Friday, June 30, 2017

Green Buildings; Whose Baby Is It?

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed.” ...Mahatma Gandhi.

These words were the first which came to my  mind when I sat to prepare a presentation for a seminar about Green Building’s Costing & Finance, jointly organized by PCMC & GRIHA, a rating system for green buildings developed by TERI i.e. The Energy & Research Institute. As, had we the human beings, would have kept our needs in control there wouldn’t have been need arise for urging green buildings. This seminar was way different than hundreds of which I have attended on the subject of green buildings as first time the financial aspect was the focus & not just green ways. Especially on the background of demonetization, RERA & now GST, already real estate is in its worst phase of sales, making costing as key factor. Already appreciation is gone from real estate as well all other costs related to building are sky rocketing & on top of that there is burden of expectations to reduce the home prices is there. This all makes green buildings take a step back as indeed there is added costs involved to implement these aspects in construction but frankly (I wanted to say unfortunately) everybody wants green buildings but no agency is ready to pay for it or absorb the added costs is a bitter fact. Will cover that aspect later but before that let’s have a look at various aspects of green buildings & its impact on the construction cost. Keeping this mind for first time this seminar’s special invitees were from finance field; Tata Housing Finance Limited MD as well very senior officers from National Housing Bank & AFD France an Institute which finance Govt of India for smart city mission, were few names present at the seminar.

On large the Eco housing or Green buildings can be categorized on seven fronts, so if we study each front in depth then a lot can be achieved. Actually this each front has multiple factors & they varies from geographic to financial fronts depending on project size, use of the structure so what we have to do is analyze every project on this scale to make it Eco friendly. So let’s see head wise, what’s scene in real estate…

     1. Energy or Power
     2. Water
     3. Garbage
     4. Greening or Biodiversity
     5. Materials
     6. Social Awareness
     7. Public Infrastructure

1. Energy or Power: Here power means electric energy. This is probably the most important aspect of present times as power is costly & it needs natural resources like coal & gas, as most of power in our country is by thermal energy! We can make homes which will use maximum natural light as well natural source for energy conservation like solar / wind.  Use of solar for water heating is a must & should be backed up by gas instead giving electric backup. Rooms should be planned in a way to have maximum sunlight & minimum artificial light. Number of points should be restricted. Here is strong need of policy revamps by electricity board, like electricity should be provided on reduced tariff for the home which will utilize maximum natural resource for their needs. Wind energy is yet costly affair & not viable mainly due to storage issue. Though a lot can be saved in fittings by use of LED lights but then as developer we can give just common area lighting. Also the planning plays a vital aspect so as to accommodate maximum natural light as well ventilation, reducing operating costs by les consumption of electrical energy. But then such planning needs every room having outer surface making the construction more costly as that means less common walls. Considering all such aspects the Impact on Construction Cost is Approximate Rs.20-50per Sq.ft. of salable area. All areas I am considering salable as that’s the language a builder understands best!

2. Water: This may be even important aspect than the Energy in coming years, rather this will be deciding factor for the real estate. Water must be supplied via meter only & think of changing on use than supply like we do for electric energy. Rain water harvesting & any water recycling equipment like water pumps or sewage as well water treatment plants should be subsidized by PCMC as well MSEDCL tariff. Also the users must get good reward for using the same in property tax. Tariff of electricity should be less & PCMC also should try for it. Using separate storage tanks for domestic & non domestic use as well provision for such plumbing arrangement is a must. The entire cost of recycling is the vital factor as up to what level we want to use the recycled water decides its installation as well operating cost. Impact on Construction Cost is approximate Rs.25-100 per Sq.ft.
3. Garbage: This is another future problematic front. Treatment at source should be promoted. Allow use of amenity spaces for vermiculture or garbage digesters as well for water & sewage treatment plants. Promote numbers of developers in one locality to come together & run garbage treatment plants. Local bodies should stop collecting wet garbage or charge high property tax for such projects. Impact on Construction Cost is approximate Rs. 10-25 per Sq.ft.

