifically stipulated, these Building By-laws shall apply to the whole building whether existing or new, except that the rules shall apply only to part, if that part is completely self-contained with respect to facilities and safety measures.

As per new building bye-laws, where use of a building is changed, except where otherwise specifically stipulated , these building By-laws shall apply to parts of the building affected by the change. And moreover, the reconstruction in whole or part of building which has ceased to operate due to fire, natural collapse or demolition having been declared unsafe, or which is likely to be demolished by or under an order of the Authority, for which the necessary certificate has been given by the Authority.

What about existing buildings? For existing approved buildings, nothing in these By-laws shall require the approval, alteration or abandonment, nor prevent continuance of the lawfully established use or occupancy of an existing approved building. However, in the opinion of the authority if such a building is unsafe or constitutes a hazard to the safety of adjacent property or the occupants of the building itself then new laws might apply?

What about constructions in areas which are not regularized like Bathandi, Sunjwan, On unauthorised development of colonies, habitations and constructions, a municipal authority shall be authorized to take suitable actions, which may include demolition of unauthorised works, sealing of premises, prosecution and even criminal proceedings against the defender.

A government authority may even declare the use of any building to be an unauthorised, if it is convinced that the building is unsafe for habitation or its use poses a danger to public health of safety.

Will every new building within Srinagar, Jammu municipal areas and other towns require building permission? Yes, as per new laws, no person shall undertake any building operation/ construction without obtaining a valid building permit prior to commencement of such activity. There are 21 unauthorised colonies in Jammu city and its outskirts under the jurisdiction of the Jammu Development Authority (JDA).

What about Government/ Semi-Government agencies and their buildings raised by J&K govt and Central agencies? New By-laws stipulate that no Government/ Semi-Government organisations either Central or from J&K UT shall be exempted from complying with the provisions of the building By-laws / regulations, unless Government grants such an exemption. That means government has give exemptions to its own agencies if it decides so.

What do new laws say about high-rise buildings? For the multi-storeyed buildings having height of more than 15 mtrs, special provisions are needed including all safety measures and NOCs from various departments.
For all high rise buildings which are 15 mt or more in height and for special buildings like educational, assembly, institutional, business, mercantile, industrial, storage, hazardous and mixed-occupancies, having more than 500 sq mt covered area, the permission will not be in single stage only. It shall be granted under two stages covering fire and lift safety norms under National Building Code-2016 regulations.

New building permissions will be valid only for 3 and 4 years: Once a building permit is sanctioned, it shall remain valid for three (3) years, from the date of sanction for residential, industrial and commercial buildings (4 storeyed) and for a period of four (4) years from the date of sanction for high-rise and tall buildings. However, the validity period of sanction in case of additions/ alterations in both the cases, shall be two years from the date of sanction. With these new laws, building permit shall have to be got revalidated in the prescribed form before the expiry of this period on year-to-year basis. And revalidation shall be subject to the Master Plan/ Zonal Plan regulation and Building By-laws as in force in the area.

What if new rules are violated? The draft new laws say that the Competent Authority may revoke a building permit and initiate Penal action against the defaulting professionals like- Architects/ Engineers/ Groups/ Supervisors or black list registered technical persons, if it determines that the false statements were made or material facts were mis-represented for obtaining building permit.

How much time will it take to get NOCs under new law: As per new By-laws the time line has been fixed from 7 to maximum 30 days from various departments/ agencies for obtaining NOCs. According to new by-laws 7-member Building Permission Authority has been established headed by chairman ( Local Area Municipal Corporation/ Council/ Committee) of the BPA. There may be members including Senior Town Planner/ Jt Commissioner, AC Revenue, XEns PDD/Jal Shakti/ UEED and Fire Officer concerned.

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