In this Post Discussed about basic requirements of buildings are presented and then planning of the building with respect to orientation, utility of space, energy efficiency and other requirements are explained.
ELEMENTS OF A BUILDING
The following are the basic elements of a building:
3. Walls and columns
4. Sills, lintels and chejjas
5. Doors and windows
8. Steps, stairs and lifts
9. Finishing work
10. Building services.
The functions of these elements and the main requirement of them is presented in this article.
1. Foundation: Foundation is the most important part of the building. Building activity starts
with digging the ground for foundation and then building it. It is the lower most part of the building. It transfers the load of the building to the ground. Its main functions and requirements are:
(a) Distribute the load from the structure to soil evenly and safely.
(b) To anchor the building to the ground so that under lateral loads building will not move.
(c) It prevents the building from overturning due to lateral forces.
(d) It gives level surface for the construction of super structure.
2. Plinth: The portion of the wall between the ground level and the ground floor level is called
plinth. It is usually of stone masonry. If the foundation is on piles, a plinth beam is cast to support wall above floor level. At the top of plinth a damp proof course is provided. It is usually 75 mm thick plain concrete course. The function of the plinth is to keep the ground floor above ground level, free of dampness. Its height is not less than 450 mm. It is required that plinth level is at least 150 mm above the road level, so that connections to underground drainage system can be made.
3. Walls and Columns: The function of walls and columns is to transfer the load of the structure
vertically downwards to transfer it to foundation. Apart from this wall performs the following functions
(a) It encloses building area into different compartments and provides privacy.
(b) It provides safety from burglary and insects.
(c) It keeps the building warm in winter and cool in summer.
4. Sills, Lintels and Chejjas: A window frame should not be directly placed over masonry. It is
placed over 50 mm to 75 mm thick plain concrete course provided over the masonry. This course is
called as sill. Lintels are the R.C.C. or stone beams provided over the door and window openings to
transfer the load transversely so as to see that door or window frame is not stressed unduly. The width
of lintels is equal to the width of wall while thickness to be provided depends upon the opening size.
Chejja is the projection given outside the wall to protect doors and windows from the rain. They are
usually made with R.C.C. In low cost houses stone slabs are provided as chejjas. The projection of
chejja varies from 600 mm to 800 mm. Sometimes drops are also provided to chejjas to improve acsethetic look and also to get additional protection from sun and rain.
5. Doors and Windows: The function of a door is to give access to different rooms in the
building and to deny the access whenever necessary. Number of doors should be minimum possible.
The size of the door should be of such dimension as will facilitate the movement of the largest object
likely to use the door.
Windows are provided to get light and ventilation in the building. They are located at a height of 0.75 m to 0.9 m from the floor level. In hot and humid regions, the window area should be 15 to 20 per cent of the floor area. Another thumb rule used to determine the size and the number of windows is for every 30 m3 of inside volume there should be 1 m2 window opening.
6. Floors: Floors are the important component of a building. They give working/useful area for
the occupants. The ground floor is prepared by filling brick bats, waste stones, gravel and well compacted with not less than 100 mm sand layer on its top. A lean concrete of 1 : 4 : 8, 100 mm thick is laid. On this a damp proof course may be provided. Then floor finishing is done as per the requirement of the owner. Cheapest floor finish for a moderate house is with 20 to 25 mm rich mortar course finished with red oxide. The costliest floor finish is mossaic or marble finishing.
Other floors are usually of R.C.C. finished as per the requirements of the owner.
7. Roof: Roof is the top most portion of the building which provide top cover to the building. It
should be leak proof. Sloping roof like tiled and A.C. sheet give leak proof cover easily. But they do not give provision for the construction of additional floor. Tiled roof give good thermal protection.
Flat roofs give provision for additional floors. Terrace adds to the comfort of occupants. Water
tanks can be easily placed over the flat roofs.
8. Step, Stairs and Lifts: Steps give convenient access from ground level to ground floor level.
They are required at doors in the outer wall. 250 to 300 mm wide and 150 mm rise is ideal size for
steps. In no case the size of two consecutive steps be different. Number of steps required depends upon the difference in the levels of the ground and the floor. Stairs give access from floor to floor. They should consists of steps of uniform sizes.
In all public buildings lifts are to be provided for the conveniences of old and disabled persons.
