Building Planning Principles

12 Principles Of Building Planning & Factors Affecting It

What Is Building Panning?

Building planning is the method of setting or arranging various components or units of a building in a systematic manner to form a meaningful and homogeneous structure to meet its functional purpose.

What Is Planning?

It is the process of thinking about and organizing the activities required to achieve the desired goal.

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Factors Affect Planning of Building

The following are factors affecting to planning of residential buildings,

1. Function of Building Planning

Building Planning depends on its functional use like Residential buildings, Educational buildings, Institutional buildings, Assembly buildings, Public buildings, Business buildings, Mercantile buildings, commercial buildings, industrial buildings, Storage buildings, Hazardous buildings, etc.

Shape and size of the plot on which building is to be proposed.

2. Topography

The topography of the site is also affecting factor for Planning of Building. Topography like Plain grounds, Sloping grounds, Undulating ground, Elevated site, Low lying area, etc.

3. Climatic Condition

Climatic parameters such as sun and humidity are the most controlling factors in the design of a building Planning.

4. Building Bye-laws

Every local Municipal body and Urban development authorities have their bye-laws and regulations regarding the planning of buildings like clear open spaces to left around the building, permissible height of the building, permissible construction area, etc.

The developer has to approve the proposed building plan with the Local Authority as per Building bye-laws. Gujarat has Comprehensive General Development Control Regulation for the entire state for regulation regarding the planning of the building. 

5. Orientation

In building planning orient means East. Orientation means the placement of building to face the East. The orientation of a building has a deep relationship with its surrounding environment.

Proper placement of various components of building concerning sun, wind, and rain which enables the inmates to enjoy the desirable feature of nature.

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Figure 1.   Some building planning has a long axis running east-west. Smaller surface areas facing east and west receive less sunlight in the early morning and late afternoon of summer months, while a larger surface facing south receives more sunlight at noon over the winter months.

In Building planning, orientation is a very important factor that is directly connected to the standards of thermal comfort and ventilation within the building.

It mostly depends on natural elements like sunlight and its intensity, the direction of the wind, seasons of the year, and temperature variations.

Orientation is generally done by considering the climatic factors of wind and solar radiation.

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Principles of Building Planning

1. Aspect

In building planning, the Aspect is the placement of various rooms in any buildings w.r.t. all four directions in such a way that the users of the building would enjoy the natural comforts like sunlight, fresh air, scenery, etc. to the maximum possible extent at different hours of the day.

A room that receives sunlight and air from any particular direction amongst all four directions is said to have the aspect of that direction.

All the components of Residential building, Educational building, Institutional building, Assembly building, Public building, Business building, Mercantile building, commercial building, industrial building, Storage building, Hazardous building need a particular aspect.

The aspect of different rooms of a residential building is as shown below:

Aspect of Building
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Type of RoomSuggested Aspect
Living/drawing roomSouth, South-East
BedroomSouth-West, North-West
Dining roomSouth, South-East
KitchenEast, North-East
VerandahWest, South-West
Study roomNorth

2. Prospect

Prospect is the outside view wished by the users of the building from certain rooms of that building. It is to enrich the outside view i.e., elevation or end-view created by prominently exposing the better constructed and better-looking portions and at the same time concealing from the view any undesirable ones.

Prospect is explained by surrounding condition aesthetic or bad of the selected site like a flower garden or garbage dumps.

It demands the disposition of doors and windows like aspect. However, a good plan should not be altered for the sake of good prospects only.

Prospect of Building
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Certain projecting windows or a blind face of the bay with window openings at sides would help for concealment of inside views of a building.

Every Home Elevation should have proper prospects so that it can give a feeling of cheerfulness to the people living in it.

It must also possess good quality like comfortless, convenient, happiness, security, labor-saving, and modern exterior.

Small architectural projections or bay window can have a good exterior as well as helps in providing natural ventilation and light.

3. Privacy

It is a vital part while building planning of all types in general and residential buildings in particular. Privacy may be from one part to another of the same building or it could be from neighboring buildings, streets, etc.

In residential buildings, every element should have some privacy which can be maintained by carefully planning entrance-foyer, passages, path-ways, and drives.

Proper grouping of rooms, good positioning of doors and windows, lobbies, or screens can give required internal privacy.

Privacy can be the privacy of sight as needed in bathrooms, water closets, and urinals, etc. or privacy of sound as needed in confidential discussions and the study room, or both privacy of sight and sound as required in a bedroom.

Privacy can be classified in two ways as:

  • External Privacy
External Privacy
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Privacy is of the whole building planning regarding the surrounding buildings or roads or some external point outside the subjected building.

External privacy from the sides can be maintained by providing planned entrance-foyer and pathways. This can be achieved by screening the front and rear entrance.

  • Internal Privacy

Internal privacy is privacy within the building. Privacy in internal rooms can be maintained by a proper grouping of various areas and elements, location of doors and windows, circulation space. 

The main door when opened, should give the minimum view of the internal room for an entering person.

4. Circulation

In building planning, Circulation is movement or access of the users within the building and it may be both horizontal and vertical circulation.

  • Horizontal circulation: Circulation between rooms on the same floor of the building like – passages, corridors, halls, etc.
Horizontal Circulation
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  • Vertical circulation: Circulation among various floors of the building like – Stairs, lifts.

The position of doors dictates the area of circulation which in turn controls privacy, comfort, and convenience.

Circulation inside the house should be independent, short, straight, systematic, and should not disturb the privacy of any room of the building.

