MoUD tells local levels to strictly follow basic building standard

The Ministry of Urban Development has urged the local levels to strictly follow the ‘Basic Standards on Settlement Development, Urban Planning and Building Construction’ to build resilient communities.

The basic standards were enacted in the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes of the 2015 that resulted in huge loss of lives and property. It also empowers the local levels to prepare and implement building standards in such a way that they not weaker than the basic standards prescribed by the federal government.

A notice issued by the MoUD to all local levels warned that it had received complaints about the act of some local levels to develop their standards in contravention of the basic standards mainly on the height of building, width of road, river and pond setback, land fragmentation and boundary walls. “The standards, if found to be inconsistent with the basic standards of the government, will be deemed unacceptable and legal action will be initiated against concerned officials,” the notice read.

Earlier, the local levels were instructed to approve the blueprints for new buildings on the basis of the basic standards. House owners will now be required to conclude an agreement with a technician for supervision of the entire construction process for approval of blueprint.

Owners found to have bypassed the National Building Code will be asked to demolish illegal structures. If they fail to do so within the given time, the local authorities will demolish the buildings themselves. However, the expenses for the demolition will be borne by the house owners. The basic standards have also fixed land use percentage. Residential houses built in an area of up to 250 square feet are required to leave 30 per cent open space. In plots with over 250 square feet space, structures have to be built leaving 40 per cent space.

For public and semi public buildings, the structure must not cover more than 50 per cent area of the land. Similarly, the boundary walls of houses built illegally or those which do not meet the prescribed standards will be removed in all municipal areas, according to the basic standards. The local levels are also obliged to protect public lands by declaring them open spaces. The government has prohibited the use such lands without approval from the concerned authorities.

(Source: The Himalayan Times; 13 July 2018)