New building rules raise more questions than solutions they offer

Civic body putting in place all the necessary steps to enforce the new rule

The civic body enforced a few days ago the Tamil Nadu Combined Development and Building Rules, 2019, long after other local bodies did so on February 4 this year.

The Municipal Administration and Water Supply Department issued a Government Order (G.O. (Ms) 18 dated February 4, 2019) to bring about uniformity in building rules and simplify procedures.

The Corporation delayed the implementation of the Rules until a few days ago and took steps only when the Association of Licensed Building Surveyors’ petitioned the Corporation Commissioner, said the organisation’s president S. Kanagasundaram.

As per the Rules, the corporation should approve of building plan applications only if they were signed by certified by registered engineers. But there were no registered engineers because the corporation had not constituted the committee that would register engineers, he said and added, “It is a classic case of the Corporation putting the cart before the horse.”

Strictly speaking, all the approvals the Corporation had given after February 4 this year were illegal and could be challenged because the plan approval applications would have had the signatures of licensed building surveyors, who did not have authorisation to prepare plans under the Rules.

Besides, the plans so submitted after February 4 would have to be comply with the Rules – in terms of setback area and various other parameters but they would not be because the Corporation’s automated plan approval system (auto DCR) would have rejected it, Mr. Kanagasundaram also said. Acknowledging that the Corporation enforced the Rules a few days ago, officials in the Town Planning wing said that the Corporation was putting in place all the necessary steps to enforce the Rules.

It is not the Corporation but the Municipal Administration and Water Supply Department that was to be blamed for poor enforcement of the Rules, Coimbatore Consumer Cause's Secretary K. Kathirmathiyon said.

The Rules mandated local bodies to issue building completion certificates for applications, who then should use the same to apply for water and power connection. But Tangedco officials were in the dark about the Rules perhaps because the Department had not communicated the Government Order, he alleged. Besides, the Rules were also at variance with the Central Electricity Authority’s guidelines on line clearance - the distance between buildings and power lines. If building owners, who had constructed as per the Rules, were to apply for power connection and if there was line clearance was not as per the Authority’s guidlines, then Tangedco would be forced to reject such applications, Mr. Kathirmathiyon said to underscore his point that the Municipal Administration and Water Supply Department had not done enough spade work.

The Rules were also silent on the status of buildings for which construction began before the Government Order came into force but were completed thereafter. The Department should have done its homework and then passed the Government Order so that the local body officials and public were clear about what they should do.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 8:33:06 AM |

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