BENGALURU: The Karnataka government has scrapped mandatory sanction for commercial development plans for plots measuring up to 20,000sqm (nearly 5 acres) and exempted select common areas from floor area ratio (FAR) rules in both residential and commercial high-rises. FAR is the ratio of the built-up area to the size of the building’s plot. The previous ceiling was 12,000sqm (nearly 3 acres). This is a sanction that was obtained from the BDA, which checks to see, among other things, if the layout has earmarked spaces for amenities. It involves 16 approvals within the BDA. The revised rules will spare the developers the trouble of liaising with multiple levels of bureaucracy. All such projects, however, will continue to need BBMP’s building plan approval. Anuj Puri, chairman of property consultancy Anarock, said it is good news for smaller commercial developers who previously had to run a gauntlet of permissions for small projects. “A commercial hub like Bengaluru attracts all types of occupiers and the resultant spaces can cater to many of the startups that are thriving in the city.” Increased commercial activities will put pressure on Bengaluru infrastructure: Expert Anuj Puri, chairman of property consultancy Anarock, warned that increased commercial development could lead to haphazard growth and create more challenges for Bengaluru’s already-compromised infrastructure. “There will need to be some regulations in place,” he said. Among other changes, new residential and commercial properties are allowed to accommodate within the setback area a watchman’s cubicle (not more than 4-squaremetre area) at the entry and exit points and a fire-control room (maximum 4×4 metres). FAR (floor area ratio) norms for high-rises have excluded from its purview common areas such as electrical substation or panel rooms, generators, pump rooms, AC plants, solid waste management facilities, fire control rooms, security or CCTV rooms. Out of the ambit of FAR are also refuge provided in high-rise buildings as per fire norms, building management or society room with a maximum size of 40 square metres, staircase/ staircase rooms, architectural features which are not usable for living or other purpose, chimneys, ventilation ducts and garbage shafts, ducts, parking areas, including driveways and ramps, public toilet blocks, swimming pools and toilets attached to swimming pools constructed in open yards or in any floor for common use by residents, overhead tanks, escalators, lift wells and lift machine room, and sewage-treatment plan.