We commonly use the term high rise and skyscrapers as an alternative to each other. However, the cut-off point for high-rise buildings is around seven floors, while the term skyscraper is used to describe high-rise buildings of extraordinary height, mostly greater than 40 stories and above. High rise is defined in terms of linear height rather than floors. A building is classified as high-rise by fire and building codes of the country, state or city, where it is located.
With more and more people moving to metros in search of livelihood and better employment prospects, urban planners are also preparing to accommodate maximum number of families in limited space. This has resulted in construction of large number of high rise buildings across all major cities. Similar to other developed countries, India's developing economy is also driving a new found demand amid modern masses to live at higher floors. High rises help in accommodating more people within limited resources of land. With growing real estate demand and availability of global expertise, skyscrapers are seen as the most appropriate answer to any city having scarcity of space.
Apart from the exclusivity attached to high-rise structures, another advantage of these is that they consume a small portion of land, leaving aside the rest to have open spaces. In addition, high-rise offer its inhabitants a noise free environment along with cleaner air and scenic views. Also, when building high-rise structures, developers can save on the cost of land and the benefit can be passed on to the consumers in the form of lower prices. High-rise buildings are, therefore, a win-win situation for both developers and buyers. Availability of good amenities and facilities such as shopping complexes, restaurants and clubs, etc., in the same premises, is an added advantage. With increasing crime rate in metro cities, high rises offer controlled access and ensure optimum safety of residents.
Living in low-rise houses versus high-rise houses
The average construction cost per square foot, for a high-rise building, is 20-25 per cent higher than a low-rise building. Also, low rise developments offer faster delivery as compared to high rise developments. Building low-rises helps to cut costs as a number of services can be done away with. Fire norms are easier to follow, separate parking space does not need to be created within the structure, and even the basement and elevators can be skipped in these structures.
High-rise development has its own share of shortcomings too. They are cold in winters and hot in summers as compared to regular buildings. Since these structures require more use of artificial devices for heating or cooling, the associated energy costs are also more. Exterior cleaning and maintenance of a high-rise building can be very costly and dangerous.
Safety in high-rise buildings
Living safely is an important concern among homebuyers and developers take extra caution as they are bound to strict construction rules and regulations. Builders must follow norms for setbacks, elevators, in house fire house safety equipment, service ducts, electricity supply, exit routes, a published fire safety plan and more.
With the growing demand and lack of land spaces, we have no other alternative but to expand vertically and hence the industry should gear up to provide better safety standards, better amenities, developing green buildings to reduce costs, and thus establish the high-rises as a more sustainable way of living.
About the author
Arvind Kapoor has 16 years of sales and marketing experience, of which 6 years have been dedicated to real estate transactions. He advises companies, investors and individual end users for their residential requirements in the international and domestic markets.