4. Greening / Biodiversity: This is very important yet extremely neglected aspect & needs special attention. We need to conserve the balance of not only trees but grass, creepers, native trees, birds, insects, reptiles as they all make this city which was once very rich in biodiversity. And for that we need to create thousands of biodiversity pockets. We need to change the policies a lot for this like in EC not to consider parking in built-up area as people will plan less covered parking’s i.e. multi-storied parking’s & encroach the spaces for trees. Even if we may force the developer but the residents won’t allow the trees to grow considering them as obstacle.
We need to give space of every other specie to survive & for those norms like coverage, height, side margins needs to be reworked & fast as each day a building coming up with our age old norms is an encroachment on greens! Relate property tax with the trees survived in the complex. Our rivers & natural streams/nallahs can be best source for this, which unfortunately are in very bad shape right now.  Right from planting new tree policy to allowing cutting the tree in essential cases, needs to be streamlined. Or else we are making people enemy of trees is a fact! Here we use a simple system, we make our every flat holder to plant a tree in the project they have booked flat as well put their name board alongside the tree, This gives them bonding as well ownership feeling with the tree & the family sees that their tree survives! Impact on Construction Cost is approximate Rs. 10-15 per Sq.ft.

5. Materials: On this front the scene is literally there is no R & D when its new green materials or innovations are concerned, neither efforts like any discount by PCMC on LBT for eco friendly material. And do mind we can’t afford trial error runs for a multi storied building keeping in mind safety aspect when its use of new material. PCMC should think of coming up with research center along with CREDAI for alternate materials options. Right from taps with controlled water flow to low energy consuming fittings to fly ask bricks, in every step we need to promote eco friendly materials. But at the same time they should be available in ample as well in proper time & at affordable rate. Impact on Construction Cost is approximate Rs. 50-100 per Sq.ft.

6. Social Awareness: Remember eco housing isn’t just a building or project but it’s a life style & PCMC along with Credai should join hands on every platform for this. What you do outside of your project like saving particular endangered species of a frog in Western Ghats should be equally considered as importance while we built our project in Pune. As somewhere a forest is alive so we can breathe here comfortably, this concept has to be digested by ourselves first & then carried to every citizen of this city! Also what we do for the poor segments of the society is to be taken in consideration along with making the entire society aware about nature conservation. Making school children aware by running Nature clubs in institutes is on great effort, which can be jointly by PCMC & Credai. The developers can think of giving common Laundromats reducing use of washing machines individually. At Sanjeevani we are planning to give a bicycle with every flat to promote use of cycles; such many initiatives can be worked out.  Here PCMC Commissioner put forward a very important aspect that we need not just green buildings but make them social too ie allowing people to come together by providing enough open spaces for such gatherings. Here let’s understand the energy in the form of people is also a natural source & we must conserve it by utilizing fullest & that should be focus of planning of green buildings. Impact on Construction Cost is approximate Rs. 50-100 per Sq.ft.

So if we combine all the above aspects then we can say the impact on construction coast can range from Rs 200 to Rs 500 per Sq.ft. depending upon means you use as well the end result you want to achieve! Here one more aspect I need to put forward & that is …
7. Public Infrastructure
We have limitations on individual level when its infrastructure outside of our project. PCMC should tie up with individual or group of developers for such issues which will reduce burden on natural resource. Like starting a PMT bus route for a particular destination with the support of bunch of developers in that area so more & more people will use public transport. Or letting group of developers develop their amenity space for shopping complex, so as there will be minimum need for traveling for the residents. Or giving one point water supply in a locality & allow the group of developers developing water network in their area & discounting the same from their premiums, a lot many things can be done.
Same is applicable for issue like public lavatories’, as the city which can’t provide clean & good public toilets to its citizens which are a very basic need, how we are going to promote such city to the world! Many things can be taken jointly & for that the developer should get rewarded.

Lastly what is most important is speed of the change once we acknowledge & accept the change! This I meant in terms of policies. Age old norms should be removed & new ones if accepted should be implemented. Right from fire norms for residential buildings to giving a common toilet on top common terrace, so many things we all understand & accept that are necessary but don’t make them a reality! EC norms & certification, which can be done on PCMC level itself but unless PCMC takes lead & ask Govt, it won’t be done.

As a project getting delayed by one year means all the revenue of PCMC itself getting delayed by one year! Same is with MHADA policy; accommodating those small homes in same building is directly making the planning difficult, which isn’t in tune with green buildings! Just making stringent norms won’t solve the problem; but give rewards & fast to the right guy & punish the wrong one, will only make the change! To conclude I want to ask…”With all such seminars happening around, still why not many Green Buildings happening around?” Just because we are repeatedly failing on following aspects…

1)       Promoting Green Building promotion policies!

