Last year’s floods may not have brought about a dramatic change in ground-level stormwater drain system, but it got builders thinking of alternatives to cellar parking. The norm for both residential and commercial buildings is to go deep, dig one, two, three or more basements for parking.
Cellars also served as power, internet, telephone and other points, and massive inundation of several areas led to major disruption besides vehicle breakdown. Pumping out water caused more chaos as sewer lines burst to capacity and overflowed with complaints galore to the municipal authorities.
Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India-Hyderabad chapter (CREDAI-Hyd) scoured through the National Building Code (NBC) and parking norms in cities like Mumbai to come forth with ‘podium’ floors proposal, which is a ‘horizontal projection (platform) extending beyond the building footprint on one or more sides, and may consist of one or more levels’.
In simple terms, it is taking the parking floors above the ground instead of below. “National Building Code (NBC) has podium parking, however, it was never tried here. We studied various models, talked to eminent architects and pitched it to the government because unless it is clearly indicated in building rules, permissions cannot be granted,” explained president P. Rama Krishna Rao, in an exclusive interaction.
The government appointed a committee consisting of representatives of the Municipal Administration Department, fire services, architects and real estate association to study the proposal. And, based on their report, fresh orders were issued by principal secretary Arvind Kumar recently allowing podium parking.
It will be restricted to 15 metres or five floors as per the approach road width. If the site is more than 10 acres, more podiums will be allowed and building height will be exempted from these parking floors akin to stilt parking. Seven metres setbacks for 55 metres towers with 12 metres turning radius and nine metres setback for 55 metres towers and above with 14 metres turning radius has been mandated.
Basements will be restricted to three for commercial and two for residential. Setbacks will treated identically for towers and podiums.
For buildings with floor area of more than 10,000 sq. metres, fire engines will have access to half the building perimeter and if it is less than 10,000 sq. metres, 1/3rd perimeter.
Between 2-10% of podium space can be utilised drivers amenities, visitors lobbies and toilets only.
“Excavating deep basements is an expensive proposition due to sheet rock along with transport and debris disposal besides not being eco-friendly. Artificial lighting and ventilation has to be provided in them at a considerable cost. Podium parking with natural ventilation offers a solution for multi-storey buildings. But it is optional for developers as they can choose existing bylaws too,” clarified Mr. Rao.