All you need to know about Floor Area Ratio
The floor area ratio (FAR) or floor space ratio (FSR) denotes the maximum floor space that can be constructed on a given piece of land. In other words, it is a ratio between a building’s total constructed floor area and the land area. It is also known as Floor Space Index (FSI) in some markets.
Understanding Floor Area Ratio and its calculation
The FAR of a project is the total floor area of the building (including the space covered by all the floors in the building) divided by the area of land on which the project is being constructed. The FAR is decided by municipal corporations or the development authority, according to the Development Control Regulations (DCR) and varies from one city or even locality, to another.
If the size of the plot or land being used for a project is 500 sq ft and the FAR determined for that particular city/locality is 1.5, then, the total floor area that can be constructed will be 750 sq ft (500×1.5). As the maximum space available on the ground floor will be around 500 sq ft, hence, with the remaining built-up area of 250 sq ft, it is possible to construct just one more floor. Therefore, considering the plot area and the FAR applicable in that particular locality, a developer would be permitted to construct a one-storey building.
The importance of FAR for home buyers
The FAR value is determined by local municipal corporations, to ensure the best possible living conditions for residents in that area, keeping in mind the density of the population, availability of open spaces, environmental impact of the project and preparedness in the eventuality of a natural disaster. Although the methods of computation of the FAR differ from one city to another, the value generally does not exceed 2.5.
The more floor area available to a developer, the taller the building can be. Therefore, if you buy a property in such a project, you will most likely live in a denser area with many other residents and will share common amenities and the expenses on electricity, water, clubhouses, swimming pools, elevators, etc.
However, the resale value for a project with low FAR, will most likely be higher than for a property that was in a high-FAR project. This is because a low-FAR project usually means shorter buildings, lesser population density and more open areas around the project.
What to know about FAR violation?
An FAR violation by a developer usually comes to light, only when the relevant development authority issues a completion certificate. Therefore, home buyers should ask to see the completion certificate, before buying a property in the project. Buying a property in a project that has violated the FAR regulations of the city/locality, could have serious repercussions on your credit worthiness, if you were to apply for a loan.
Exceptions to Floor Area Ratio
Some important exceptions to the FAR are amenities like common spaces, parking areas, any interior open space such as the balcony, basements exclusively used for parking, attics, exterior spaces, sports courts, etc. These areas are not included in the FAR.
Frequently asked questions about Floor Area Ratio
Will an increase in FAR bring down property cost?
There is a reason why FAR in different areas is fixed or needs to be decided by the authorities. For example, in high-seismic zones, allowing real estate developers to construct high-rises, without any limit, is unsafe. On the other hand, a higher FAR will help the builder to develop more units, thereby, bringing down the cost of development. Nevertheless, the input cost in construction is also a major determinant of what the final price will be. Hence, a mere increase in the FAR, cannot lead to a decrease in property prices.
Do small cities lag behind due to lower FAR?
The FAR depends on the development control regulations (DCR) and it is calculated, keeping in mind the safety of the structure and its surroundings. Tier-2 and tier-3 cities have comparatively lower job opportunities and underdeveloped or developing infrastructure and hence, avenues for growth are lower, which leads them to lag behind. FAR is not the only factor which affects the development of a city.
Floor Area Ratio in Indian cities
Real estate developers often ask for a higher FAR, to bridge the demand-supply gap. Often, unscrupulous builders may even violate FAR regulations. It is very important to follow the rules, so as to provide safe living conditions for everyone. In India, the FAR ranges between 1 and 3.5.
FAR in residential premises: Plotted housing
FAR in group housing
The number of dwelling units is calculated on the basis of the density pattern given in the development plan, taking into consideration a population of 4.5 persons per dwelling unit. The maximum FAR is 125 or 1.25. Higher FAR may be given, depending on the pattern of development and should not exceed 150.
(With inputs from Sneha Sharon Mammen)
Is FAR and FSI the same?
Yes, these are used synonymously. FAR is the Floor Area Ratio and FSI stands for Floor Space Index. This ratio is determined by dividing the built-up area of a building with the total size of the plot.
What is 2.5 FSI?
If the FSI is 2.5, this means that a builder with a plot of 1,000 sq metres, can construct 2.5×1,000 sq metres, that is 2,500 sq metres.
What is GFA?
GFA refers to Gross Floor Area and is used to calculate FAR. tenant area, meeting rooms, mechanical equipment area, stairwell, lobbies, restrooms, etc., are included in the GFA.