Architects at leading real estate firms in the city have rushed back to the drawing board to redesign apartments to meet the demands of aspiring buyers in a world that is now defined by the coronavirus pandemic. There is now a growing demand for flats with larger windows and balconies, separate studies and even a wall recess just after the entrance to hold a basin where anyone entering can first wash their hands.
“The major change brought by the pandemic to the indus-try is de-densification. Space usage per person has increased significantly affecting the space-efficiency strategies implemented in pre-Covid times. Based on the current circumstances, these changes appear short-term but may get extended to medium-term if there is delay in getting the vaccine,” said interantional realty consultant JLL’s Kolkata managing director Surekha Biyani.
Belani group MD and chairman of the Bengal chapter of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Assocaition of India (Credai), Nandu Belani, said there is already an increased demand for flats with bigger living area, better ventilation and larger balcony.
“For two months, homes turned into the world. Families realised the need for bigg-er, spacious and well-ventilated apartments so that they don’t feel claustrophobic,” said Belani.
Sensing this, Merlin group chairman Sushil Mohta, also the chief of the apex body of Credai in the state, has already asked architects to redesign projects that are yet to be launched with bigger windows and larger balconies to ensure proper sunlight and ventilation. “Those working from home have realised it is financially not possible to keep the AC running throughout the day,” he said.
A recent study of 500 prospective home buyers in Kolkata and Hyderabad by real estate consultancy firm NK Realtors showed customers are also keen on larger bedrooms and a wash area after the entrance.
“Till now, architects would have baulked at the idea of a wash area next to the entrance. But things have changed now with people more aware of hygiene and want everyone entering an apartment to first wash their hands,” NK Realtors vice-president Biplab Kumar said.
Architect Partha Ranjan Das though feel differently. A wash basin at the entrance, he says, will be a plumbing challenge. “It is much easier to make a provision for hand sanitizer,” he pointed out.
Most developers are also trying to make provisions for a study. Jain group MD Rishi Jain says a study room will become a standard feature in apartments that cost in excess of Rs 45 lakh, “There will now be 2.5 bedroom or 3.5 bedroom apartments with two or three bedrooms and a study,” he explained.
Others though feel that even smaller apartments can have a private corner where children can attend school and elders can work from home. “We are even looking at a small business centre in the complex club where a resident can meet an outsider on office work,” reasoned Siddha group MD Sanjay Jain.
Mohta feels many customers will now prefer bigger units for the extra space and large families living in comparatively smaller units will want to either upgrade to a bigger unit or split into nuclear families and move into separate units.
Bihani feels Covid-19 may leave behind some some long-term changes like increase in hygiene and sanitation in properties by reduction of touch points and using technology in building management systems.
Anshuman Magazine, chairman & CEO (India, South East Asia, Middle East and Africa) of international consultant CBRE feels the need to reduce touchpoints will lead to many technological advancements beyond the home in common areas of apartment blocks.
“Adoption of touchless technology is expected to be a focus area. For instance, corporates in China have deployed technologies such as holographic projection elevator controls; temperature scans; mask scans; infrared thermal scanners at entry and exit points; UV sterilization devices in elevators and escalator handrails; and facial recognition access control to limit human interface,” he added.
Source:Times of India