An Investigation of non-compliance with Building Regulations in Heritage Areas; A Case Study in Galle Fort-Sri Lanka
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has identified and listed some of the sites as World Heritage Areas based on the special cultural and physical significance of each. Responsible governments have introduced certain special regulations to maintain and improve the quality of the said sites, aiming to preserve the natural setting. Galle Fort in Sri Lanka is one such sites listed by UNESCO and to protect the heritage value, historical value and the archeological value of the site, several special regulations introduced by the Urban Development Authority (UDA) of Sri Lanka through the gazette No. 1604/29 on 05th June, 2009.. Currently, the authorities are facing difficulties ensuring to the said provisions by the occupiers. The research intends to identify the level of compliance to regulations introduced by the Urban Development Authority. To identify the violations of the regulations, observation was conducted in 83 buildings inside the said area from a systematic random sample. Face to face interviews through a self-structured questionnaire was used to collect data on the reasons for the noncompliance to the regulations from a random sample of 44 property owners. Thirdly a focus group discussion was conducted with invited seven numbers of professionals from Galle Heritage Foundation, UDA Galle, Galle Municipal council, Archeological Department and with the Grama Niladhari. Descriptive analysis
shows that 11 numbers of regulations have been violated by at least one occupier ranging from 4% to 30% while the majority violated the regulation on mar characters on roof (Characters which disturbing to the appearance on the roof). Minor violations are identified in the regulation of constructing ponds and swimming pools. Several reasons were identified on the noncompliance with the regulations by the occupiers. First, majority are reluctant to adhere to the regulations as they believe that the regulations are acting as a barrier to their promotions to attract tourists. Second, some members have poor awareness on the importance of the regulations. The focus group discussion pointed out to similar results which showed that there is a lack of awareness of people about the guidelines, the slow process of taking actions to regularize the shortcomings and the political influence to implement some of the regulations as the main reasons. Accordingly, it can be concluded that unawareness of the guidelines and the attitudes of the occupiers are the most influencial factors on the shortcoming of adherence to the regulations. It is recommended to hold several awareness programmes to change the individual’s minds to understand the value of the regulations.
Key words - Heritage Areas, Building Regulations, Noncompliance, Perceptions