December 23, 2013


The provision in the Kerala Panchayat Building Rules exempting single and multi-family residences from securing advance building permits in urbanised and rural panchayats has extricated a large section of applicants from the procedural tangles in civic bodies.
The best efforts of the government to simplify the procedures in issuing building permits have not yet yielded the desired results.
Even now, permit applications are being delayed and rejected on flimsy grounds and the worst hit are those who avail themselves of housing loans.
In this context, the decision to exempt not only single family residences but also two-storied residential complexes housing more than one family and with a built-up area up to 3,229 sq.ft has come as a relief for a number of applicants, who were compelled to wait indefinitely for the permit.

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The latest rules, which came into force on February 17, specify that 10 days before starting the construction, an applicant only has to intimate the secretary of the civic body about the proposal to construct the building in a prescribed form.
Even a sketch of the building is not mandatory. This provision has helped to do away with the formalities like sketch scrutiny and site inspection. The increasing instances of applicants being made to wait indefinitely for site verification and rejection of building plans citing minor violation of norms are reported to have prompted the Local Administration Department to waive such formalities.
After starting the construction, the officials concerned can inspect the site to ensure that the norms are being observed. As per the panchayat building rules, the urbanised panchayats have been classified as category I and the rural grama panchayats, category II.
Well before the government decided to extend the Kerala Municipal Building Rules to the panchayats for regulating construction from June 6, 2007, about 182 panchayats adopted the rules by resolution and enforced it on their own.
Over the years, the majority have acquired an urban nature too. Hence, implementation of the new rules does not make much change in the development pattern in these panchayats, sources said.
Two-storied buildings constructed for housing commercial establishments, offices, restaurants, work sheds, livestock and poultry farms and such others with a built-up area of 1,614 sq.ft. too will be eligible for exemption from advance permit.
Small and medium enterprises and traditional industrial units too will also benefit by this provision. As issuing of door numbers has been mandated for those intimating the LSGIs, it cannot be rejected on any grounds.


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