2)       Promoting Green Rating Systems like Griha.

3)       Passing on subsidies to end user like developers as well residents quickly and effectively; remember a subsidy delayed is subsidy denied!

4)       Making end user aware about his/her responsibility towards Green Buildings as it’s a life style we are referring to & not just a onetime structure!

Now coming to the bitter fact I mentioned i.e. no agency is ready to bear the cost of green buildings. For e.g. Govt sanctioning authorities which we call local bodies like PMC or PCMC keeps on increasing their premiums on various fronts for plan sanction. They do offer subsidy to green buildings but its peanuts in compare to the costs incurred in making green buildings. Think of green fsi & see that it’s in proportion of the added costs, remember no developer is in business for charity so unless we have a carrot we won’t get bunnies attracted to the same. Agreed many will say isn’t green buildings is a responsibility of developers, well it is but not only that of developers but every bodies! Because on the same lines then why common people are not ready to pay some more extra rupees for green building is the question I will ask, are they not responsible for green buildings? Rather common man don’t demand green buildings & that’s why developers doesn’t build them is the fact. Same way I appeal to all the financial bosses to finance certified green buildings at lesser interest rates & flexible installments, both to developers as well to the flat holders. This can be big help as well carrot for entire real estate segment to promote green buildings.

Lastly I will request GRIHA team to make the assessment simpler, flexible as well faster as we want green buildings & that science is ever evolving as well depends on local conditions. At the same time maximum credit must be given for the developer’s efforts to make his clients as well common man aware about the importance of green buildings & our responsibility towards the same as there only lays the future of the green buildings & eventually future of entire mankind!
Sanjay Deshpande 

Sanjeevani Dev.

Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !
 (Click the links below)

Social Side of Sanjeevani ! (Click link below)

For any of your complaints about city, log in at link below  

Monday, June 26, 2017

Are We Awaiting Pune's Grenfell Tower?

“Fire & Gun powder do not sleep together”… Chinese Proverb.

Indeed words of wisdom has always flowed from the land of Zen & no wonder above simple logic which tells us a great deal about planning our buildings makes me respect Chinese philosophy a bit more! Before I explain the importance of this quote let me share something which I came across on Face book by great modern world’s architect James Law. This is about an incidence which shocked country like England, one of the most developed that too in Europe; it’s about Grenfell Tower fire which engulfed entire twenty five storied building in just few hours. The death toll has already reached to thirty odd numbers & eared to touch hundred as many people are still missing. Agreed it’s not first fire in the world’s big cities & we have seen worst yet it was one of the most damage making in history of England & nearly hundred people dying in Europe’s city is like thousand people dying in our country, now you can make out its scale! What is special about this fire is the lesson it gave the so called civilized world that with all modern days safety norms & systems yet it there can be such tragedy! On this background I came across a post on FB by famous architect James Law from Hongkong, which made me share my thoughts on the subject. Below is what James Law wrote about the Grenfell Tower fire, let’s go through it & then we can have a look at what’s scene in our cities here…

What is Wrong with Architecture?
Over the past few days, I was shocked by the news of the Grenfell Tower fire in London where 17 people have died and over 70 persons are still missing as of the time of this posting.
It cannot be without effect to myself as an Architect to reflect on this tragedy and to critique the state of Architecture today in which such a towering inferno could happen but otherwise have been avoided.
I ask myself how could we be living in a time when we have the engineering to fly, the technology to go to space, the science of fire safety, and the wisdom of common sense that we can still allow for death traps such as Grenfell Tower to even exist.
As a citizen I can lay the blame on society and perhaps the governance structures that have allowed such buildings. However as an architect, I have to blame myself and my profession for allowing for such an immoral paradigm of architecture.
Architecture has become obsessed with all that is unhealthy and immoral in the modern world. It has become a system focused on wealth and asset value. It is an instrument to extract financial gain in the urbanized condition, and architecture fundamentally has become a tool beyond the inhabitant.
Architecture has also become polarized and distracted, with its obsessions for beautification, aesthetics and branding over taking its fundamental obligations for safety, health and core values of community to protect and nurture its citizens.
Architecture was once a bright light for society, a beacon of values upon which society could build upon to create peace and stability. Architecture once represented from the creative output of man the optimism that we could build a better world for all.
But all this is gone. It's gone because the managers of Grenfell Tower did not have these fundamental values, and so made decisions in the design, upgrade and management of a building that ultimately became a death trap to so many innocent citizens.
What Grenfell Tower reminds me is that as architects, we have a moral responsibility to primarily safeguard the safety, health and well being of the public above all other considerations of aesthetics, sustainability, and commercial value.
What Grenfell Tower also reminds me is that until Architecture once again hold to higher ideals and core values of humanity, our architecture will become the fundamentally dangerous blocks of our urbanscape, and would have forgone our ultimate opportunity to build a better fabric of mankind.
It's time to wake up…. James Law.

