Complimenting the Modi government’s emphasis on real estate and construction sector reforms, the updated and revised National Building Code 2016 (NBC 2016) that is set to be unveiled later this year will bring out the state-of-the-art and most contemporary version of the building code, dealing with futuristic developments.  Vinod Behl writes on the impact this legislation is likely to have on the realty scenario …

The national building code is meant to help regulate building construction in the country, lay down a set of minimum provisions for buildings, designed to protect the safety of public with regard to structural efficiency, fire and earthquake hazards, health aspects etc., including environmental concerns.  It mainly contains administrative provisions, development control rules and general building requirements, as well as stipulations regarding building materials, structural design and construction, plumbing services, landscaping, signage and outdoor displaying structures etc.

The NBC 2016 will provide detailed guidelines on construction management and come up with comprehensive regulation and certification of the structural safety of buildings, with a series of improvements in the safety provisions to meet the challenges associated with the new trend of building high rise buildings, including super-tall structures and mixed-used developments such as malls, multiplexes and integrated townships.  The new and revised code will give an overall direction for practical application of the provisions of different specialised aspects of spatial planning, design and construction, creation of services, et al., proposing an integrated approach for utilising appropriate knowledge and experience of qualified professionals, right from conceptualisation through construction and completion stages of a building project during its entire life cycle.

NBC 2016 compliments the government’s ambitious mission of ‘Housing for All’ that has a special focus on low-cost affordable-housing. The new code has detailed provisions for use of pre-fabricated technology for speedier construction with quality, to meet the acute housing shortage that plagues India.  Further, to check project delays the code focuses on ‘Streamlining Procedure for Real Estate Projects’ (SAPREP) through single window concept. It incorporates suggestions mooted by the SAPREP panel constituted by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, as part of Model Building By-laws.  The revised code also has a renewed focus on an integrated approach to get maximum benefit from the building and its services in terms of timely completion and cost-effectiveness with quality.

Dovetailing well with the Modi government’s other relevant missions ‘Accessible India, Empowered India’, the ‘National Policy for Persons with Disabilities’ and the ‘UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities’, the national building code has for the first time ever made elaborate provisions for making buildings and public places to be accessible to millions of disabled and elderly persons.  The code for a barrier-free built environment will be applicable to all forms of public housing undertaken by government and private builders.

In view of the growing popularity of green/sustainable buildings, NBC 2016 promotes ecologically appropriate practices, the use of eco-friendly construction materials, conventional and alternative technologies, reduction of pollution, protection and improvement of the local environment, and the application of socio-economic considerations towards the creation of sustainable human settlements. With a view to boost sustainability, the building code has, also for the first time, included provisions for glazing in buildings with respect to their effect on energy, lighting (natural and otherwise) in the building, and the selection and manifestation of glass with respect to safety.  It will also focus on energy conservation, use of solar energy and efficient lighting.

Keeping pace with the era of smart-homes and smart-cities, NBC 2016 has come up with a new chapter on ‘Information & Communication Enabled Installations’ with general guidelines for planning and provision of ICT (information and communication technology) services in the building and execution stages.  Also, in view of the growing significance of property management, once again another first is the addition of a new chapter on ‘Asset Facility Management.’   Other new additions include use of escalators, moving walks and solid waste management.

The building code was first formulated in 1970 and subsequently revised in 1983 and 2005,  It is implemented through municipal corporations, local urban bodies, public works departments and other construction wings and agencies.  Tyis new NBC 2016, a revised version of NBC 2005, will turn out to be a game changer in regulating building construction to be in line with the contemporary trends and advancements in the sector, taken together together with the new age reforms in the real estate and construction sector that are being ushered in.

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