Condominium development in Sri Lanka | Daily News


 

Condominium development in Sri Lanka

Presentation of the research document on Condominium development to Minister Sajith Premadasa. From Left: Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs Minister Sajith Premadasa, Chairman of the Condominium Management Authority C. A. Wijeyeweere, Senior Lecturer in Architecture and Architectural Science, Moratuwa University Dr. Upendra Rajapaksha.
Presentation of the research document on Condominium development to Minister Sajith Premadasa. From Left: Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs Minister Sajith Premadasa, Chairman of the Condominium Management Authority C. A. Wijeyeweere, Senior Lect

The University of Moratuwa and the Condominium Management Authority have collaborated on developing “sustainable condominium development” strategies for the country. Thisreport discusses outcomes of theresearch study on condominium development in the country in terms of planning and building design. The study was conducted by a team of academics, led by Dr. Upendra Rajapaksha, Head of the Department of Architecture, University of Moratuwa, under the direction of C. A. Wijeyeweere, Chairman of the Condominium Management Authority. The research project is funded by the Senate Research Council of the University of Moratuwa.

Thirty nine recommendations are given for development of sustainable condominiums that can provide a high quality of living. The recommendations suggested in the report are expected to help authorities to reform relevant acts, regulations and policies for sustainable condominium development in the country.

As urban migration increases, the Sri Lankan housing market is acknowledging the challenge with a new building typology, the high-rise residential building. In Sri Lankan context, high-rise residential developments are at highest of their popularity in Colombo and suburbs, and have recently expanded to Galle, Kandy and Nuwara-Eliya.

Recognising the energetic expansion in the high-rise trend, the Condominium Management Authority (CMA) and the Department of Architecture, University of Moratuwa has embarked on a joint research venture to investigate the integration of high-rise living into sustainable development of the country.

The study mainly focused on seven areas of sustainable planning and building design listed below at the city, neighbourhood, building and unit scale.

* Sustainable land use

* Sustainable densities

* Outdoor open space and greenery

* Sustainable transport

* Adequate space

* Natural light and ventilation

* Views

The study finds that current planning and building regulations and the development plans are in need of an urgent reform in order for high-rise condominiums to become a positive impact on sustainability of Colombo city and its suburbs.

Large condominium developments in general, respond to some aspects of sustainability than small condominium developments. There is a clear distinction between the quality of planning and design between condominiums in small and large sites. In the study most of the high-rise condominiums in sites more than 2000m2, fared comparatively better in terms of sustainability. In addition, most large condominiums managed to have somewhat of an expression of architectural, cultural and climatic response.

Current practice of condominium development is motivated by maximizing built area. It is logical that developers build to maximize profits. The planning and building regulations of a city should balance the development with the interests of the general public in terms of green space, health, aesthetics of the development, impact on road networks, etc. In Sri Lanka the planning and building regulations particularly in terms of its FAR, plot coverage and setback regulations have not been able to protect the environmental interests of the city. They encourage maximizing the built area of the site for profit motive without social or environmental considerations. Especially, theFAR currently applicable in Colombo city for condominiums has many flaws. The plot coverage does not encourage an architectural design for the building, as it allows the filling of the entirely of the site in one monolithic construction.

Excessive flexibility of regulations. The non-conformity of planning and building regulations in the study can only be justified by stating that the current regulations have many interpretations. The current front space building regulation has had no effect as many high-rise buildings, residential and commercial, built abutting all road classes are built up to the road. Therefore, regulations should be given only one interpretation, with exact numbers whenever possible.

- C. A. W


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