What a sensitive mind this guy has, maybe that’s what makes you special from others in any profession & on this background except one day news on news papers no personality from the field of real estate or related to it has taken any cognizance in our country of this mishap. Well, I am not surprised, as in the country where more than three hundred people die every day in road accidents who cares for some seventy odd people dying in a fire in some country thousands of kilometers away from us! Here in this very State of Maharashtra our Mantralay itself caught fire & was burning for whole day killing few people but damaging entire working of this State for months & the repairs went for years & yet if someone visits the place the fire safety aspect is same or worst than what it was earlier! Now about the Grenfell towers, its neighbors as well survivors of the fire are claiming that they have been writing to authorities about the fire possibilities & lacuna in the fire safety systems but it went to deaf ears. I am not familiar with the fire safety system which manages these aspects in England but I know what deaf ears of system are! And why just deaf ears, we do witness everyday deaf ears along with blind eyes, numb brains, and crippled hands of the body named system. Here when I say system I meant not just so called Govt but everybody associated with the real estate. And I am deliberately saying real estate as if there is safety issue about an airplane then we blame aviation industry & same is about railway or shipping. Even if some industry meets with operational accident like Bhopal Gas leak by Union Carbide then we blame the chemical industry so if we are referring to building fires & safety aspect then every person associated with real in whatsoever capacity is responsible to the tragedy. And that’s why I called the system not just deaf or blind but dead as we have become veteran (read namchin in Marathi) criminals on the front of safety when it comes to the buildings! If somebody is hurt by my allegation then ask yourself just to have a look at some major real estate tragedies taking lives of many or ruining families’ entire future in one moment. If, why “if”,  I am sure most of us have forgotten a building which got fall down like house of cards in Ambegaon, Pune some three years back, killing a youth who was trying to save his new car & twenty families become homeless in few minutes! With all hohallah committees were formed by authorities, announcements were made to find our every illegal building & take action, safety audits will be done of every such building is also declared by the so called system; media highlighted news as well photographs of surveys being done by officers, associations of developers & architects. Safety code of conduct at construction sites were wrote as well various affidavits from structural designers, licensed engineers were made mandatory for plan sanctions & what happened after that? Nobody till today knows how many illegal buildings are there in & around Pune; rather still illegal buildings are being built. There are certificates as well affidavits by engineers & structural designers but each has taken care to save his skin while doing so as concern is not building’s safety but their own safety if mishap occurs! And then there are flood related tragedies causing landslides, site accidents, slab collapse & what not. Yes fire tragedy is yet to occur claiming some two digit & more lives but I am sure that day isn’t far away with this dead system!

Like every NOC there is a farce of fire NOC (no objection certificate from fire dept about building is safe on fire threat front) in real estate, as the norms are age old & not keeping practicality with today’s planning as well needs. With illogical minds some cut paste rules have been formed & everybody accepts it, as one there is no point in applying logic with Govt & second everybody knows once the building is complete nobody is going to care what is happening at site regarding fire safety! For e.g. two stair cases & making it air tight; visit any building & see the way these staircases are planned, these airtight staircases will become smoke chambers actually as they are not maintained & doors are having gaps in most building. What I feel a staircase outside of building line & open from all sides will be best actually but that’s not allowed. Then the biggest joke is fire engine side margins i.e. distances of building line from the boundary walls, these are keeping in mind Snorkel i.e. fire rescue system but to my knowledge its break down since long; thanks god till now no need has arrived yet for the same. Then there is fire rescue area mandatory to be kept as 25% of floor area above eighth floor height; here also when every flat has a terrace why one needs as in the kind of our residential buildings with main construction material is concrete, bricks i.e. makes it impossible for fire to spread from one flat to other, there no need for such. As we don’t have central air conditioning or airtight passages & lobbies with false ceilings. And then why on rescue zone on just eighth floor, what about mid floor rescue how it’s going to serve the purpose for entire building? Fir pumps at ground floor with capacity of head rising till tenth floor is also one more joke as how it can help when the fire is inside. So many things have to be revamped & make the fire NOC really effective is need of time.

