Our next stage..
Advertising – While I have touched upon this subject in my earlier blogs, what I am writing about today is the importance of good copy writing in terms of Headlines, Grammar, accuracy of information mixed with a judicious usage of the imagination of the creator. Do not promise more than you are going to deliver. This applies to not just advertisements but any verbal or written assurance that is given to anyone we deal with, even if it goes against our policy. If anyone dealing with us can show a genuine written confirmation of something my team or I have written I have always tried my best to adhere to it. A commitment is a commitment. Period. The Real Estate sector, is one among many sectors, who have stretched the truth to its limits and beyond, in advertising its products. It is a proven fact that eventually, more than advertisements, it is the ‘ Word of mouth’ assurances that clinch more deals in our sector. Therefore, the need to be honest.
Property Titles – When one talks of quality here, the idea is that, as Property Developers, it is our duty to ensure that the property title is researched from all applicable angles. Now, I have never ever come across a property which has a 100% perfect title. This is because the title includes both ownership and land usage and various approvals from different authorities. It also includes the approved plan. Now, as i mentioned earlier, very few properties are bought by property owners with the intention of having it developed as a residential or commercial project. Hence, there may be gaps. Most of these gaps are surmountable through various legal case laws. If there are any other gaps, these are left for the developer to make a business decision. As a rule I have never developed / bought a property if my Legal Counsel doesn’t give me the nod of approval. Remember, any anomaly in the title is always a Damocles sword hanging over you. Thank fully, in all our years of development, we have yet to face any insurmountable problem and none of our properties has faced any litigation post us handing over. Even if it takes time, get the Property Title in order before you move ahead.
Approvals – Now, you may wonder why this and the earlier two subjects are part of a larger heading of Quality. Well, the fact remains that any quality product must fare well in all these matters. On our part, we have never tangled with Approvals. No adjustments. Our property Nusa Dua was being developed in Whitefield in 2005-6. The area was still under the City Municipal Council (CMC). I could have easily got an approval from there. I refused. I got the approval from the Bangalore Development Authority. That means I have the highest form of approval – one that no housing finance company or any authority can question. We do NOT violate. However, since misc. costs to get approvals are high, we have used a loophole in the Bruhut Bangalore Mahanagara Palike ( BBMP) rules which allows you to apply but not get the Commencement Certificate at the due time. You can pay the necessary fine at the time of applying for the Occupation Certificate (OC). This saves you the misc fees that you have pay while obtaining the commencement certificate. I hope you have figured out what I mean by misc. fee 🙂 It is important to know that, in Bangalore, as per a survey carried out pre RERA, only 1% of all High Rise buildings had an OC.
Site Infrastructure – A professional developer will have a well designed Site office comprising of engineering and sales/ Marketing offices. In today’s scenario, almost every person visits the site and most often closes the purchase transaction at site. Hence, it is important that copies of plans – both approved and detailed – are available along with title document copies, at site. Cameras to record all entries and exits and all areas of the site is a requirement. All those coming into the site HAVE TO wear protective gear. There can be NO exception. In VDB, from the start, this was implemented. Now, to implement some of these rules means a constant barrage of talking, shouting, fining and ejection from site. Unless this is constant and linked to the last two – fines and ejection – one often fails. Visitors often feel it is below them to wear helmets. I have to often remind them that even a small stone hurtling down from the terrace can have the effect of a dangerous projectile and kill or maim you. Thankfully, in 17 years we have had only one fatality and less than five injuries.
The area that is often neglected badly is the Workers Accommodation. In many sites these are worse than anything imaginable. We have had continuous fights with contractors to keep these areas clean. We have had only partial success but things have improved. The battle continues. The reason for this apathy is the attitude of the contractor. They see the worker as nothing more than a commodity and any expense as a loss in profit. I tried telling them that a clean labour site is a happy one and more labour will come. I even gave then space to play cricket and volley ball in my larger sites. Workers ( Migrants is the new name) have a better life nowadays but it is still not enough. If we have to reach international standards we need to improve their accommodation and facilities.
This is a dry subject and Blog. Apologies but these are very important subjects and part of the Quality Process in our sectors functioning.
( Folks – this is the start of a long series on Quality. If you have any comments or queries, please feel free to revert)