Bangalore – The Garden City! Also a city with plenty of lakes! These previously pristine water bodies, highly sought after by real estate developers, have more recently been embroiled in controversy and legal hassles, and have consequently lost some of their shine. Although still desirable, investors are more cautious about investing in them and rightfully so.
Pollution, flooding and illegal encroachment are the major issues that have plagued lake-front developments in recent years. In the last few years, local citizen groups have taken an active role in cleaning up polluted lakes and the BBMP authorities have finally stepped in and demolished several properties that were guilty of encroachment and flaunting of environmental regulations. In 2016, after flooding caused damage to lake-front properties, the BBMP issued public circulars warning citizens to check whether their properties were located at the required distance from the lake and the storm drains according to National Green Tribunal (NGT) norms. The NGT mandates a 75 meter buffer area around the lake boundary and 50 m, 35 m and 20 m buffer zones from primary, secondary and tertiary storm drains respectively. No construction is allowed within the buffer zones and the lake bed.
Design and Safe Bearing Capacity of the Soil (SBC), are of vital importance in lake front construction. Ideally developers must test the soil to ensure it can bear the weight of construction. Often, on-site soil strength must be enhanced by compacting it with soil that has a higher bearing capacity (through compaction of multiple layers), or steel when needed. Building design must ensure that weight is equally spread over the entire site to avoid future issues. Ethical building practices are of vital importance in this instance.
Here’s a list of Pros and Cons that can help you decide if a lake-front property is for you.
- Scenic views are what these properties are most famous for. However not every apartment/villa may have a view! Orientation and altitude matter.
- Ground water levels are healthier around water bodies, so bore wells are more productive.
- Pollution is a very real problem and many of Bangalore’s lakes are now green, stinky swamps that are a health and environmental hazard. Unless these are cleaned up and maintained, living next to them can be frustrating.
- Lake front properties usually have a high mosquito population.
- Flooding can be a real problem, especially during a heavy Monsoon. Illegal encroachments make flooding worse. Flooding can cause building damage which is expensive to repair and can affect resale value in the long-term.
In addition to information regarding structural integrity of lakeside properties, investors must also check that the developer has acquired all essential permissions and that the construction is proceeding under legal and regulatory sanction, keeping in mind that any undetected illegalities by the developers during construction can lead to serious legal hassles for future owners.