The Punjab state government has approved new building rules under Punjab Urban Planning & Development Rules 2018. The new rules incorporate the provisions of the National Building Code (NBC) 2016. It also provides for purchasable unlimited FAR for group housing, commercial, public office, hotel and industrial buildings while increasing permissible Floor Area Ratio (FAR) for residential plotted development and educational buildings. FAR is the ratio of a building’s total floor area to the size of the plot on which it is built. Low FAR has been the bane of urban development, restricting residential supply and thereby making homes costlier. The higher FAR, on the other hand, leads to greater housing supply, crucial for affordability.
The new rules replace the existing Punjab Urban Development Authority Building Rules 2013. The new rules also have a provision for rental housing, warehousing, multiplexes and integrated freight complexes.
New rules adopted by Punjab government follow the Haryana model which allowed additional FAR on payment. New rules aim to bring in uniformity in terms of norms related to FAR, ground coverage, road width requirement, minimum parking requirements, the maximum permissible height of the building and bring in more clarity with regard to seeking approvals for different categories of buildings. However, the urban planners fear that additional FAR may lead to densification, putting further pressure on inadequate infrastructure. On the other hand, the real estate community, in general, has welcomed the new rules.