I am a builder and I am not a terrorist.

‘Building India’, ‘Building a better life’, ‘Yours for life’, ‘Passion at work’ … these positive, forward looking, vibrant brand promises lured me to become a builder. I believed and lived each one of them even when they were copyrighted by their respective brand owners.

Little did I know that I would instead be given names. Vocabulary many deem fit enough to embellish every alphabet in the dictionary. From Builders to Cheats, to Defaulters, to Extortionists, to Frauds, to Gangsters. And I could go onto Z, which would stand for ZeroAccountability.

I know not all builders are innocent. I understand that people in the business of real estate development ought not to take their customers for granted. And if they do, they should be made to pay.

Is this a case of over criminalisation on account of activism fortified by social media? Within moments of a bad experience, people hop onto social media and spread the news. Everyone wants a piece of it. And we are talking about a builder, so here we are – the presumption has to be against him. Eliminate any mens rea requirement. He has committed a ‘public welfare offence’.

Believe me, the idea is not to play the victim here – to the circumstances, some would say – created by me – the builder.

I know not all builders are innocent. I understand that people in the business of real estate development ought not to take their customers for granted. And if they do, they should be made to pay.

But why would we want that to happen? I know it is going to be hard, but still I would want you to try and take a step back and understand a builder.

We are businessmen too. We create products … well, in our case develop projects. And our projects have a development lifecycle of 5 to 10 years. What looks on the outside as a lucrative business with margins running into multiples and not percentages, is actually not so. No promoter walks in to the business with a model to someday disrupt customer experience. Terrorising buyers is not going to help a builder generate business. Not now. Not ever. We all look forward to raising a family of investors, associates and happy customers.

Then where does the gap lie?

In the understanding of who we are. We are into business. We are also here to make money. We are here to make landscapes that people should love to reside & work in. But, the regulatory environment around acquisition of land and approvals, lack of funding options, unsteady cashflows, unpredictable market escalations, third-party promises to end users and very very limited control of the promoter on these over the product lifecycle can sometimes lead to projects getting a shaky timeline / output.

This needs to change. I would like to commence that change right now. Why should I continue to be the prisoner of the past!

What do you think builders need to do to shed these unpleasant tags.Lets get your opinions on board. Lets start making this change today. Strict liabilities under RERA would deter builders from committing the crime of taking customer for granted. It is a regulatory tool to protect you – the public against developing threats to social welfare in housing sector.

At the stroke of the midnight hour India has ushered into a new era of Economic triumph. I would choose to make this a moment of change for the builder – buyer community as well. Lets decipher the code to an absolutely memorable Customer Experience together.

After all, the best apology is a changed behaviour.

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