12 Principles of Building Planning

What Is Building Planning?

Building Planning is the arrangement of various components or units of a building in a systematic manner so as to form a meaningful and homogeneous structure to meet its functional purpose.

The arrangement of the various rooms in the building is known as Planning of Building. Building planning is a graphical representation of what a building will look like after construction. It is used by builders and contractors to construct buildings of all kinds.

Building planning is also useful when it is essential to estimate how much a project will cost and for preparing project budgets building planning is also useful. The basic objective of planning the building is to arrange all the units of the building on all floors at a given level according to their functional requirements. By doing this, one can make the best use of space available for building.

In building planning, privacy can be obtained by judicious planning of the building with respect to grouping, the position of doors and windows, mode of the hanging of doors, location of entrance and pathways, drives, etc. sometimes, provision of lobbies, corridors, screens, etc.

Read More: The Standard Room Size & Location In Residential Building

Factors Affecting Building Planning

The following are the factors affecting the planning of the building,

  1. The function of the building e.g. residential, industrial, public, commercial, etc.
  2. Shape and size of the plot
  3. Topography
  4. Climatic condition
  5. Building by-laws etc.

Principles of Building Planning

These principles are not as rigid as laws of nature, certain deviations from these principles are necessary and inadequacies in them are to be met with by an individual.

Basic principles of building planning

  1. Aspect
  2. Prospect
  3. Furniture Requirements
  4. Roominess
  5. Grouping
  6. Circulation
  7. Sanitation
  8. Elegance
  9. Privacy
  10. Flexibility
  11. Economy
  12. Practical Consideration

1. Aspect

Aspect is the positioning of rooms in buildings concerning 4 directions in such a way that the occupants of buildings would enjoy the natural comforts like sunshine, breeze, scenery, etc. to the maximum possible extent.

A room receiving light and air from any particular direction is said to have the aspect of that direction. All the rooms of a dwelling need a particular aspect. Some necessary aspects of commonly constructed rooms are listed below:

Aspect Diagram
Aspect Diagram
  1. Living Room: It should have a southern or southeast aspect. The sun is towards the south during winter and north during summer which will provide sunshine during winter and cooler during summertime.
  2. Bedroom: It should have a west or south-west aspect, as the breeze required particularly in summer would prevail from this side.
  3. Kitchen: It should have an eastern aspect so as to admit morning sun refreshes and purify the air.
  4. Gallery or Verandah: It should be north or north-east aspect.
  5. Classroom, Reading Room: It should be laid with the north aspect as light received from the north will be diffused and evenly distributed. 

2. Prospect

Aesthetic Appearance
Aesthetic Appearance

Prospect in building planning is the view desired by the occupants of the building from certain of the house. Prospect is dictated by surrounding peculiarities good or bad of the selected site like a flower garden or garbage dumps.

It demands the disposition of doors and windows-like aspects. However, a good layout should not be disturbed for the sake of good prospects only. Certain projecting windows or a blind face of the bay with window openings at the sides would help for the concealment of inside views of a building.

Read More: Principles of Building Planning

3. Furniture Requirements

Furniture is a functional requirement of a room. A living room, drawing room, kitchen, classroom, office room, laboratory, hospital room, etc. all have their own furniture requirements.

Furniture Requirements
Furniture Requirements

 A room should have enough space to accommodate all the furniture required for the maximum number of people without overcrowding.

4. Roominess

Roominess is obtained by getting the maximum benefit from the minimum dimension of a room without cramping the plan. By using every nook and corner of the building advantage of 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.

A rectangular room is more useful than a square room in the same area. The length and breadth ratio of a good room should be between 1.2 to 1.5. A ratio of more than that creates a bad effect. A small room should not be made unnecessarily too high.

Read More: What Are Building Planning | Factors Affecting Planning of Building

5. Grouping

Grouping in building planning means setting different rooms of a building according to their inter-relationship of invitation and transition. The rooms are arranged in the layout in a proper correlation of their functions and in due proximity to each other.

Grouping In Residential Building Plan

  • The dining room should be close to the kitchen.
  • The kitchen should be kept away from the main living room.
  • Main bedrooms should have independent and separate access from each room towards the sanitary units.
  • In an office buildings, hospitals, etc. the administrative department should be located centrally for convenience and economy of services.

6. Circulation

Access or internal connection between rooms on the same floor or between floors is known as circulation. Circulation between rooms on the same floor is called horizontal circulation like- passages, corridors, halls, etc. Circulation between various floors is known as vertical circulation, like- stairs, lifts, etc.


Horizontal Circulation should be independent, short, and straight and not invade the property of any room. All the passages should be well-ventilated and lighted.

Stairs should also be well-lighted and ventilated and properly planned in regard to width, rise, and tread. Stairs should not have winder steps.

7. Sanitation

Sanitation of the building is not only associated with urinals, bathrooms, washbasins, and sinks but also the overall lighting and ventilation.

All the parts of a building should have well lighting and ventilation to maintain good hygienic conditions. This could be done in a natural way or in an artificial way (air conditioning).

Necessary provisions to facilitate the cleaning of the building be installed. Washing closets, lavatories, urinals, and bathrooms like sanitary conveniences should be installed adequately in number in relation to the occupant load.

8. Elegance

Elegance is the overall effect produced by elevation and general layout of the plan of a building. To get good elegance of a building it is better if elevation is developed first and then the plan is adjusted accordingly.

The selection of a site or open plot for the construction of a building greatly affects elegance. A building located in a depression will give bad elegance whereas a building on an elevated spot gives an impressive appearance.

Buildings located on backward sloping upwards ground give good elevation & elegance.

Read More: Building Dimensions Standard | Dimensions Building | Building Size

9. Privacy

Privacy is an important part of building planning. Privacy may be from one part to another of the same building or could be from neighboring buildings, streets, etc.


In residential buildings, every room should have certain privacy which can be secured by carefully planning the entrance, path-ways, and drives.

Proper grouping of rooms, and good positioning of doors and windows, lobbies, or screens can give required internal privacy. Toilet rooms, bedrooms, w.c., and urinals should have absolute privacy.

10. Flexibility

Flexibility means planning the rooms in such a way that though originally designed for a specific purpose, may be used for other purposes also when desired.

For designing houses for middle-class families or other buildings where the economy is the main consideration flexibility should always be considered.

If a large space is needed at a certain time a house to accommodate the gathering. It can be obtained by removing a removable partition wall or curtain between the room and the dining room. Alternatively, an open yard, garden, or verandah can also be provided.

11. Economy

The economy is a major factor in building planning. To fit the proposed scheme within the limitations of the resources and funds certain alterations and omissions in the original plan have to make. But while considering the economy, the required strength and durability of the structure should not be compromised.

Some simple economy-achieving approaches in buildings are,

  • Simple elevation, dispensing of porches, lobbies, etc.
  • Steeper rise to the stair, wider steps in the stair.
  • Reducing the story height to a bare minimum.
  • Standardization of sizes of various components and materials.

12.  Practical Consideration

Besides all the Principles of planning discussed, the following practical points should be additionally considered,

  1. The strength, stability, convenience, and comfort of the occupants of the building, should be considered first.
  2. Provisions for future extensions without dismantling should be made in the planning.
  3. The building should be strong and capable to withstand the likely adverse effects of natural agencies (earthquake, flood, storm, etc.)
  4. Elevations should be simple yet attractive. Too many porches may give good elevation for some time, but in the end, simple designs fit better for generations.
  5. The larger size of the room should always be considered as far as possible as it can be shortened by providing partitions but smaller rooms cannot be enlarged easily.

Read More: 18+ Features To Consider When Building A New Home 2021

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