//I don't get this. CoA was helping MCD empanel architects for this odd job end of last year. Now IIA is sorting out modalities. Meanwhile MCD commissioner was lately reported clarifying that taxpayers don't necessarily have to use architects' measuring services. What I don't get is why, of all the things begging professional attention in Delhi, this is the one that has grabbed attention of both CoA and IIA.

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: [in-enaction] Property TAX & the role of the architect
From: "Northern Chapter IIA" <[email protected]>
Date: Thu, May 13, 2004 11:09 pm
To: [email protected]

Dear Fellow architects

As most of you would be aware that the Unit Area Method for assessment of
Property Tax in the National Capital Territory of Delhi has been
implemented and the responsibility to certify the covered area has been
given to the architect.

As in any new system, anomalies do exist and need to be sorted out to
ensure that the system works properly and efficiently. Based on the feed
back from our members we have written to the Commissioner MCD to remove
these anomalies as well as resolve issues relating to the scope of
services of the architect, the fee recoverable, use of Simputer etc..

Please find below excerpts from the letter to the Commissioner MCD.

1. The role of the architect should be restricted to
certification of area along with an outline sketch of the premises
inspected & measured.

The core competence of the architect in reference to the
above system is to measure and compute the covered area of a building. The
architect has no means or authority to check ownership titles, use of a
particular building, age factor etc. Though it is mentioned that the UAM
is based on self assessment system, under various other sections it
appears that the architect is to calculate tax etc & submit the details
to MCD via ICICI Bank etc.

For any architect to certify the area of any building,
making a drawing would be most essential as only from this an area
statement can be made. We request you to please issue instructions that a
measured drawing must accompany the certificate which must be signed by
the owner as well as the architect, binding both to the authenticity as
well as correctness of the information at a particular date thus avoiding
any ambiguity or controversy which at times could lead to litigation.

2. The fee payable to the architect should be work
dependent and irrespective of the Tax.

It has been observed from your letter sent to various
architects that the fee payable is to be based on the Tax assessed. When
an architect renders his professional service, be it in a Category A
colony or a Category G colony, he does so with the same amount of effort
and diligence. The extent of work has direct relationship with area
measured and not with the tax computed. The fee according should not
vary. We propose that the fee should be based upon a per sq.m rate. Our
recommendation is Rs. 25/- per sqm subject to a minimum of Rs. 2500/- per
case he handles. Any case would involve at least two visits by an
architect / his representative, making a drawing and calculating the
covered area, issuing drawings and certificates and therefore the fee
suggested by us is amply justified.

3. Use of Simputer and a security deposit of Rs. 30,000/-

In today's day and age almost every architect already has
a computer and internet connection. The data can be fed via a website or
on an electronic Performa which the architect can submit to the agency
maintaining the Property database clearly eliminating the unnecessary
burden of procuring a handheld device. It is also not understood why the
architect is required to pay to a private agency to maintain a database
for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi ?

4. List of Architects includes non-architects

The list of architects issued by the MCD includes besides
qualified architects, diploma holders and engineers. The institute has no
objection to the MCD permitting other professionals too under take the
work but they cannot be termed Architects ( the Title Architect is
protected by the Architects Act 1972).

5. Anomalies in covered area calculation as explained in
the Guidelines as issued by MCD.

Having a dual policy in counting covered area i.e., one
for the Building department and the other for the property Tax
department will cause a lot of confusion, e.g. balconies / canopy at Roof
level etc. are exempt from Covered area calculations as per the building
bye-laws, while they are to be accounted for as per the guidelines issued
by Property tax department.

More specifically in your guide, Section BB Fig 3a, Fig 3c
and Fig 3d on page 45 show any area that is accessible is to be counted
in covered area even if it is not covered by a roof. Whereas in Fig 5g
page 47, clearly says that any Verandah if uncovered is not to be counted
in the Covered area.

It has also been observed that there is a discrepancy
between the property tax guide and the Master Plan of Delhi, which permits
for limited professional activities in residential buildings, however in
the document it has been noted that all such activity is termed as
commercial, which we feel is not consistent with the Master Plan of Delhi.

Ar. Abhijit Ray
Chairman, Northern Chapter
The Indian Institute of Architects

All architects should consider the above points before taking up
assignments of covered area certification.

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