Floor area ratio, also known as Floor space area and Floor space Index, is another term from the ocean of technical jargon in the real estate world. The rigmarole of so many terms and phrases reverberating within the walls of the real estate world of developers, builders, architects, and slick marketing agencies can thoroughly baffle a new homebuyer. Homebuyers need to be aware of the definition of all these terms and question key factors that go into the pricing as well as development control regulations.
What are FAR and FSI?
The floor area ratio (FAR) or floor space index (FSI) is a measure of the area of a plot of land that is permissible for construction. It is measured as a ratio of the total constructed floor area of a house to the area of the land on which it has been constructed. The floor area ratio is one of the regulations of development control, hence, builders and developers are required to adhere to the requirement of the locality they are building in.
Understanding FAR and Its Calculation
The total floor area ratio (FAR) is the total constructed floor area including the total space on every floor divided by the total area of the land the building or block has been constructed upon.
The maximum floor area ratio is determined by municipal corporations and can not only vary from city to city but from locality to locality as well.
For instance: If there is a plot of land measuring 800 Sq. Ft in an area where the FAR has been fixed at 1.5, the maximum construction of floor area can be 1200 feet (800 + 0.5 x 800= 1200). This means that if there is a plan to build two floors and the floor area of the ground floor is 700 Sq. Ft, the upper or first floor can have a maximum floor area of 500 Sq. Ft. This means that there is no scope left to construct another floor.
Floor area ratio and Floor space Index
The only difference between the floor area ratio and the floor space index is the units. While the floor area ratio is measured as a ratio, the floor square index is expressed as a percentage. Hence, a particular floor area ratio of 1.4 would be expressed as a floor square index of 140%.
What is Premium FSI?
Premium FSI (Floor Space Index) is a scheme attached with converting agricultural land into commercial and residential land. Municipal corporations and city development agencies use this scheme for charging premium rates for these types of land.
This Is How It Works:
If there is a plot of land adjacent to a 30-40-foot-wide road, the premium FSI would be 20% of the market value of that land. The Municipal corporation or the development authority shall charge a premium of 20% over the price of the land. The buyer shall get the privilege of adding 20% to the permitted floor square index. In other words, if the land has a permitted FSI of 140%, the permitted FSI shall now become 160%. This is a kind of fee levied by the government for adding a little flexibility.
This is a ready reckoner (RR) rate and shall be payable at the time of getting the completion certificate (CC) from the designated authorities.
This rate was part of a scheme recently announced by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The BMC published a chart of such premium FSI rates for wider roads. As per the scheme, a premium FSI of 3% would be charged on a plot near to 40-60 feet wide road and 40% for lands close to roads more than 60 feet in width.
Thus, for these schemes, the land being purchased will have the following built up area
Built up area= (area of the plot) x (normal FSI) x (premium FSI)
The Importance of Floor Area Ratio for Homebuyers
The floor area ratio is an important criterion for the development of a town, locality, and area. This is essential from the environmental point of view as well. Higher floor ratios mean more floors, the denser congregation of buildings in an area. Areas with a high floor area ratio have lesser open spaces.
Municipal corporations determine the floor area ratio, and the maximum floor area ratio generally does not exceed 2.5. This check by the authorities is necessary as builders had begun to have common amenities in building complexes. These include parks, gardens, swimming pools, gyms which are part-paid by all residents of the complex.
Homes with higher floor area ratios benefit builders more than homebuyers as builders and developers stand to make more money with more floor area. Homeowners, however, get lower resale value when they sell homes in buildings with more floor area ratio.
Benefits of Floor Area Ratio
The benefits of keeping a check on floor area ratio by authorities are many. Unscrupulous misuse of floor areas by builders will be under control. This will mitigate high rises, have buildings with lesser floors and maintain safety in the quality of buildings.
Strict enforcement of floor area ratio ensures minimum unauthorised construction and illegal addition of floors in existing buildings.
The lower the floor area ratio, the better is the balance between built areas and open spaces.
What to Know About FAR Violation?
Violation of floor area ratio is considered an offence. Violations are normally detected when a builder or developer submits a completion certificate. Homebuyers are advised to check the completion certificate of the builder before accepting the handover of their apartments or homes. Overlooking this precaution may result in the project getting held up if a violation results in action from the authorities.
Exceptions to Floor Area Ratio
There are many exceptions to the floor area ratio. These include common construction such as parking spaces, basements for parking, play courts and jogging tracks.
There are also interior spaces such as balconies and attics which are not included while calculating the floor area ratio.
