Making building rules accessible to the lay person

Late in 2019, when the Local Self-Government Department (LSGD) organised building permit adalats at all Corporations, quite a few requests for regularisation of various building rule violations came up. A majority of the applicants, whose grievances were heard by Minister A.C. Moideen and officials, claimed that they were unaware of one rule or the other while constructing a building in violation of the same.

This led to the realisation that the Kerala Municipal Building Rules and the Kerala Panchayat Building Rules are not really written in a language that the lay person can comprehend. To address this issue, the LSGD is now coming out with a booklet where the rules are broken down into bullet points and images, with the usual doubts regarding the rules listed out as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and answers.

“During the adalats, we found that some of the violations were found to be repeated by many. This means that there are still a lot of common misconceptions regarding building rules among the public, for which they end up paying regularisation fee later on. So there is a need to make these rules more accessible,” said a source from the department.

Details provided

The booklet will have information regarding the kind of documents required for applying for building permits, the things to be taken care of while applying, details of the procedure for clearance of application, information on the setback from public roads and nearby buildings, rules on road access, maximum area of building within a specific plot area, etc. All of these are laid out with illustrations and examples. The booklet, which is set to be released soon, will be uploaded online.

The move comes close on the heels of a Cabinet decision to introduce a self-certification system for construction of houses below 300 sq m, which is also seen as a step to ease the process for buildings of small and medium sizes. Once this self-certification and plan are submitted to the local body, the local body secretary has to provide an acknowledgement within five days, which can be considered as the building permit to begin the construction work. The booklet will have the latest updated information, including the amendment for introducing self-certification.

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