High-rise buildings: Big shake-up in UDA regulations in 3 months

19 February 2020 03:41 am - 14     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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In the wake of the Daily Mirror Eye’s investigative piece, 'High-rise Corruption’ on buildings and planning violations of apartment projects in Colombo and the suburbs, the Urban Development Authority (UDA) working on introducing reforms to the existing building and planning regulations for high-rise apartment projects countrywide.

UDA's Colombo Metro Region Director Lalith Wijayaratne said he had received a directive from high government officials to introduce major changes to the 34-year-old approval, planning and building regulations of the UDA pertaining to high-rise apartment projects. (Those above 30 metres are categorised as ‘high-rise’ buildings and ‘super high-rise’ buildings).

He said Cabinet approval would be sought to reinforce the new regulations with a new set of programmes to make the UDA regulations compatible with the field of modern development and that the proposals would be implemented within three months.

One of the main issues that the Eye’s article pointed out was the absence of an administrative system to audit whether developers had followed the existing regulations for their already approved apartment projects. Mr. Wijayaratne said the new regulations would introduce a special monitoring mechanism to keep an eye on apartment projects till construction was complete.

“There are more than 20,000 unauthorized constructions in Colombo. These projects have blatantly violated regulations by changing their initial plans after obtaining building permits,” he said.

Another point highlighted in Eye’s article was the lack of one government institution (one-stop-shop) to provide approvals to apartment developers, instead of having different authorities to give clearances and approvals where the avenues for bribery and corruption are very high. ​

Mr. Wijayaratne said that for the purpose of maintaining transparency in the preliminary plan-clearance procedure, the UDA hopes to set up a ‘One-Stop Unit’ with the aim of reducing the time gaps and hopefully bribery and corruption involving government officials.

He said under the new regulations, the number of floors for an apartment project would be decided based on the extent of the block of land, the degree of sewerage/water/electricity facilities, etc., and that the new UDA regulations would pay special attention to apartment projects proposed to be constructed in coastal areas and historically important areas.

However, when asked Mr. Wijayaratne said the UDA had not been able to come up with a good solution to penalize apartment developers who violate regulations including those at already completed constructions.(Piyumi Fonseka)

  Comments - 14

  • Shame Wednesday, 19 February 2020 03:51 AM

    "However, when asked Mr. Wijayaratne said the UDA had not been able to come up with a good solution to penalize apartment developers who violate regulations including those at already completed constructions." What a shame - back to square one. It is better you guys stop fooling the people. The biggest issue in SL is the corrupt politicians and the corrupt judicial system. If this is not fixed nothing will happen "legally". Politicians look after the corrupt judges by providing them with perks after retirement. Also the corrupt judges look after the corrupt politicians. This is the story of SL for 71 years. Hence SL is behind Singapore and now struggling to keep up with even less developed countries.

    Hamlet Wednesday, 19 February 2020 05:38 AM

    People visit Sri Lanka for the Natural Beauty of her Countryside! They can go to Singapore for High Rise Apartments and Artificial Horticulture! That is not 'Development', it Is Destruction of the Environment and the Cause of Climate Change!

    Dassanayake Wednesday, 19 February 2020 05:46 AM

    UDA are the first to take bribes. Bluffing if the UDA is going to stop first see at Wellawatte and Pamankada areas which the newly started ones out stop going high rise limiting to 5 floors blocking the neighborhood with no wind blowing accross.

    Dr.Siri Wednesday, 19 February 2020 07:12 AM

    UDA itself violates the gazetted guidelines

    Senn Wednesday, 19 February 2020 07:25 AM

    UDA/Municipality officials get hefty bribe from builders

    Over to you Gota again Wednesday, 19 February 2020 07:29 AM

    This is an excellent eye opener. Gotabaya are you up to the task? First gather a COMPETENT set of PROFESSIONALS to conduct a root cause analysis. PUNISH all the culprits without fear or favour. NO EXCEPTIONS. We will give you one year to clear this mess. Also use your authority to DEMOLISH any unauthorised structures IMMEDIATELY. Enact the missing policy guidelines highlighted in this report. If you FAIL you too will be put to the RUBBISH bin like the set of 225 in parliament. This 225 is running on borrowed time. Time is ticking now! Our law faculty and law college failed to produce competent graduates with a strong back bone and integrity. It is time to review the student selection process and education system in these institutions. The cream of the students selected to do medicine, engineering and accounting. The remainder go on to do law and other less demanding studies. Perhaps it is time to select the best a/l students to do law and medicine like in the developed countries.

    Renu Wednesday, 19 February 2020 08:19 AM

    "One stop shop " will be the pinnacle of bribery and corruption in the future to get the plan through, perhaps without much of a delay. Digital information must be available for potential investors which will to a certain extent reduce bribery

    BuffaloaCitizen Wednesday, 19 February 2020 10:12 AM

    You have to be Sinhalese to be corrupt and then even justify it.

    Yehiya Wednesday, 19 February 2020 11:05 AM

    You have to cooperate to them. This is the best solution for housing

    Vernon Wednesday, 19 February 2020 02:53 PM

    Why such actions not taken long before the condo boom started? The CMA is utterly useless in resolving the problems left by corrupt developers, and got the COC in dubious manners. Once the one year Defects Liability Period (DLP) is over and the Management Corporation is established, all problems becomes their baby, and developer goes Scott free. The CMA will only write letters to bulldoze the Corporation, when the developer is the culprit. Corruption appears to be prevailing at CMA, UDA,and Local Authority, with no salvation to owners

    Pramesh Wednesday, 19 February 2020 05:09 PM

    fortunately, there was and there will be no 'UDA' in china to build up a massive hospital within a week.

    Transparency Thursday, 20 February 2020 09:18 AM

    Mr. Wijayaratne, What are you going to do about High Rise projects approved illegally violating your own regulations by corrupt senior officials of your own organization.

    Nimal Tissa Wijetunga Thursday, 20 February 2020 10:50 AM

    Again appeared to be ad hoc basis approach as for high rise building, industrial, warehouses, logistic facilities occupations requires integrated National policy based on international standards which must include Construction, Active

    Nimal Tissa Wijetunga Thursday, 20 February 2020 04:57 PM

    Again appeared to be ad hoc basis approach as for high rise building, industrial, warehouses, logistic facilities occupations requires integrated National policy based on international standards which must include Construction, Active


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