There is always a Tug-of-War between the Society and its Members in many Housing Societies as regards responsibility and liability about additions/alterations proposed to be carried out in flat. No one has ever thought why Buildings deteriorate and become weak before age.
Additions or alterations in flat without consent of Appropriate Authorities or Managing Committee are illegal. Every Housing Society has its own set of Bye-Laws which are formulated within the frame work of the MCS Act and Co-operative Housing Society Act and all Members are bound to act within these Bye-Laws.
However, the permissions for additions or alterations in flat are based on the nature of repairs. It is also noticed that, some time flat owners are carrying out the work of additions or alterations under the disguise of repairs and ultimately land in to troubles. Repairs amounting to structural changes or additions or alterations require regular permissions with scrutiny and procedures which are inevitable and are always in the interest of the flat owner.
The concerned Bye-Laws for Additions or alterations in flat and restrictions imposed by BMC are explained as under:
BYE-LAW NO.47: ADDITIONS AND ALTERATIONS IN FLAT:
- Additions and alterations in the flat permissible with the committee's permission: No member shall, without the previous permission of the in writing, make any additions or alterations in his flat.
- Application for permission for making additions and alterations in a flat: The member, desirous of making any additions or alterations in his flat, shall make an application to the Secretary of the Society, giving all the required particulars. Further action on such application shall be taken by the Secretary and the Committee of the Society as provided under the bye-law No. 65
BYE- LAW NO.65: DISPOSAL OF APPLICATIONS:
- All the applications for permission for additions and alterations in flats shall be addressed to the Secretary of the Society. Every application received by the Secretary shall be acknowledged by him.
- On receipt of the applications, the Secretary of the Society shall scrutinise them and bring any short comings therein to the notice of the members concerned within 7 days of their receipt for compliance.
- The Secretary shall place all the applications, complete in all respects, or incomplete, before the meeting of the Committee or the General Body, as the case may be held next after receipt of the applications;
- The committee or the General Body, as the case may be, shall consider all such applications at its meetings and take decisions thereon;
- The committee shall ensure that all the applications received by the Secretary of the Society are disposed off within the maximum period of 3 months from the dates of their receipt;
- If the Committee or the General Body, as the case may be, rejects any applications, it shall record, in the minutes of its meetings, the reasons for rejection of the applications;
- The Secretary of the Society shall communicate the decisions of the Committee or the General Body, to the applicants concerned within 15 days of the decisions of the committee or the General Body, with reasons, where the applications are rejected by the Committee.
BMC (BUILDING & FACTORY DEPARTMENT) RULES FOR ADDITIONS, ALTERATIONS AND REPAIRS IN OWNERSHIP FLATS:
As per section 342 of BMC Act, 1988 (amended till date), the following "Tenantable Repairs" can be carried out WITHOUT obtaining permission from the BMC:
- Plastering, painting, pointing of your flat
- Providing guniting to the structural members or walls
- Changing floor tiles
- Repairing WC, bath or washing places
- Repairing or replacing drainage pipes, taps, manholes and other fittings
- Repairing or replacing sanitary, water plumbing or electrical fittings
- Replacing the roof with the same material
- Replacement of existing water-proofing material of the terrace.
- Constructions of lofts / Mezzanine floors
The only pre-condition to the above works are:
- The original tenantable structure (whether rental or ownership) must be legal.
- Though no BMC permission for the above is required, it is advisable to do so under strict supervision of a registered Architect and/ or Structural Engineer
The following "Tenantable Repairs" however shall NOT include:
- Replacing or removal of any structure members of load bearing walls
- Change in horizontal or vertical existing dimensions of the structure
- Lowering of plinth, foundations or floors
- Addition or extension of mezzanine floor or loft
- Flattening of roof or repairing roof with different material
- No merger of tenancies by removal or opening of any walls in between two or more tenancies.
- Changing location of bathroom/ WC/ kitchen sink, in a way that can cause leakage to residents below.
- Any R.C.C. repairs which involves use of steel, cement, sand & stone/metal.
There is also a lot of confusion regarding the safety grills installed in balconies. Newer buildings come with the permission to install grills. For the older buildings, grills can be "legalized" by writing to the BMC (Building & Factory Department) and attaching the following documents:
- Society NOC
- Original floor plan of the flat
- Approximately Rs 2,000 fee (exact amount depends on the area of window covered)
Before starting renovation work on property, to clear any doubt, it may be safe to take 'Dated' pictures of the property and submit a letter to the local BMC office, also attaching a copy of the Architect's proposed plan.
Debris has to be collected and removed immediately by a contractor, who is authorized by the BMC to dump the debris in an approved plot. For debris lying on the footpaths or roadside, the erring member is liable to be fined.
In case of violation/flouting of the above rules by any residential member for unauthorised construction of civil structure beyond his entitlement, the Secretary of the Housing Society may lodge complaint to concerned Authorities/Assistant Engineer of BMC's Building and Factory Department of respective BMC Ward Office for immediate action under Sect. 351 of Bombay Municipal Corporation Act, 1888 for removal/demolition of the unauthorized portion of respective flat.
As precautionary measures, remember again, as far as possible, DO NOT carry out following works without advice and supervision of qualified & experienced architect, structural engineer and contractor:-
- Unauthorized additions there by over loading existing structure for which it is not designed.
- Any internal changes/alterations specifically change in positions of toilet blocks or kitchens. The same should be maintained in alignment with other floors.
- Extensions of wet areas over dry areas.
- Tolerate any leakages, attend immediately.
- Additions and alterations if the same are not approved from the municipal authority, architect & structural engineer.
- Any work of repairs by petty contractors.
- Replacement of floor finish.
- Repairs of internal, external plastering and R.C.C. members.
- Any modifications to existing plan, according to which the building exits.
- Toilet or Kitchen renovations.
- Structural alterations required for interior designing & decoration.
- Any RCC repairs which involves use of steel, cement, sand & stone/metal.