Mumbai: The super built-up area has now been given a new nomenclature: useable area. While earlier, a builder would present the entire area of a flat to a consumer, now he sells an apartment by dividing its space into a carpet area and a super built-up area, which is the useable space. The change in the name had to be brought in following the government’s insistence that the sale agreement should clearly mention the space included in carpet area and that in the super builtup area.

The carpet area is confined to the four walls of a house or habitable area. Everything outside, such as balcony, terrace deck, passageway, flower beds, lift area, entrance lobby, clubhouse and in some cases even open spaces, is now included in the super built-up or the useable area.

Last month, the BMC also sent a circular to the building proposals department, asking it to incorporate the provisions of Maharashtra Ownership Flats (regulation of the promotion of construction, sale management and transfer) Act regarding the sale of a flat based on its carpet area in the Intimation of Disapproval (IOD) issued to builders.

The space for useable area has also been raised. Till recently, the super built-up was 40-50% of the carpet area. But, now the figure has gone up to 60-80%. Gone are the days when a 1,000 sq-ft flat meant a carpet area of 600 sq ft. However now, a buyer knows that when he is buying a 1,000 sq-ft apartment, he will get to stay in as much space. The super built-up component will be in the non-habitable space.

This trend was started for the mill plots where more than 5,000 super-luxury flats are being constructed. Indiabulls that has a couple of projects on mill land is charging 60% of the carpet area as the useable area. Gagan Banga, CEO of Indiabulls Financial Services, said the figure reflected the market trends. “We are selling a commodity and it comes as a package. Buyers are not looking for just a flat, but they also want amenities such as a terrace deck, a club-house, a pool, joggers’ tracks, gardens and playgrounds. All that costs money and they are willing to pay,” said Banga. He added that the deals did not have any hidden note as the buyers were told how much carpet area and how much usable area he would get. “Some of the developers are even charging as high as 80% of the carpet area as super-builtup area.”

According to a source, the Lodhas are charging 80% as super built-up area for their World Crest project at Worli. But Abhisheck Lodha, managing director of Lodha Builders, denied it. “The calculation is done on the height of the building and it is between 24-31% of the carpet area. The maximum that we have charged is 32% for Bellissimo,” he said. Ali Lokhandwala, director of Lokhandwala Infrastructure, who is also reportedly marking 80% of the carpet area as the useable area, said his company did not charge more than 25%. “The super built-up area cannot be wished away as buyers now demand more and more amenities and not just a flat. Besides, there are so many regulations and requirements that have to be fulfilled,” he added. According to Lodha, buyers should be charged on the basis of the floor space index (FSI) consumed rather than the carpet and super-built-up areas. Sunil Mantri, president of Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry, said there was no way they could make builders sell flats on carpet areas. “What we do insist upon is that the builder must specify the carpet area in the sale deal,” Mantri said.

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