The most important & equally neglected aspect is post occupancy maintenance of fire safety arrangements made by the developer. There is no fire safety audit mandatory & I don’t know one residential complex where it’s being done. You can visit any building even high rise, two or three years down its occupancy & you will find it in grave situation of fire safety front. Fire pumps are not being maintained, water sprinklers haven’t been tested since its fixing. The fire hydrant hose pipes & Valves are not in place as well in non-functioning mode. And why just common areas but even inside the flats where fire danger is most because of heavy wooden interiors most people don’t even have a fire extinguisher in their flats! The entire internal concealed wiring which is main reason of fires due to short circuit is hardly checked periodically by skilled wireman.  The scene in commercial buildings especially IT parks which are most susceptible to fires isn’t different, though a shade better than residential buildings. Mock fire drills are never conducted so that the occupants will be aware how to behave in case of fires. Actually a lesson to learn from the Grenfell Tower fire is the basic building material which made the entire building caught fire like a match stick! The so called glazed buildings we have in the name of modern look IT parks are actually death boxes in case of fire, making all the smoke gets clogged inside the building & in addition to it all this gazing & cladding works ends up generating more heat & making rescue operations impossible. Even the developers doesn’t take this aspect seriously as along with giving air conditioners & fancy gadgets in flats nobody thinks of giving fire extinguishers, this shows lack of our vision on safety from fire! This is where James Law’s concerns needs to be seriously taken by entire architect as well engineering fraternity as while planning & executing our planning only we can take care of fire factor at its best! All this shows the negligent attitude of us as a society, regarding our own safety from fire. But then what else can be expected by the people who need a law or get fined for not wearing helmet while driving when their own head is at stake!

Now speaking about rescue operation, our firemen are at par with our soldiers at frontiers & salute to their courage, looking at the way they have to work with age old equipments our fire brigade has! Recently there was lots of publicity in media about first Fire Brigade Museum being opened in Pune. This museum displays the history of Pune fire brigade as well various equipment used to fight fire, pictures, models & panels. Agreed its great way to make common citizens aware about the tough job fire brigade has to do. Though the firemen from Pune’s fire brigade jokes that their existing equipments itself are in historic condition & needs to be kept in the very museum only! And they are not wrong as recently I read a news about fire suits which the firemen needs to wear while extinguishing fire have become old. The news also mentioned that fire department after repeatedly demanding for all these equipments, is still awaiting the fire suits as well helmets & authorities has no time to look in for demands of fire brigade! Well well, when we will fulfill fire brigade’s such very basic demands; after few firemen lost their lives along with some Grenfell tower in the city gets burnt out? And if this is attitude of our dead system towards the fire brigade itself then, who the hell cares about citizens & the buildings they reside in!

With the rampant growth happening in & around this smart city we can’t afford to neglect safety aspect that of the residents in all these building. On this background sensitiveness towards building planning & execution by architects like James Law stands out as growth doesn’t mean just building tall buildings & occupying them to fullest capacity. Growth is giving the citizens safe life style also & this can happen when everybody associated with the growth becomes sensitive & act responsibly for the same! I will conclude with my condolences towards the victims of Grenfell Tower & with the words, “No more Grenfell Tower!”

Sanjay Deshpande 

Sanjeevani Dev.

Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !
 (Click the links below)

Social Side of Sanjeevani ! (Click link below)

For any of your complaints about city, log in at link below

Think Green, Think Life

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Conveyance, a Unique Get-Together!

“Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on”… Robert Kennedy.

Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy was an American politician from Massachusetts. He served as the United States junior senator from New York from January 1965 until his assassination in June 1968. Met as same fate like his elder brother Joan Kennedy, Robert was known for his liberal philosophy which is reflected in his above quote! Sad the so called law enforcement system in which he believed couldn’t save his life from assassination! On this background I recollect another quote from Ex. FBI Supremo, J. Edger Hoover, “No law enforcement can prevent the problems arrived from   family”! Now, one will ask suddenly what’s all this about law enforcement;  for such souls, last few days probably three months the real estate is buzzing with only one word RERA i.e. Real Estate Regulatory Act & the RERA Authority which will be controlling this regulatory things! In combination this is the “law & enforcement” for the so called law-less or regulation-less real estate industry! Many, especially my real estate collogues wont like the term law-less for real estate but that’s the way govt, common man & media thinks for the real estate is a fact or else for no other such specific industry oriented Law/Act has been formed centrally in last seventy odd years nor has been pushed through all the States by the “Sarkar” in Delhi. This once again shows how serious & cautious central govt is for bringing “Achhe Din” for owning a home to common man! Whether that’s going to happen coming times only will tell us soon, though real estate has welcomed it (who can afford to not welcome it?) but with caution. Outcome is the day RERA has been implemented i.e. 1st May 17 from that very day all the advertisements or launching of the projects has dried up & so are special editions for covering real estate of major news papers! Month of May is supposed to be the real estate exhibitions period as school holidays are on but this May not a single exhibition has been organized as all were certain that there won’t be any participants. For registration with RERA, time limit has been given of three months i.e. 31st July is dead line & in entire 1st month & one third of June has gone but hardly twenty five odd projects have been registered under RERA all over Maharashtra! That shows cautious approach of real estate towards the RERA.

This sharing is not about RERA as first enough is being discussed all around about it on every forum as well media & I haven’t yet studied it & second reason is I am not afraid of RERA! Agreed we are supposed to respect the laws & not be afraid of them but in our country that’s not the case; unless people are not afraid of the law (read outcome of breaking the law) they doesn’t respect the law is bitter truth & who better than we the Punekar’s knows it. Right from jumping the signal where policeman isn’t there to throwing garbage in river to parking our vehicle under “No Parking” sign or may it be freely entering in “No Entry”, these are just few of the examples of our respect for the law when enforcement isn’t there! As we know nothing will happen & we can get away with breaking the law & when such is attitude of common man in the society, then how come real estate guys will be keeping away from this epidemic type disease of not respecting the law, is a question I will ask! Well let’s keep RERA away as that’s not the topic of our sharing but something else; it’s about story of a conveyance deed! For all those who don’t know conveyance deed let me share in best possible words by entering in flat agreement with the builder you don’t become owner of the flat! That is just a sale agreement but to convey the entire project on the name of the society or apartment condominium is what makes you true owner of your flat along with your share in the land on which the said building is built! Hussshha, I hope tried to put in words which you & I will understand as legal definition of conveyance might be in words totally alien for me at least! By now, thanks to social media & real estate bloggers, people have started to understand importance of conveyance deed & do urge their respective builders for the same which for strange reason is always a matter of dispute! Reasons may be many for e.g. the builder might be developing his project is phases & if part conveyance is done then obviously the society also become land lord needing their signs of every plans revision or many such documents. And in every society there always are few members who may take disadvantage of this authority they got via conveyance. In many case there is some lacunas in title or some bank loan issue or obtaining occupation certificate from the local body like PMC which refrains the builder for executing the conveyance. In many cases there have been some disagreements between the developer & the residents about non fulfillment of commitments which becomes matter of dispute in signing the conveyance & the list goes on!

On this background we recently completed one of our projects in Baner named Sadafulee & this was built in three phases. Like many other cases we have our commitments as well expectations from the flat holders. As the project was in phases we very clearly by taking occupants of first two phases in confidence told we will execute conveyance after completion of third phase which we did receive in committed time. There were certain disputes about clauses as well few pending works (which we have disagreements about). There was war of tongues & at certain points even Police was involved from both the sides, a first of this kind experience for me in my twenty seven years real estate working! Up to here all was going just like thousands of pending conveyance matters happening around; but then both sides realized the futileness of this attitude! And one fine day we i.e. myself along with my project partners & Chairman, Secretary of the said society sat across & decided that if any law agency can resolve the disputes then it lies amongst our own self  only! From that moment we were friends again; we shortlisted the points of conflicts & one by one discussed them with a clear mindset that we have to sort them & sort them now! The target was clear that both sides want conveyance, so if society wants some xxx amount against maintenance of the unsold flats then let’s pay it. At the same time few works which society felt are incomplete then we clearly put it these can be done & those can’t & won’t be done, that’s it! Both parties took one step back & two steps forwards & in next week we signed the conveyance & registered it with smiles!

