KARACHI: The Lyari buildings where the fire took three lives were a clear example of how building by-laws are violated in the city. According to the Sindh Building Control Authority’s (SBCA) bylaws, a sufficient distance of 14 to 20 feet must be ensured between one building and another, said NED University’s Urban Infrastructure department’s chairperson Dr Noman Ahmed. “It is mandatory for the builder to give provision of at least 14 feet from one building to another.”
If the building is ground plus four storeys, the distance from the neighbouring building should be not be less than 20 feet, he added. In Lyari, many buildings were approved as low-rise structures and they were later turned into high-rise, Dr Ahmed pointed out. As more floors were added later illegally, congestion became a common problem in old city areas.
The SBCA is usually responsible for such constructions but, in Lyari and other informal settlements, the building control authority has no jurisdiction until the Sindh Katchi Abadi Authority regularises them, he said.
Meanwhile, SBCA spokesperson Farhan Qaiser blamed the master plan department of the Sindh government for such constructions. “The plot lines are carved by the master plan department,” he said, adding that they also plan the layout of the buildings. In areas like Lyari, he said, constructions are taking place haphazardly and the residents do not bother to get the construction plans passed by the SBCA.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2017.
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