12 Basic Principles of Building Planning

12 Basic Principles of Building Planning

Whether it is “general housing” or “Industrial housing” or any other type of housing, certain general principle of planning should carefully be considered and checked before finalization of the plan. In this article we are going to discuss 12 basics principle of building planning:

12 Basic Principles of Building Planning
12 Basic Principles of Building Planning
  1. Aspect
  2. Prospect
  3. Groping
  4. Furniture Required
  5. Roominess
  6. Circulation
  7. Flexibility
  8. Privacy
  9. Economy
  10. Elegance
  11. Sanitation
  12. Practical Consideration

1. Aspect

Aspect means the peculiarity of the arrangement of doors and windows in the outer walls of a building, particularly of residential buildings, which allow the occupants to experience the natural gifts such as sunshine, breeze, scenery etc.

12 Basics Principles of Building Planning - Aspect

The aspect creates a pleasant and hygienic atmosphere in the building. It is necessary that air movement should occur in building at the level of occupancies and use.

As per rule, every habitable room shall have opening directly to the external air or into an open verandah, excluding doors inclusive of frames shall not be less than:

( a ) One-tenth of the floor area for dry hot climate ;
( b ) One-sixth of the floor area for wet hot climate ;
( c ) One-eighth of the floor area for intermediate climate ;
( d ) One-twelfth of the floor area for cold climate, and cross ventilation by means of windows shall be effected either by means of windows in opposite walls or if this is not possible or advisable, then at least in the adjoining walls.

Below we have given some ideas for different rooms and their aspect

i. The living room should have southern or south-east aspect.

ii. All the bedrooms should have either the west or south-west aspect, This is because the air required in summer would blow from this direction.

iii. The kitchen should have an eastern aspect so as to allow the sun to refresh and purifies the air in the kitchen with its first ray. The kitchen would remain cool during the later part of the day.

iv. The storerooms should have a northern aspect as there will be no sun from the north side.

v. The study rooms, classrooms, etc., should have north aspect as light received from both will be diffused and evenly distributed.

Read More: Orientation of Buildings

2. Prospects

Prospect is the views as seen while looking through the windows and doors from a certain room of the house.


Everyone expects that the scene around their house will be beautiful and pleasant to look at. However, it is not always possible that the views of every side from the house will be beautiful and pleasant.

Thus, the doors and windows should be located in such a way that occupants can enjoy the outside views while looking through those doors and windows, and toward unpleasant views, the opening should not be provided.


But doing so the quality of aspect may hamper. In such circumstances experienced planner may minimize the conflict between aspect and prospect i.e., opening in external walls shall be provided for a cheerful atmosphere in the room but pleasant views remain concealed.

3. Grouping

Grouping is the arrangement of various rooms with reference to their function. The relationships of the spaces should be such that there is a feeling of invitation and transition, rather than a feeling of abrupt change. For the residential building, planning should be grouped as (a) Living area; (b) Sleeping area; (c) Service area; and (d) Circulation area.

(a) Living Area

The living area is the area for general use and should be next to the front Varanda and near the entrance.

Drawing room or guest room should not provide direct Passage to the bedrooms but should be adjacent to the dining room. At the same time kitchen should be kept away from the living room to avoided smoke and smells.

The living room should be sufficiently ventilated and spacious in order to accommodate furniture. It should get an attractive view of the surrounding and garden etc.

In extreme cases, the living room may be located at the centre and accesses or approaches to various units and apartments may radiate from it.

(b) Sleeping Area

This is the area of bedrooms and should be located so as to guard privacy. The site should be sufficient to accommodate beds, dressing table, etc. Attached toilet to the bedroom should be preferred.

c) Service Area

This includes the area of kitchen, dining rooms, bath rooms and toilet

The dining room should be close to the kitchen. This will make it much easier to carry food.

Kitchen room should be avoided near living room, bed room, and study room to avoided smoke and smells.

d) Circulation Area

This is an area for passage, lobby, corridor, etc., It should be minimum but well ventilated and lighted.

e) Other Area

Other areas such as study room, Puja room, etc., may be located near the living room or bedroom.

4. Furniture Required

Furniture silently tells us what this room is made for because the requirements of furniture for different rooms are also different.

12 Basics Principles of Building Planning - Furniture Required
Furniture Required

During planning the location of furniture and other utility articles should be so arranged in the respective rooms as to give maximum area for movements, convenience for operating door and window shutters and a comfortable breeze to bed.