The story doesn’t ends here rather it starts here & that’s the real fun; as after registration of conveyance execution Ravindra Patange, the secretary of said society called me & said they will be arranging a dinner in which we can hand over them the conveyance documents. This gave me one idea which I am sure no developer or society has ever done as why not to arrange a get together of all flat holders along with land lords & consultants & our staff & in that get together we will hand over the document to the society? And I said we will do all the needful arrangements at our cost as I felt that’s our responsibility (I won’t hide but not to forget few unsold units there, this marketing thought too was there a bit). On phone only we fixed a date, time & venue & arranged a dinner & next day email invite was sent to all flat holders as well on whatsap. Going a step ahead & as per the social culture of our company we invited Dr. Anuradha Shashtrabudhhe, who runs an NGO named Dnyandevi under which she operates a child care help line for kids from every segment of the society, as guest of honor. She not only accepted our invite but spellbound the audience by sharing her experiences while dealing with present issues of child psychology & urged the audience to give more & quality time to their kids, whatever age group they may be in! We handed over the conveyance deed to the Chairman, Secretary at the hands of Dr. Anuradha after heartfelt sharing’ from the Sadafulee residents about their experiences while dealing with us as well their feelings about their home. Residents were so excited that many have come from outstations specially for the event & one flat holder said when he told his friends that his builder has organized a get together for handing over of conveyance deed then they didn’t believed & he has to show them our invite for the event on whats-ap! In addition to conveyance deed we handed over a pen drive to the society loaded with every document related to the project i.e. right from scanned sanction plans to NA order to Completion certificate to Lift noc & all such. Icing on the cake was the society members have called local PMC elected member Mr. Amol Balwadkar also & we felicitated him in the get together. He said he has never witnessed such cordial relations between flat holders & the builder as every time he has been called by some society then it’s to solve the dispute with builder or to attend complaints about pending works by their builder!

In my sharing to the audience I said, “with due respect for RERA this get together is tight slap on the acts like RERA as what more transparency can be shared between the builder as well flat holders where both come on one platform & conveyance deed is executed with smiles on all faces!” The RERA has been bought in with all hohallah for making builders more transparent like they are some criminals. Agreed there have been many instances of real estate clients being cheated by the builders but then what about thousands of people buying flats in the hundreds of illegal constructions without demanding or verifying any of the necessary documents, just because rates of such flats are lower than the legal ones! Any business gets the reputation whatever it has, not by the turnover or profit it makes but by the kind of relations & trust it develops among the concerned parties. The real estate for years has been painted as bad child of the Industry, but let’s not forget it’s because of the people in real estate only & they are or were on both sides of the table! Transparency in the business works effectively only when its respected by the other side of the table & this is why Sadafulee conveyance deed get together is very very special, because we have been transparent as a builder & that’s been respected by our flat holders & the outcome is we don’t need RERA to make our customers happy & at peace! I repeat the kind of information which has been asked by RERA is not a problem neither the audits & commitments nor the punishment it threatens with, as its not by making some Acts or Laws but by the attitude of the buyer & seller towards the deal & trust they develop in each other is what decides fate of the industry! No act or law can stop ill elements as even when death penalty is there still murders’ happens around is a fact! In real estate also we are not afraid of RERA but what we want is a system which will allow the business to flourish & grow & no business can flourish by just protecting one side of the business, high time to remind our govt this bitter fact!

One more thing, RERA or MOFA is not the challenge for real estate but the changing mindset as well understanding exact demands of real estate clients is the main challenge which  real estate industry has to face & high time for the developers to acknowledge this fact. The Sadafulee get together is one sure way to get connected with your clients & strengthen the bond as well carving your image in their minds. Because if you can make your customers happy, then the market sentiments may change but the love & affection which your customers have for your company won’t ever change; what more a builder could ask for than this outcome! I am thankful to Sadafulee residents for teaching me this big lesson of marketing, practically free of cost; a rare thing in today’s world where everything comes at some cost!

Sanjay Deshpande 

Sanjeevani Dev.

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