Floor Area Ratio in Indian Cities
Restrictions on floor area ratios vary in major cities in India. While there is no restriction on floor area ratio in Hyderabad, the ratio varies from 1.75 to 3.35 in Bengaluru. In Delhi, the permissible range for floor area ratio is 1.2 to 3.5 but up to 4 for redevelopment projects. The range of floor area ratio is 2.75 to 3.5 in Noida, adjoining Delhi. The rules are stricter for Gurgaon where the permissible floor area ratio is 1 to 1.45 for residential areas, 1.25 for industrial plots and a maximum of 1.5 for public buildings.
The floor area ratio is specific for different areas of Mumbai. The Floor area ratio range is 0.5 to 1 in the suburbs, a maximum of 1.33 within the island city and a maximum of 2.5 for mhada buildings. The permissible floor area ratio is 1.5 to 2.5 for the cities of Kolkata and Pune.
Floor area ratio in residential premises: Plotted Housing
A plot of up to 50 sq. m is permitted with a floor area ratio of 1.5 with 75% maximum ground coverage and a maximum building height up to 8 metres. This range up to 50 sq. m plots for the low-income groups.
FAR in Group Housing
The floor area ratio in group housing is determined on the basis of population density in the development plan. The population density for this calculation has been kept at 4.5 per house. In such group housing schemes, the floor area ratio or floor square index is kept at 1.25 going up to a maximum of 1.5.
Updates on FAR
The Municipal corporation of Gurgaon needs a town planning wing. This demand was raised by the Councillors in the corporation to help recover the dues of the MCG (Municipal corporation of Gurgaon) with respect to the purchasable floor area ratio. The councillors have cited low collection as the reason for the request for a town planning wing. The corporation has reportedly been able to collect only ₹ 10 crores from the 134 sq km of its jurisdiction. The collectibles include purchasable FAR, fees and approvals.
RS Batth, District Town Planner (Enforcement) has made a move to suspend the registration of property in the areas where violations in building codes have been detected. This violation was detected after receipt of the completion certificates from the areas of Manesar, Wazirabad, Gurgaon, Badshapur and Garhi Harsaru were put on hold until the violating builders rectified the violations.
Haryana has made amendments to its building code. After the amendment, the floor arearatio in buildings constructed on 60 sq. m plots is 220 with maximum ground usage of 85% and a maximum height of 16.5 metres. This changes up to 225 sq. m plots where the maximum ground coverage is 70% and FAR maximum 180.
In another update, the Uttar Pradesh government has permitted the fifth amendment of its building regulations for Greater Noida. In this amendment, IT and other companies have been allowed to build twice the number of floors. This means that the FAR has been increased from 1 to 2. Builders can go up to 2.25 on payment of a premium. Non-polluting industrial units have been permitted to go up to 4.25. For group housing and commercial projects, the FAR is permitted up to a maximum of 5.25.
The Delhi master plan for 2041 includes a redevelopment plan for residential colonies going back 50 years. In its collaboration with the National Institute of Urban Affairs, the Delhi development authority has permitted an increase of FAR from the erstwhile 1.33 to 2. Meanwhile, the Delhi Development area has also permitted an extension of the date for payment of extra FAR.
The Chandigarh Housing Board for the third time has rejected requests for an increase of FAR in its LIG and HIG Housing for Sector 53 which had attracted a large chunk of buyers.
FAR: Quick Recap
Floor area ratio (FAR) or Floor space Index (FSI) is the condition where the ratio of built or floor area to the land area is to be kept within the limits prescribed by the Municipal corporations or Development authorities. Homebuyers are advised to check the actual floor area ratio in the completion certificates issued by builders.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is more important for me, the floor area ratio or the carpet area of my flat?
Both are equally crucial. The carpet area in comparison to the built-up area gives you more living space in your apartment. The floor area ratio is in a much larger context and shows how much of the land has been used for construction. A lower floor area ratio will mean more open spaces and lesser floors.
Why must I check the completion certificate from the builder before purchasing my apartment?
Builders often increase the floor area ratio more than the permissible level which varies from city to city. The completion certificate by the builder is open to scrutiny by the municipal corporation and can result in the suspension of the builder in case a violation is detected. You should verify this from the completion certificate so that you can steer clear of any future controversy or litigation where there is a risk of losing your investment.
I know the floor area ratio but what is the floor space index?
The floor area ratio and the Floor space index are both the same except that they are expressed in different units. Both denote the amount of floor area in a plot of land. The FAR is a ratio while the FSI is expressed as a percentage
Will the balconies in my apartment be included in the Floor area ratio?
Balconies and terraces are not included in the floor area ratio calculations. Besides these, parking areas and basements are also not included in floor area ratio calculations.
What action should I take if I find a floor area ratio violation by the builder?
The first action you can take is to refuse to hand over and stop payment on the balance instalments if any of them are remaining. You can even take a refund of the instalments made earlier and bring the violation to the notice of the municipal corporation in case the builder refuses to correct the violation