Technical Aspects Of Buying An Apartment


Recession in real estate sector continuing, genuine buyers are finding it an opportune time to buy an apartment of their choice. Beginning mid-January, ‘Maghi’ is considered as one of the most auspicious months for house warming. That month not far, if you are on the lookout for a suitable apartment, apart from other factors that are generally considered, don’t ignore the technical aspects that are rather more important. Here have a look on them:

Basic aspects: Factors that a buyer generally examines before buying an apartment are the location of the residential complex, reputation of the builder, whether the scheme is RERA approved or not, whether the title is clear and freehold or not, provision of basic facilities like the club, gym, the pool and the greens, pollution free environment, availability of maintenance gangs, efficient security at the entry gate and in each block, power backup, fast and power backed elevators, access card parking, earmarking of parking slots and overall cleanliness and maintenance of the area. In addition, must check the technical aspects.

Earthquake resistance: That is most important technical aspect. No building can be made earthquake proof but definitely earthquake resistant buildings can be constructed. High rise buildings are considered more prone to damage during earthquakes. Therefore, don’t ignore this aspect.

To check this, first of all check the brochure provided by the company. It should promise earthquake resistant design. Ensure that RCC framed structure has been provided for the apartment block. Ask for copy of structural safety certificate. This certificate provides you an assurance both from safety and legal angles. Only a building having earthquake resistant design and adequate depth of foundations below natural ground to safely bear all vertical and lateral loads will be issued this certificate.

Avoid a stilt: There are apartment buildings in which stilts are provided at ground level to accommodate parking and no basement parking is designed. Such apartment buildings are more prone to damage during earthquakes. Avoid buying an apartment in such a building. Prefer an apartment block that has apartments or other accommodation at ground floor also.

Prefer new construction: Standard codes and specifications for earthquake resistant design have undergone sea changes in the recent past as designers have become more aware of this acute problem after Bhuj Earthquake. The codes now focus on avoiding collapse of buildings and safety of inhabitants against falling objects. National Building Code 2016 lays greater emphasis on earthquake resistance. As the buildings are always designed to meet the prevalent codal provisions, a new construction will have to fulfil the latest codal provisions otherwise its plans will not get passed from authorities. Therefore, always look for new construction, designed as per latest codes and specifications while an old construction would have met the codal provisions existing at that time only.

Reject super area: Super area is an obsolete term now as it includes a proportion of common areas and gives a false impression of the apartment area to the buyer. A buyer believing in super area gets a rude shock when he factually enters his apartment and finds it much smaller than what he had imagined. Always check the carpet area of the apartment which broadly means inside floor area of the apartment. It is always better to visit the sample apartment to have an idea of the sizes and proportioning of the rooms instead of getting an idea from the plans. So reject super area and believe in carpet area.

Fire safety: Here again, the latest codal provisions come to your rescue which focus on avoiding towering infernos and ensure provision of enough escape routes, fire control measures, proper ducts for conduits and prevention of short circuits. Thus, in newer construction, fire safety aspects will be better planned and provided. Look for provision of sprinklers inside the apartments. If provided, don’t cover them inside false ceiling though your false ceiling contractor will try to convince you to hide them inside false ceiling.

Winter sun: Look for an apartment where you get winter sun in some room and balcony. It feels like a blessing during winters. An apartment not getting any sun any time of the day is not good from health point of view. ‘Mere hisse ki dhoop’ is important to receive. If the apartment has an attached open terrace, whether common or individual, consider it a plus point.

Ceiling height: Look for provision of good ceiling height in the apartment being examined. If ceiling height is 10 feet or more, the apartment will have better ventilation and will be less hot during summers. In no case, ceiling height should be less than 9 feet.

Quality: Check the construction quality. In apartments, much focus is on finishing items and as you enter, a glittering apartment mesmerizes you and tempts you to finalize the deal instantly. Structural quality and safety are however more important. Take an experienced qualified engineer along with you to assess the quality of construction. His experienced eye could easily give you an idea. Examine the sanitary fittings, electric wires behind the plates, quality of anti-skid flooring in bathrooms, lines and levels, finish of the vents and holes for ACs, chimney pipe, exhaust fans etc. for assessment of workmanship quality.