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.
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.