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Construction 101 – Decoding The Carpet Area

A jigsaw puzzle which both developers and buyers alike are unable to decipher, Carpet Area is an unsolved nemesis that no one seems to get around with.

By Definition:

  • Carpet Area is the area enclosed within the walls; it is the actual area to you would lay a carpet end to end. This area does not include the thickness of the inner walls. In other words, it can also be described as the actual used area of an apartment.
  • Built up Area is the carpet area plus the thickness of outer walls and the balcony.
  • Super Built Up Area is the built-up area plus proportionate area of common areas such as the lobby, lifts shaft, stairs, etc. The plinth along with a share of all common areas proportionately divided amongst all unit owners makes up the super Built-up area. Sometimes it may also include the common areas such, swimming pool, garden, clubhouse, etc. This term is therefore only applicable in the case of multi-dwelling units.

There is no fixed ratio of super built-up to built-up or carpet area. The prevailing market practice is that the ratios are in the super built-up area and are marked down. That means if the super Built-up area is 1,000 sq. ft. and the carpet area is 800 sq. ft., then the latter is 80% of the built-up area. Generally, the ratios in the market are 70:30 (super built-up to carpet). But unscrupulous builders have been known to go as low as 60 percent. So a quote on a 3,000 sq. ft. apartment could mean a carpet area of anywhere from 1,800 sq. ft. to 2,400 sq. ft. In order to safeguard your interest while purchasing an apartment, always ask the seller exactly how much the super built-up area and the carpet area amount to. Also, ensure that this break-up appears in the Agreement of sale.

In Bangalore, Many property buyers do not ask developers for a break-up of the saleable area of their property that includes the carpet area, the built-up area (carpet area plus the thickness of the walls) and the super built-up area (built-up area plus common areas).

It’s relatively easy to measure your carpet area, which is the total usable area within the walls of your flat. What rankles many property buyers is the fact that developers charge them on the basis of super built-up area, which also includes common spaces like the staircase, lobby, lifts, building maintenance room, etc. Basement is not added to the common area and is typically sold separately as parking slots. The conundrum in calculating super built-up area put buyers in a fix.

In Bangalore, developers load 14% to 25% on the built-up area as common area. Many realtors in Mumbai load 40% for the same. For individual buyers, there is often no way to determine whether the payment for the common area is reasonable. “There are no standardized means of measuring the value of the common spaces component, and the justifiable extra cost it implies to the end user. There is no mechanism to determine how much cost the developer has incurred for these spaces in terms of construction materials and manpower.”

Buyers should ask for the architect’s certificate that gives a split of the saleable area. “This helps you calculate your super built-up area. If the difference between the built-up area and super built-up area is 30% or more, buyers can definitely question the developer. The norm is 15%”.Large common areas may reduce the efficiency of your carpet area.

Some developers compromise on the carpet area to provide large lobbies or staircases. A well-defined plan will make provisions for maximum efficiency. Charging on the basis of carpet area can bring greater transparency. In fact, a few years ago, a certain developer sought to do that in a project in Marathahalli. But it also meant that he had to charge a higher rate per sq. ft. compared to neighbouring ones that charged on a super built-up basis. The developer eventually had to withdraw the carpet area offer because buyers tended to only compare the prices. No developer is therefore likely to take the risk. So either real estate associations or the government needs to step in to mandate a change in the current pricing norm. If your carpet area is 1,000 sq. ft., developers load 10-12% as the plinth (wall) area, taking the built-up area to 1,120 sq. ft. They add another 14% to 25% as a common area, which takes the total to between 1,277 sq. ft. and 1,400 sq. ft. which is the super built-up area and which is what you pay for as per current norms.

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