High-rise construction near IIA to be banned soon

RDA says buildings will get automatic clearance under new system

Jamil Mirza September 25, 2020
A Reuters file image


To speed up the process of providing clearances to high-rise buildings being constructed in areas close to the airport, a system is being developed whereby clearance will not be required from the aviation regulator if they are located outside a 15-kilometre radius of the airport.

This was disclosed by the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) Chairman Tariq Mehmood Murtaza on Thursday after having held separate meetings with property developers and builders from the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi and the Federal Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan.

Murtaza said that in the past, anyone desiring to construct a high-rise first had to approach the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to obtain a no-objection certificate (NOC), lest their tall structure interferes with the flight pattern of aeroplanes. The standard was not to have buildings which were over 20 storeys tall within a 15km radius of an airport.

The builder would also need to contact the Survey of Pakistan to authenticate whether the building was located outside a certain radius.

The entire process would consume up to three months, precious time that the builder could have used getting building plans approved and constructing their structure, Murtaza said.

However, with Prime Minister Imran Khan terming the construction sector an industry apart from relaxing curbs on the construction of high-rises outside a certain radius, the process for clearance is set to become much simpler.

In his meeting with Sarwar, Murtaza said he raised the issue of the arduous clearance process for construction in housing schemes near the Islamabad International Airport (IIA).

“A plan of action should be formulated in this regard that if a housing scheme has been given a NOC by CAA, then a NOC is not required for individual buildings constructed there,” Murtaza urged.

At this, the federal minister said that innovative procedures have been devised for structures built within a 15km radius of airports and pointed to the new aviation policy introduced last year which did away with the 20-storey rule apart from working to make the process easier. He further assured Murtaza that facilities will be provided to the construction sector for the development of new projects around the airport in areas controlled by the RDA.

Separately, builders and developers of the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, led by Sardar Tahir, met with the RDA chief on the issue of NOCs and asked him to provide facilities to the construction sector.

In this regard, Murtaza ordered to facilitate the approval process of maps and other housing schemes in RDA apart from working to bring about reforms.

On the issue of obtaining NOCs for high-rises, an integrated system will be created which will be linked with the RDA, the Rawalpindi Metropolitan Corporation along with the district planning and traffic engineering departments so that when applying for a project, the location can be entered in the system to check how many high-rise buildings or other structures are allowed on the site and whether it falls outside the 15-kilometre radius of the airport. The authority will then be empowered to grant or reject clearance for a particular project.

Moreover, the CAA will also conduct a workshop for the relevant officials of these institutions on September 30 to build their capacity.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2020.


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