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Business News/ Opinion / Check ground realities while you ascend a high-rise
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Check ground realities while you ascend a high-rise

If you have zeroed in on an apartment in a high-rise building, here is what you need to be aware of

Shyamal Banerjee/MintPremium
Shyamal Banerjee/Mint

High-rises, they are the modern day’s solution to fast depleting land spaces, and are needed for expansion of real estate projects. They are are much in demand as home buyers increasingly aspire to ascend the ladder… or rather, the stairways. After all, an elite residential address has become a prized possession. So, if you have zeroed in on an apartment in a high-rise building, here is what you need to be aware of. Right from completion and handover, infrastructure, personal requirements, to the monetary outgo, there are several areas that call for both scrutiny and awareness from your side.

Timely completion and handover

Construction of a high-rise tower could take between three and five years, or even more. This depends on the pace of construction, number of floors and flats to be built, raw material and labour, internal and external amenities, clearances from various authorities and then, finally, sale of these apartments.

Given that several floors are to be built, such properties require clearances from a number of bodies, such as environment, forestry and airport authorities. Seeking clearances could delay the completion and handover processes of apartments that were booked while still in the under-construction phase.

What this means effectively is that even if you book an apartment on a lower floor in a high-rise building, you could face a delay in possession, due to the pending clearances from these key authorities.

Infrastructural back-up

Living in a high-rise apartment may afford you a view of the sunset from the balcony and the impression of living amid natural surroundings (i.e, if there a patch of woods or a water body somewhere nearby).

However, you also need to factor in the likely load on basic infrastructure. A quick check on availability of continuous water supply, strong power back-up for elevators and entrance areas, sufficient parking area for all residents, and sewage and garbage disposal mechanisms, is a must before you decide to move into your home in a high-rise.

Having uninterrupted water supply largely hinges on necessary approvals from the local municipal authorities and pipeline work being completed by the developer, prior to the handover. In addition, you need to check whether the water tanks and pumps installed by the developer have enough capacity to pull water from underground levels to supply residents living on higher floors.

Resilience to natural disasters

There is no doubt that high-rise apartments can offer you larger living space and modern amenities. However, you must ensure installation of fire-fighting equipment and use of earthquake resistant building material. It is important to check whether the project you have chosen complies with mandatory fire safety norms, and has been inspected by the local municipal corporation and issued a fire fitness certificate.

Further, residents need to be familiar with the usage of firefighting equipment installed, through regular drills (held at least on an annual basis). Typically, the no-objection certificate for high-rises is sought at two stages: prior to construction and before occupation.

To ensure strength, stability and sustenance of the building structure, it is advisable to have it inspected and certified by a building surveyor or certifier. For instance, depth of rods used in the building structure and use of earthquake resistant building material need to be scrutinized. Provision of refuge areas at regular floor intervals is a must so that residents can gather in such areas during an emergency.

Cost-control

Investing in a high-rise apartment does come at a premium, when compared with a regular one in a stand-alone building.

The cost would factor in the floor-space rise and higher cost involved in providing other amenities. Every floor that you ascend, beyond the height of a normal building, will increase your flat cost by 50-100 per sq. ft, depending on the project. Providing an attractive external façade and double-glazed glass on windows increases the cost of apartments commensurately. Furthermore, paying fire insurance premium could also weigh heavily on your pocket.

Once you move into your house, there is a regular monthly maintenance charge that you need to shell out. This could be in the range of 8-13 per sq. ft, depending on the amenities provided, number of housekeeping or security staff employed and areas such as clubhouses, pools or playgrounds that call for constant up-keep.

Vertical expansion of cities could help the government meet the growing housing demand from a rapidly growing population. Nevertheless, it is important that you stay grounded, run a thorough check on the points mentioned above and measure the size of your wallet, before you begin your ascent upwards.

Binaifer Jehani, director, Crisil Research.

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Published: 10 Nov 2014, 06:58 PM IST
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