• Monday, September 01, 2014

Protecting the living environment of Dhaka metropolis

Kazi Golam Nasir
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Photo: star

In the new era of globalization we see that the cities are becoming the central hub of economic, political & financial activities. People are coming to the cities for opting better opportunities, looking for a better life. The increased population in the cities demands greater supply of housing, infrastructure and facilities. In order to build a sustainable urban environment in the aspect of physical development of the cities it is high time to adopt a controlling measure by which we can ensure a sustainable development of our cities. The policy tool for such a controlling measure is the Dhaka Metropolis Building (Construction, Development, Conservation and Demolition) Rules 2008.
Considering the present context of Dhaka and the livability aspects in Dhaka metropolitan area in future has been focused in implementing this Regulatory law. Those aspects are described as follows.

Environment Friendly Construction/Structure
 According to the Law the designed drawing shall comply with the Mandatory Ground Coverage (MGC) Ratio as Specified (e.g. regarding the plot size each building will occupy 50% to 67.5% of land area).
 These 50% Mandatory Open Space shall not be covered with build on the ground level which ensures the rain water penetration at the sub soil level.
 Plantation of the Open ground would improve the environmental quality.

Application of FAR (Floor Area Ratio)
Far Indicator is obtained by dividing the Total Built-up area with Total Land Area. In First Phase in this Law FAR Indicator has been determined from the adjacent road width of the plot and the Land Area of the plot. After publication of the Detailed Area Plans as gadget this FAR Indicator might be changed or adjusted according to the designated areas. Application of FAR in Designing shall bring in advantages which are as follows:
 By applying FAR, population density in different areas can be controlled with construction expansion within bearable limits
 On the basis of two guiding component- road width and land area, FAR indicator can determine the total built able floor area in particular plots. By maintaining the Mandatory Ground Coverage (MGC) ratio, buildings can obtain desirable space arrangement with variation.
 The merit of an architect would be nurtured in creative paradigm.

Endowing Responsibilities to the Professionals in Designing and Construction supervision
 It will ensure proper design inference of an experienced architect according to the type of different architectural building.
 It will ensure proper structural design inference of an experienced engineer.
 According to the regulation along with other supervisors architects/engineers are also responsible for project supervision.
 After completion of construction As-Built Drawing shall be submitted to RAJUK. Therefore any discrepancies between the approved Drawing and the As Built drawing would be controlled by the responsible professionals.
 For Acquiring the Occupancy certificate professional Architect and Engineer shall have to certify the application form.

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Photo: star

Legal Obligation/Commitment to law
Two years before the Dhaka Metropolis Building Rules, 2008, the Bangladesh National Building Code (BNBC) 1993 was approved as a law. Therefore violation of these regulations of Bidhimala & Code would ensue minimum Tk 50,000/- fine or 7 years of jail or both according to the intensity of guilt/violation of regulations. This will create a legal obligation to the architects/engineers.

Encouragement
In case of greater public interest if the Government acquires land then the land owner would receive the compensation along with incentive on the FAR index co-efficient. This will result in encouraging the owners to give land for widening the road in a specific area.

Restraining from Illegal Acts
According to the Bidhimala of 1996 construction was not allowed without minimum road width of 12'-0" As a result all the narrow lanes of the city has become 12'-0" wide in documents and later on for giving false information those who are living in those buildings were harassed for legal violation. In the new Bidhimala 2008 if road width of less than 12'-0"(2.5 meter) can not be obtained by giving up the original land area then the owners can built a lesser volume of building with provided FAR indicative. As a result illegal activities like giving false information statement by the land owner would be restrained.

Fire Safety and life Savings
According to the Bidhimala 2008 fire safety provisions in the applicable buildings shall be considered along with the life saving mechanism in fire hazard situation. Therefore the people living in buildings would secure more fire safety options in a hazard situation.

Accessibility
In any building the provision for universal accessibility shall be considered at a certain level. In a designed public building along with accessibility other facilities should be incorporated in a expansive manner. All the buildings shall have utilitarian for all.

Heritage Conservation
All the enlisted Buildings and Physical structures of cultural and historical importance by the Archeological Department and Heritage Committee combined with the professionals shall be preserved in effective approach. Moreover this initiative is more effective in preserving the culture and heritage of the country.

Large Scale or Mega Scale of Special Project Approval Committee
For several Special Projects (Mentioned in Rule-8) special clearance certificate shall have to be obtained. A team of Experts (Members of Professional Institutes) would provide their opinion about environmental sustainability of special project approval regarding urban developmental issues.

Formulation of City Development Committee
Under the dispensation of this Bidhimala a City Development Committee has been formulated combining the members of government service holders, citizens, experts in related fields to provide their guidance in Capital Development Activities. They would help in co ordination, implementing planning strategies, project execution and control of developmental activities of the city.
'Dhaka Metropolis Building Rules 2008' has been put into operation by the Government and Professionals.
The combined effort of all related professionals and concerned authorities would continue to make the Bidhimala 2008 more effective and adoptable in future. And the association of all the related Government organizations and professional bodies are obligated to make this city livable, vibrant and flourishing.

The author is Addl. Chief Architect, Department of Architecture Ministry of Housing & Public Work's & Vice President (National), Institute of Architects, Bangladesh (IAB).

Published: 12:00 am Monday, March 17, 2014

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