The availability of parking spaces has become a massive factor in buying and renting commercial or residential properties across India today. The number of properties in the cities is rapidly growing owing to the increasing inflow of people. On the other hand, the rapidly growing purchasing power of urban India has resulted in individuals choosing to buy cars within years of starting to work. Together, these factors have resulted in a severe shortage of parking spaces in cities across India.
For customer-facing commercial businesses, parking has become a must-have feature to succeed. Garment shops, restaurants, coffee shops, fast food stores, and grocery shops are bending backwards to provide parking spaces for their customer vehicles. It has become impossible for large office complexes and malls to operate without sufficient parking space. Similarly, parking has become a must-have for residential real estate projects to find potential buyers and tenants with the right value for money on the property.
Stilt parking is revolutionising the creation of parking spaces for several residential and commercial buildings developed over the last decade.
What is stilt parking?
Some buildings have stilt parking, meaning the entire ground floor is creatively utilised to provide a partially covered parking area for vehicles. It differs from the fully covered basement parking in which one or more floors are built under the ground for parking purposes.
For stilt floor parking, the first floor of the building must stand on eight-foot-tall concrete columns/pillars with open sides. These pillars act as the base of the building. The design enables multiple car parking spaces. Buildings that use stilt car parking are described as G+ structures (G+3, G+4, etc.).
Initially, there were some apprehensions about the impact on building safety as the entire building stands only on pillars erected from the ground. With some effective improvisations in design to balance the weight of the building, today, stilt parking buildings are certified safe worldwide. In fact, in 2011, stilt parking was made mandatory in Delhi for all new societies with areas between 100 and 1000 square meters.
What is a stilt floor?
A typical building has several floors, such as the podium floor and mezzanine floor, to name a few. A stilt floor means the lowermost floor of a building just above the ground. It comprises concrete pillars or columns on which the building stands with all four sides open. Its height should not be more than 2.7 meters as per Real Estate and Regulatory Act (RERA) regulations. Facilities mostly use this floor as designated parking spaces.
However, some mandatory rules need to be followed for stilt floors:
- No separate rooms are allowed to be constructed on the stilt floor.
- Construction of brick walls is not permitted on stilt floors.
- The stilt floor should be earthquake-resistant.
- The parking space on the stilt floor cannot be sold separately by the builder.
Are there any specific rules for stilt floor parking?
Stilt parking considerably enhances the potential to provide housing to more people within the same space available. As a result, cities and city development authorities are making stilt parking mandatory around India. For example, according to the master plan for Delhi released in 2021, buildings offering stilt parking are eligible for an additional plan area.
Stilt floor parking has found its place in the law through various amendments to existing law and court judgments over the last decade. Notable stilt parking rules include:
- Stilt parking is not considered to be part of the floor-space ratio. It implies that the floor that houses the parking is not counted among the permitted floors for the building plan. For instance, if a builder has permission to construct three floors, the builder can build these three floors over and above the ground stilt floor.
- Builders are barred from selling stilt parking spaces independently. The spaces can only be part of the building space sold or bought. The Supreme Court of India, in a landmark judgment in 2010, upheld that all types of parking facilities of a building are counted as common facilities and thus belong to every owner in a residential society. It ensures that all owners/residents in the buildings have access to the stilt car parking. It also considerably reduces the scope for fights for parking spaces. Each parking space is duly marked to avoid confusion. The building’s respective Residents Welfare Association (RWA) manages the parking area. It also keeps few parking spaces as common areas and/or for visitors for their convenience.
- The stilt floor area can only be used for parking and nothing else. The area cannot be used as a storage area for any commercial activities, nor can it be converted into servant quarters or any other such use.
- Buyers are advised to study the building plan approval thoroughly. The document will clearly state the number of approved parking spaces for the building. It will also spell out the safety norms the construction is expected to follow regarding the stilt floor. In case of any discrepancy, the RWA can be approached. If the matter stands unresolved, a complaint can be filed with the District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum.
How does stilt parking benefit independent homeowners?
Stilt parking house designs are at an advantage. In many cities, the local development authorities restrict the number of floors for independent houses. Mostly it is two floors, but some rules prohibit this to one floor for specific areas. It is mainly done for safety and security purposes. However, if the house owner opts for stilt car parking, they are eligible to build an additional floor over the stilt floor.
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