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The Israeli planning system is based on the Taba, which is the tochnit binui arim. It’s the town planning which defines the building rights for each and every plot of land. So unlike other areas of the world where the planning system is governed by volume and height, the Israeli system is defined by meters. So the town plan, the Taba sets out how many square meters of built area can be done on any given plot of land and these areas are defined by shetach eikari and shetach sherut. Shetach eikari is primary space such as living, dining areas, primary use areas. Shetach sherut is secondary areas, primarily storage, covered parking etc. The town plan also defines how many floors the building can be and often it will assign the number of meters below ground, above ground, and define zero level for the house?? With all these defined parameters in place , the architects role is to carefully plan the project in order to maximize the space and utilize the meters in the most efficient way in order to achieve the plan that the client so desires.
Besides the meters and the number of floors, there are also what is called kavei banyan/ building lines. These are general offsets which will also be predefined. Often its either 3, 4 ,or 5 meters away from the street or from neighboring properties. The town plan also sets zero levels for the properties and this is something that can very much impact on the design of the unit. Sometimes the zero level is set 3 meters above the road, creating what is called in Hebrew a migrash oleh, upper lot. At other times the zero level can be set 3 meters below street level which in turn creates a migrash yored, a lot which would involve going down potentially 18 stairs or up 18 stairs. One thing that LinksArchitects provides is a pre-purchase consultation where by we assist the client in assessing the restrictions and potential of any given site, understanding how many built meters are available, how those meters are spread out, what the maximum heights are for the property, whether it’s a property you have to go up to or down to, and also what the maximum height is for the property because the maximum height would affect the potential floor to ceiling height in the given property. The taba is something which could in theory be changed and as part of LinksArchitecs services, we do get involved in changing taba which ultimately can enable increasing zoning rights for a property. This could be a much more lengthy process.