Development Control Regulations (DCR)

Development Control Regulations are a set of rules that are planned to ensure the proper and effective development of a city, as well as the general welfare of the public. Regulation is necessary to ensure planned development. It depends on a “plan-led system” whereas development plans are made and the public is consulted. DCR govern the urbanization of a city and ensure efficient growth and the general welfare of the public. These regulations aim to provide basic needs to the public such as health, safety, convenience, economy and amenity. 

It is a mechanism that controls the development and use of land. This involves the construction of new buildings, the extension of the existing ones, reducing the misuse of land and the change of use of the building or land to another use. Developing new houses/industrial buildings/shops are important for supporting economic progress. At the same time, it is also necessary to protect or improve the quality of towns, villages, countryside, etc. 

Objectives of the Development Control Regulations 

  • To stop the unfavorable demand and misuse of land. 
  • To assist private interest along with public interest in all phases of development. 
  • Development control is legal in nature and the planning authority has the power to punish the defaulters. 
  • To control and limit overcrowding on land. 
  • To control the private development as per the required rules in connection to public safety, health, and convenience. 

Types of Development Control Regulation (DCR) 

1. Town and country planning act 

It involves the creation and implementation of strategies to provide better infrastructure for people. 

2. Zoning regulations act 

It deals with the allocation of land for specific purposes and keeping a check on the use of land and the construction norms.

3. Slum clearance act 

The major focus is on reducing the number of slums and ensuring the rehabilitation of inhabitants. 

4. Building bye-laws 

These are a set of regulations imposed on developers, which must be mandatorily met during construction. 

5. Periphery control act 

The purpose is to protect peripheral land that comes under the jurisdiction of a State from all sorts of encroachments and illegal use. 

6. Land acquisition act 

Acquiring land for governmental projects and compensating the landowners appropriately. 

Controllable Factors under DCR 

1. Floor Space Index (FSI) 

It is the ratio of the covered area of a building or the built-up area to the area of the plot on which the building is meant to be built. Floor Space Index is the total area (including all floors) that can be built upon a plot, leaving the remaining as open space. It is authorized by the government for a particular locality. It is sometimes termed as Floor Space Compensation Ratio (FSR), Floor Area Ratio (FAR), site ratio or plot ratio. FSI rules are usually based on the National Building Code. 

As per the new rules, balconies, flower beds, voids and niches are calculated in FSI, and to compensate for the loss, the government has permitted fungible FSI up to 35 percent for residential and 20 percent for commercial developments. 

2. Parking space 

There is a specified space for parking in residential, commercial and educational institutions as per the defined rules in different States. However, as per the norms, parking size should be a minimum of 2.5 m x 5.5 m (motor vehicle), 1.2-3 sq m (two wheeler), 3.75 m x 7.5 m (transport vehicle)

3. Size of plots 

As per the DCR, the size of plots appropriate for residential development ranges according to the income level of occupants. The ideal size requirements under DCR are -

  • Low-Income Group (LIG) – 135 sq m to 180 sq m
  • Mid-Income Group (MIG) - 216 sq m to 360 sq m
  • High-Income Group (HIG) - 486 sq m to 972 sq m 

4. Lifts 

A building with a height of more than 13 m must have a lift from the ground floor. The minimum capacity of the lift should be six persons. 

5. Fire Safety 

Buildings exceeding three floors need a certificate of approval from the Fire Department. Moreover, every floor with more than 150 sq m of floor area and a capacity of over 20 people should have at least two doorways, along with a staircase for the fire exit. 

6. Structural design and services 

The architectural design should be made as per the prescribed norms of the National Building Code (NBC) of India. The building must possess plumbing facilities, protection from lightning, electrical installation and air-conditioning, to name a few. 

Development Control Regulations in India’s Top Cities 

1. Development Control Rules, Mumbai 

In January 2012, the Maharashtra Government had announced amendments to the Development Control Rules for Mumbai with the prime objective of bringing in transparency and reducing temporary and discretional decision-making at different levels. The new rules mean pricing based on maximum available FSI, reducing the risk that was largely accepted earlier with regard to excessive saleable area.

Under the new DCR, areas for balcony, flower-beds, stairs, terraces, corners, voids would be counted in the FSI but these were not considered in FSI calculation earlier. 

With the new rule, plots measuring over 2,125 sq.m.(22,873 sq.ft.) will now be permitted to build more, vertically. As per the new regulation, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will calculate the development potential of a plot on its gross area, without decreasing the area reserved for recreational purposes. The developers will now be able to build more apartments in a building with a proportionate increase in the open spaces in the building. 

Every plot, where a residential structure is coming up will have to reserve 15% of land for open spaces known as recreational ground. Earlier, according to the 1967 and 1991 DCR, when the BMC calculated the development potential of a plot, the reserved 15% plot was deducted. This resulted in a lesser number of flats being constructed. However, the BMC will determine the development potential including the reserved space now with the new rule. Resulting in permitting builders to develop more in the specified Floor Space Index or FSI. 

2. Development Control Rules, Chennai 

The State government has issued a Government Order, revising the 2nd Master Plan of the Chennai Metropolitan Area and the Development Control Regulations in other parts of the State. This is only for residential buildings that will reduce the cost of housing for low-income groups. 

