All about the Refuge Area. Why is it important for you?

Sujan Afi S

Introduction

With the rate of urbanization, the number of skyscrapers is also increasing. Potential risks to life during disasters like earthquake or fire appears to be a concerning issue nowadays. There are cases when the entire building collapses causing a huge number of deaths. To prevent this kind of loss of life the concept of ‘Refuge Area’ has emerged.

What is Refuge Area?

‘Refuge Area’ can be defined as the shelter place of the residents of a high rise building or skyscraper during the time of emergency like earthquake, fire, tsunami, etc. This area is demarcated in the building plan so that the necessary permission from local governmental authority is received for the construction of any high rising building.

According to the norms of building bye-laws, it is necessary to follow the safety codes and keep a refuge area in a high rising building. No construction is allowed in the refuge area. It is kept open and vacant so that people can take shelter here during any kind of emergency. The refuge area of a skyscraper or high-rise building is more useful for sick people, older persons, children, women, and disabled people during any kind of emergencies.

Rules of Refuge Area

In National Building Code (NBC) the rules of refuge areas in skyscrapers or high-rise buildings have been mentioned clearly. According to NBC, there should be a refugee area on the seventh floor of skyscrapers. Besides, its location can be after the first 24 meters of a skyscraper.

NBC mentions the size of the refuge area too. According to NBC, the refuge area should be limited to a maximum of 4% of the total liveable area of the same floor when it is excluded from FSI (Floor Space Index). When the refuge area is more than 4 % limit then it will fall under FSI norms. Thus, the space of the refuge area will be calculated under FSI norms. 

According to the laws, a clear passage to the refuge area should be constructed to access the refuge area during the time of emergency and besides that, it should be painted with luminous paint and signs. Any kind of staircase or elevators should not be opened in the refuge area and the doors of the refuge area should not be locked in any situation. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying a Flat with a Refuge Area

There are some advantages as well as disadvantages while buying a flat with a refuge area.

Advantages

  • Open space is available
  • Safety option increases during any accident or emergency like fire or earthquake
  • Increases the scope of enjoying the natural beauty
  • Natural airflow and good ventilation

Disadvantages

  • As the refuge area receives direct rainfall, therefore, it has chances of seepage of water
  • If water is collected in the refuge area then it can cause mosquito breeding
  • Guards and other staff may use this area
  • Keeping clean of the refuge area may be challenging over the period of time

Why you should keep an eye before investing?

Several builders or developers encourage the home buyers to use the refuge area for personal purposes like party area, meeting area, storage area, drying of clothes, playing area for the children, etc. This is completely illegal. Even it is also observed that although there is the presence of a refuge area in the building map, the constructed building has no such refuge area.

In many cases, builders or developers construct flats in the space allotted for the refuge area and sell them to the residents at lucrative rates. It is the sole responsibility of the civic bodies or investors to verify or check whether the provisions for the refuge area is kept or not according to the building plan.

According to the laws, the government will demolish a part of the building (after taking complaints from the civic bodies) if there is any construction noticed in the refuge area.

Therefore, you need to check the building map before buying a flat so that you can be assured that your flat is not over the refuge area. Buying a flat in a refuge area might lead you to legal problems as well as financial loss.

You should go through a title search from a local sub-registry office before buying a flat in a skyscraper or high-rise building so that your investment is done in the right place. To protect your legal rights over your flat it is very much necessary for you to keep your eyes open regarding refuge areas while investing in skyscrapers or high-rise buildings.

Alternate Refuge Area

In recent times there are several skyscrapers that have a height of more than 70 metres or have more than 24 floors. In these kinds of buildings, there is a provision of alternative refuge areas. The minimum width of this area should be 3 meters while the minimum area should be 10 square metres for residential buildings whereas 15 square metres for commercial buildings. 

Conclusion

The importance of refuge areas has increased with the increase of the number of skyscrapers. As a potential investor, you should keep your eyes open before investing so that your flat does not fall over the refuge area. With the increase of frauds and greedy developers or builders, your responsibility in real estate investment has also increased to make your investment potential.

If you are not well acquainted with the technicalities of the real estate market, then feel free to contact us at info@roodland.com. Our dedicated team will guide you in every possible way and save you from any possible frauds that can harm you. Roodland India cares about your individual needs and desires. We know exactly what you need. We guide you in that very direction with a little more care!

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