Understanding Floor area Ratio (FAR)

By Tarkoon Suwansukhum, Architect, Technical Director

Floor area ratio means the ratio between the total building area and land plot area.

City planning laws were enforcement as the Town and City Planning Act since year 1975 (2518BE). Bangkok area had implemented City Planning law under Ministerial regulation Act no 116 . The  first law came year 1992. The laws  are revised and revamped every 5 years.

First and second laws controlled the use of land while FAR still was not controlled.  However, there was Hi-rise building laws implemented in year 1992 which controlled the maximum FAR at 10:1 across country!!

The current City Planning of Bangkok Update no 2 (year 2006) added  floor area ratio requirements (Floor Area Ratio or FAR) and open space ratio (OSR).

A condition that the total floor area ratio could be increased (FAR Bonus) if  one provides more open space for public use or provide more car parking within range of a specified mass transit station.

Ratio of FAR in the city of Bangkok and the ratio goes from 0.5:1 to a maximum 10:1.

The current draft City Planning of Bangkok Update no 3 expected to be implemented within year 2013  provides an  FAR bonus to projects which accommodate the following;

  1. The use of land for low income residential developments.
  2. The use of land that provide open space for public use or public park. Total of floor area ratio could be increase up to 20% maximum but should not exceed 5 times the open space or park provided.
  3. The use of land for public building within 500 metres range from a specified mass transit station that provide extra car parking. Total of floor area could be increase up to 20% maximum and not exceed 30 sq.m. per extra car.
  4. The use of land that provide water retention area not less that 1 cu.m. Per 50 sq.m. Total floor area could be increased up to 5% but should not exceed 10% if capacity more than 1 cu.m.
  5. The use of land that received certificate of energy  sustainability from Thai Green Building Institute (TREES). Total floor area could be increased up to 5% for certified level, 10% for silver level, 15% for gold level and 20% for platinum level.

Based on draft City Planning of Bangkok update no 3 there are many ways to increase FAR ratio. Good developments that provide more of above 5 items could get an FAR bonus.

We seem to talk only of boosting more and more  FAR ratio, increasing the city density, congestions, pollution and low quality living environment, but

How about the utilities and infrastructure? Who will increase all of this?

Who is looking into the capacity of our water supply, waste water, electrical supply, roads capacity and traffic planning?

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