Construction of high-rise buildings: Ministerial body to formulate recommendations

ISLAMABAD: A high-level ministerial committee is to make recommendations for the removal of restrictions on the construction of high-rise buildings in the country modeled on Dubai, Hong Kong and New York, knowledgeable sources said Business recorder.

The committee formed on August 9, 2019 was expanded to examine whether the notified restrictions were in line with international standards.

During Cabinet discussions on September 30, 2021, the Prime Minister stressed that it had been brought to his attention that despite Cabinet’s decision to drop the NOC requirement of the CAA and PAF, the practice was still fashionable.

The visual illustration of the civil aviation rule – 6g (obstacle limitation surface) was also presented. It was pointed out that the 4 km area surrounding the runway was called “Inner Horizontal” which had the building height restriction of 147 ft.

The 2 km surrounding the interior horizontal were called “conical”, with a height limitation of 147 feet to 476 feet depending on the distance from the track and the area 9 km beyond the conic and 15 km from the runway. the runway, was horizontal outside, with a height restriction of 492 feet. Hotel Services International, Lahore, was located in the conical zone and according to the formula, the height restriction of 245 feet was determined.

Construction of high-rise buildings: the Aviation division relaxes its requirements: the Minister

With respect to cabinet instructions to review aviation policy and highlight any discrepancies, if any, and the reasons therefor; the aviation secretary has requested that the matter be reviewed and that a detailed report be submitted to Cabinet in two weeks.

The Secretary of Aviation, while admitting that the CAA / PAF still issued notices of compliance, explained that, in accordance with the Cabinet decision, the responsibility had been transferred to the Building Control Authorities (BCAS), but that ‘Due to the lack of expertise in aeronautical considerations, they did not issue a notice of compliance. As an interim arrangement, the previous practice continued until August 2021 and now BCAs have received orientation / training to issue NOCs.

Referring to previous Cabinet decisions of January 14, 2020 and September 21, 2021, the Prime Minister reiterated that the spirit was to allow developers / investors / builders to easily invest in skyscrapers not only to boost business economic in construction and related sectors, but also to reduce the pressure on the horizontal expansion of cities instead of the resulting vertical pressure on scarce agricultural / fertile land. The Prime Minister noted with concern that Cabinet decisions are not being implemented on the ground with the same spirit and pace.

Highlighting skyscrapers built within 9 miles of airfields in cities like Hong Kong, Dubai and New York, members asked for clarification on whether they violated international standards.

As no satisfactory explanation was provided by the Aviation Division, it was suggested that the committee formed earlier, with the addition of some new members, examine whether the notified restrictions were in line with international standards, while taking into account includes examples from Hong Kong, Dubai and New York. The Committee would also determine the problems faced by builders and submit a report at the next Cabinet meeting.

After extensive discussion, the Council of Ministers decided that the committee was formed on August 9, 2021 with the addition of the Minister of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, the Minister of Science and Technology and special assistant to the Prime Minister in charge of national health services, regulation and coordination, after having gathered the comments of the relevant stakeholders (builders, developers, Ministry of Defense, PAF, etc.) in this regard; (ii ) identify and correct the problems encountered by developers / builders in this regard; (iii) review international standards, while taking into account the examples of Hong Kong, Dubai and New York. The Aviation Division would provide secretarial support to the Committee. Omar Ayub Khan, then Minister of Energy and now Minister of Economic Affairs, will remain a member of the Committee; (iv) The Ministry of Defense would submit a report on measures proposed / underway / taken to encourage high increases in cantonment limits; (v) The Ministry of Housing would submit a report after receiving contributions from the provincial governments on the height restrictions in cities / towns with an analysis of these restrictions and what measures can provincial governments take to encourage high-rise buildings with the aim of reducing horizontal expansion and pressure on agricultural land conversion / farmers as such, an unforeseen and rapid conversion poses a threat to the country’s food security; (vi) Cabinet granted the request of the Secretary of the Aviation Division and asked him to present the report on “Aviation policy and its status of implementation, highlighting any deviations (where applicable) and the reasons therefor “within two weeks.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

About Jean R. Manzer

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