It is better to create a sketch plan showing furniture positions so that it can be made sure that doors, windows, and circulation space do not preclude the placing of a sufficient number of pieces. In such plans, positions of beds, heavy furniture pieces such as sofa, big furniture, chest of drawers, etc. should be shown.

For the public building like school, theatres furniture requirement plan is essential to determine the strength of accommodation.

Read More: Timber Flooring

5. Roominess

Roominess is the accomplished of economy of space. Planning should be such that maximum benefit can be obtained from the minimum required for the functions expected to be available from the space.

For utility, a rectangular room is better than a square room of the same floor area. Accordingly, the length and breadth ratio should be 1.2: 1 to 1.5: 1. If the ratio is one and half (1: 0.5) then again a bad effect is created. A room having its length twice the width is objectionable as it creates a look like a tunnel.

Skill is essentially required for making use of available accommodation by proper arrangement of the rooms, by locating the doors, windows and passages in such a way that the utility, livability, privacy are not adversely affected.

6. Circulation

For movement and access to various rooms, a certain amount of free space is needed, which is known as circulation or free space area. This includes passages, corridors, porches, halls, lobbies, staircases, etc.,

The circulation should be so designed that this will preserve the privacy of every room and also not disturb any house holder.

7. Flexibility

The term flexibility means provision in the original plan for its future extension or change in inside planning of room, bathroom, w.c. etc., by changing the position i.e., flexibility can be availed of. Future extend or development in public building like school, hospital, hostels, etc., becomes necessary stage by stage. So, the present planning for such cases should be flexible to provide the future demand.

8. Privacy

Privacy is the most important part in case of building planning. It has a very significant role, particularly for residential buildings. Unless an optimum privacy is secured, all the principles of planning of a building are bound to fail.

12 Basic Principles of Building Planning: Privacy

The privacy of a building is two types

i. External privacy

External privacy of the whole building with reference to the surrounding buildings and road can be guarded by placing window sills, that can cut the vision of outsiders to the bed in the bedroom. A businessman would like to have for his office necessary privacy and at the same time, he would like to have his concern easily spotted.

ii. Internal Privacy

In modern planning, it is often seen that a big central hall is provided to serves as drawing-cum-dining room. Bedrooms, kitchens, water-closet and bathrooms are arranged along two long sides of the drawing-cum-dining room. Such planning of rooms often can’t satisfy the factor of privacy. Proper positioning of rooms, lobbies, or screens can grant necessary internal privacy.

9. Economy

The economy is a vital factor in building planning. While planning, following points should be carefully considered

(a) The shape of a square building is most economical, since it provides the maximum amount of floor area, with the least amount of wall area.

(b) Cost for bigger rooms are lesser. For the same floor area, a number of smaller rooms will incur more cost than a bigger room.

(c) Minimum offsets should be provided to satisfy architectural and other practical considerations, because the cost of constructions for corner walls is comparatively more than straight walls.

(d) The economy in construction can also be affected by using as many common walls as possible by arranging two rooms side by side.

(e) Detached building costs more in comparison to that of a semi-detached one.

(f) Planning on a modular basis:- Dimensions of all rooms, door, and window openings, wall between to openings etc. should be multiples of available brick sizes.

(g) Sizes of rooms:- Considering the positions doors, windows and furniture, a greater economy can be achieved by reducing the sizes of rooms without affecting the crowding.

(h) Free space area:- To lower the cost of a building such common paces should be reduced to the minimum.

(i) Reducing structural cost:- The foundation and other construction should not be designed to be unnecessarily strong by assuming a large volume of loads and low value for the working stresses.

(j) Economy in using building material:- As much as possible local materials should be used in the construction.

10. Elegance

In simple words, elegance means the external appearance of a building produced by elevation. It depends upon the several factors like; the proportion of width and height, the position of doors and windows and also the choice of materials. During the planning of a building architectural design and composition should be visualized to create an elegant structure.

11. Sanitation

Sanitation term embodies not only sanitary convenience such as w.c., urinals, bathroom, sinks but also lighting and ventilation of the building as a whole. Sanitation means the environment of the house and includes;

a) Lighting
b) Ventilation
c) Cleanliness
d) Plumbing services

The Health and happiness of the dwellers depend upon the sanitation of the house and such this consideration plays an important role in building planning.

Lighting and ventilation may be done by naturally or artificially. Good ventilation is an important factor conductive to comfort in buildings. Ventilation is the change of air in the room. Air conditioning is nothing but forced or induced ventilation under controlled humidity and temperature conditions.


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