The Tamil Nadu government has increased the maximum Floor Space Index (FSI) for multistoried residential buildings from 2.5 to 3.25. 

According to the amended terms on ‘premium FSI’, a multistoried residential building will get the maximum FSI of 3.62 on the payment of premium charges. The maximum FSI for specific buildings in the residential category and ordinary residential buildings will be 2. 

The Development Control Regulations 26 of the Chennai Metropolitan Area has been revised to change the FSI for special buildings also from 1.5 to 2 for continuous building areas. 

Likewise, the Development Regulations 27(3)D of the Chennai Metropolitan Area has been revised. 

The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) will also allow premium FSI over and above the usually permissible FSI subject to a maximum of 1.62. Now, the maximum FSI for a multistoried building will be 3.62 using premium FSI.

For a road width of 18 meters, the premium FSI permissible will be 50%. For roads with a width of 12-18 meters, the premium FSI permissible will be 40% and for roads with a width of 9-12 meters, it will be 30%. 

Factors contributing to non−compliance of the development control regulations in India 

  1. Failure of planning process to take account of ground realities and reset the planning guidelines, thus resulting in supply side shortages in terms of legitimate spaces for various land uses. 
  2. Weak enforcement machinery is responsible for the non-implementation of building laws and regulations. Implementation of development policies has been characterized by delays and poor execution of projects and programmes by nodal service providing agencies, lack of institutional and inter-sectoral coordination framework for development planning and the inadequate participation by the beneficiary population. 
  3. Unrealistic and cumbersome regulations including complex development control norms and building byelaws along with long drawn approval. 
  4. Absence of proper standing of institutional mechanism for seeking justifiable modifications/ relaxations in the existing building code and land use regulations. In recent years, there has been considerable debate and criticism leveled at the management of local government and legal system as it does not provide for quick and apt resolutions of building violation issues, which result in delays and misuse of the system. 

Ways to improve the enforcement of development regulations 

  • Simplification of development control requirements by simplifying procedures and introducing appropriate policies/ zoning regulations while safeguarding the health and environment and not damaging the economic base of the activities concerned. 
  • Revisiting the principles on which development control is based. As in case of zoning systems, certainty for developers is achieved at the cost of inflexibility for unforeseen demands and needs; while in discretionary systems flexibility to accommodate rapid and unforeseen changes comes at the cost of uncertainty and greater opportunities for corruption. It has been recommended that a system needs to be evolved to achieve a workable compromise between these principles.
  • Strengthening the enforcement capacity to monitor and take action on illegal developments and violations of development controls. In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of development controls, it is important that rather than devoting resources to improving the quality of urban spatial plans and development regulations, urban managers should concentrate on governance. It is necessary to make the whole system of plan formulation and implementation more dynamic and responsive to changes. For this, the planning legislation will have to be modified, updated and made more citizens friendly.


Methods Of Making A Base Map

There’s a couple of ways you can make a base map: 

1. Trilateration – the most low tech, effective solution 

2. Tracing an aerial photo at scale 

3. Using software to make a digital base map 

1) Using Trilateration to Make a Base Map 

Trilateration is the process of determining the locations of points by measurement of distances, using the geometry of circles and triangles. Trilateration is an easy way to survey a small block of land or a back yard. It does not require special training and only requires a few inexpensive tools. Tools which will need for trilateration: 

In the field: 

1. A tape measure (20 m long is usually enough) 

2. A sketch pad or grid paper for recording your measurements 

3. Some drafting pencil or pens. 

Back inside 

1. A nice large sheet of paper to make your base map on 

2. Some drafting pencil or pens. 

3. A drawing compass (Preferably with an extension arm) 

4. A scale rule 

2) Tracing an Aerial Photo at Scale 

It is one of the quickest ways is to project a satellite image or aerial photo onto your paper and trace it. To do this: 

  • Choose an image with a scale bar visible e.g. in the bottom right 
  • Choose the scale by adjusting the zoom of the projector (or moving it closer or further from the wall) until the site fits on the page and the scale bar measures true on a scale ruler 
  • Read the scale off the ruler (e.g. 1:50) 
  • Trace the major features off the projection onto the page. 

3) Creating a Digital Base Map 

Another way is to use software on a computer to create a digital base map from a satellite image or aerial photo. 

Base map is a layer with geographic information that serves as a background. A base map provides context for additional layers that are overlaid on top of the base map. Base maps usually provide location references for features that do not change often like boundaries, rivers, lakes, roads, and highways. Even on base maps, these different categories of information are in layers. Usually a base map contains this basic data and then extra layers with a particular theme or from a particular discipline, are overlaid on the base map layers for the sake of analysis. 

Some base maps look like Vector Layers but are actually tiled Raster layers. Tiled images are used because they display faster and deliver a good combination of layers for providing context and orientation. If your base map has raster layers, you cannot turn the layers off and on. For example, if you wanted to show all the different types of endangered plants within a region, you would use a base map showing roads, provincial and state boundaries, waterways and elevation. Onto this base map, you could add layers that show the location of different categories of endangered plants. One added layer could be trees, another layer could be mosses and lichens, another layer could be grasses.