Government approved the highest number of residential and commercial projects ever last year

This year may well see the city’s landscape and horizons changing, with the highest number and widest-ever range of residential and commercial projects approved for construction in 2012.

With the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) giving its nod to 549 special buildings and 88 multi-storeyed and IT buildings, Chennai is set to witness a boom in construction and a spate of new buildings will come up in the next few months.

Special buildings are residential or commercial buildings with more than two floors, residential buildings with more than six dwelling units and commercial buildings exceeding a floor area of 300 square metres.

Multi-storeyed buildings are those structures exceeding four floors and those rising to a height of 15.25 metres or higher.

2012 was a dream come true for builders, with approvals for buildings in the metropolitan area shooting up. 2011 on the other hand, only saw 431 special buildings and 39 IT and multi-storeyed buildings approved of by the CMDA.

A number of factors have contributed to this sudden leap in the number of building approvals, said M.K. Sundaram, former chairman of the Builders Association of India, southern centre. For instance, the city’s second master plan, introduced a few years ago, has considerably relaxed the minimum width of a road on which buildings can be built. Earlier, special buildings were only permitted on 10-metre wide roads. Now however, they are permitted on roads that are nine-metres wide too. As a number of city roads span nine metres, the number of applications for special buildings has increased.

The use of premium FSI (floor space index), has also contributed to the rise in number of applications. A number of the special buildings approved of, are in areas such as Mylapore, Adyar, Egmore and Nungambakkam, where the market value of land has increased more than that of the guideline value.

Premium FSI is allowed in such areas as may be notified, subject to guidelines and on collection of charges at the rates prescribed by the CMDA with the approval of government. The amount collected towards premium FSI is remitted into a government account to be allotted separately for infrastructure development in that area.

The entry of many new developers from other parts of the country in Chennai following challenges in the realty sector in Bangalore and Hyderabad is also one of the reasons for the rise in number of planning permission applications.

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