All the passages and stairs should be well ventilated, lighted, properly planned regarding width, rise, and tread. Stairs should not have winder steps.

5. Roominess

The roominess factor is used to get maximum benefits from the minimum dimension of the room in the building planning.

The effect of roominess depends on the relative dimension of length, width, and height of the room. The size and shape of the room is also an important factor for roominess.

It is normally observed that rectangular rooms have more roominess factors compare to square rooms.

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By using every nook and corner of the building to the maximum advantage roominess is derived. In residential buildings, considerable storage space is required for various purposes which are provided by making space for wall cupboards, lofts, wooden shelves, etc.

In building planning, a square sized room has no benefits and a rectangular room of the same floor area gives a better outlook. A rectangular room is more useful than a square room in the same area.

The breadth and length ration of a good room should be from 1: 1.2 to 1:1.5. A ratio more than that creates a bad effect.

When the length exceeds 2 times its breadth, it creates a tunnel-like effect i.e., a feeling as when one is inside a long tunnel.

6. Grouping:

Grouping means setting different rooms of a building as per their inter-relationship of invitation and transition in the building planning.

Grouping is the method of planning or arranging two or more related rooms in the proximity of each other.

It minimizes the circulation and at the same time improves comfort. A dining room should be nearer to the kitchen area, while sanitary be far from kitchen and pooja room, but in proximity to bedrooms.

The rooms are arranged in the layout in a proper correlation of their functions and due proximity with each other. Grouping varies according to the type of building.

All public buildings should be designed taking into consideration the movement of persons from one unit to another without causing disturbance to the other units.

7. Elegance

Elegance is the appearance of a building attained mainly owing to the elevation which in turn depends on the plan. Site selection of project also affects elegance.

Buildings located on backward sloping upwards ground always give good elegance. Without elegance, even a best-planned building may not have beauty whilst a poorly planned building, if given a slight consideration on the front portion may produce good elegance.

It depends upon the proper selection of doors, windows, balcony, roofs, staircase, and selecting good building material like a polished stone- granite, marble. 

8. Sanitation

It is the provision of various components of the building like light, ventilation, cleanliness, water supply, and sanitary facilities, etc. Sanitation not only relates to urinals, bath-rooms, wash-basins but also the overall lighting, ventilation, and cleanliness in building.

 For residential building window area should not less than 1/10th of the floor area and In school not less than 1/5th of the floor area.

All the components of a building should be well in sanitation facilities to maintain a good hygienic atmosphere. This sanitation facility could be done naturally or artificially.

9. Flexibility

Flexibility means that a room that is planned and designed for a function or a specific purpose be used for another purpose, if so required.

Like drawing room or study room being used as a bedroom for guests, kitchen as an additional dining room, etc.

Flexibility is a major considerable principal in designing houses for a middle-class family and where the economy is the main concern.

Flexible planning is a very important factor in the planning of public and commercial buildings. Like any building is designed for a school, it can be used for a bank and other purposes when it is required.

10. Economy

The economy is a major factor while planning any building. The building plan should offer a minimum floor area with maximum utility.

It will reduce the cost of construction of buildings and hence it will become economic.

The economy can be achieved by providing the following measures without reducing the utility and quality of the building.

  • By designing simple elevation.
  • By Reducing the height of the floor.
  • Dispensing of porches, lobbies, and balconies.
  • Reducing the number of steps of stairs by giving more riser height.
  • Standardization of sizes of various components and materials of the building.

11. Furniture Requirement

Furniture is a pioneer requirement of any room. For example Living room, drawing room, kitchen, a classroom, office room, laboratory, hospital room, etc. all have their furniture requirements.

In building planning, A room should have enough space to accommodate all the furniture required for the maximum number of persons without overcrowding. The area of the room is not related only to furniture sizes, but also to their arrangement.

12. Practical Consideration

After a discussion of all fundamental principles of building planning, some practical points should be additionally considered while desiginng and building planning.

  • Provision for future extensions without dismantling any part of a building should be taken into consideration while planning.
  • While building planning any building strength, stability, convenience, and comforts of end-users should be taken in the first consideration. 
  • As far as the possible sizes of the rooms should be kept enough large. It can be shortened by providing movable partition but the smaller room cannot be enlarged easily.
  • The nos. of windows & Doors should be limited from the safety and strength point of view.
  • Use prefabricated elements for the lintel, chajjas, steps, etc. This measure is useful in effecting the economy.


What are the principles of building planning?

The principles of building planning refer to the fundamental guidelines and considerations that architects and planners follow when designing buildings. These principles include functionality, aesthetics, safety, sustainability, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.

What is the role of functionality in building planning?

Functionality is a key principle in building planning as it focuses on creating spaces that serve their intended purpose effectively. It involves optimizing the layout, circulation, and organization of spaces to ensure usability and convenience for the occupants.

How does cost-effectiveness impact building planning?

Cost-effectiveness is a significant consideration in building planning as it influences the design decisions, material selection, and construction methods. Balancing functionality, aesthetics, and quality within the allocated budget ensures an economically viable project.

Why is sustainability important in building planning?

Sustainability is vital in building planning to minimize the environmental impact, conserve resources, and promote long-term durability. It involves using energy-efficient systems, incorporating renewable materials, and considering the life-cycle analysis of the building.

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12 Principles Of Building Planning & Factors Affecting It

Hello, I am Hardik Chanchad.

I have a Bachelor Degree in Civil Engineering and a Masters Degree in Urban Planning. I am currently working as an Urban Planner in Surat. I love to share my civil engineering knowledge with you.

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