In hostels G + 3 floors can be built without lifts, but in residential flats maximum floors permitted
without lifts is only G + 2. Lift is to be located near the entrance. Size of the lift is decided by the
number of users in peak hours. Lifts are available with capacity 4 to 20 persons.
9. Finishing: Bottom portion of slab (ceiling), walls and top of floor need smooth finishing
with plaster. Then they are provided with white wash, distemper or paints or tiles. The function of
finishing work is:
(a) Give protective cover
(b) Improve aesthetic view
(c) Rectify defective workmanship
(d) Finishing work for plinth consists in pointing while for floor it consists in polishing.
10. Building Services: Water supply, sanitation and drainage works, electric supply work and
construction of cupboards and show cases constitute major building services.
For storing water from municipal supply or from tanker a sump is built in the house property
near street. From the sump water is pumped to over head tanks placed on or above roof level so as to get water all the 24 hours. Plumbing work is made so as to get water in kitchen, bathrooms, water closets,sinks and garden taps.
For draining rain water from roofs, down take pipes of at least 100 mm diameters should be
used. Proper slopes should be given to roof towards down take pipe. These pipes should be fixed at 10 to 15 mm below the roof surface so that rain water is directed to the down take pipe easily.
The sanitary fittings are to be connected to stone ware pipes with suitable traps and chambers.
Stone ware pipes are then connected to underground drainage of municipal lines or to the septic tank.
Many carpentry works are required for building service. They are in the form of showcases,
cupboards, racks etc.
Electric supply is essential part of building services. The building should be provided with
sufficient points for supply of lights, fans and other electric gadgets.
BASIC REQUIREMENTS OF A BUILDING
The planning and construction of a building should be aimed at fulfilling the following requirements:
1. Strength and stability
2. Dimensional stability
3. Resistance to dampness
4. Resistance to fire
5. Heat insulation
6. Sound insulation
7. Protection against termite attack
9. Security against burglary
10. Lighting and ventilation
11. Comforts and convenience
1. Strength and Stability: Building should be capable of transferring the expected loads in its
life period safely to the ground. Design of various structural components like slabs, beams, walls,
columns and footing should ensure safety. None of the structural components should buckle, overturn
2. Dimensional Stability: Excessive deformation of structural components give a sense of
instability and result into crack in walls, flooring etc. All structural components, should be so designed that deflections do not exceed the permissible values specified in the codes.
3. Resistance to Dampness: Dampness in a building is a great nuisance and it may reduce the
life of the building. Great care should be taken in planning and in the construction of the building to
4. Resistance to Fire: Regarding achieving resistance to fire, the basic requirements laid down
in the codes are:
(a) the structure should not ignite easily.
(b) building orientation should be such that spread of fire is slow.
(c) In case of fire, there should be means of easy access to vacate building quickly.
5. Heat Insulation: A building should be so oriented and designed that it insulates interior
6. Sound Insulation: Buildings should be planned against outdoor and indoor noises.
7. Protection from Termite: Buildings should be protected from termites.
8. Durability: Each and every component of the building should be durable.
9. Security against Burglary: This is the basic need the owner of the building expects.
10. Lighting and Ventilation: For healthy and happy living natural light and ventilations are
required. Diffused light and good cross ventilation should be available inside the building.
11. Comforts and Conveniences: Various units in the building should be properly grouped and
integrated keeping in mind the comfort and convenience of the user.
12. Economy: Economy without sacrificing comfort, convenience and durability is another basic
requirement of the building.
All buildings should be properly planned, keeping in view the various requirements of a good building.
Except strength requirement, all other requirements of a good buildings are taken care at the stage of
planning. Strength requirement is taken care during structural design of building components. However
in planning the building by-laws of the statutory authorities should not be violated. Planning of the
building is an art combined with science.
Principles of planning of buildings may be grouped into:
2. Energy efficiency
4. Other requirements of the building. These principles are briefly explained in the articles 6.4 to 6.7.
PLANNING SUITABLE ORIENTATION
Orientation means setting out the plan of the building with respect to north-south and east-west directions to provide an opportunity to user to enjoy sun-shine and breeze when required and to avoid the same whenever not required. This is also known as planning the aspect of a building. Aspect means arrangement of doors, windows in the external wall to make good use of nature. This term has nothing to do with the architectural aspect of outlook of building. Kitchen should have eastern aspect to enjoy morning sunshine, means, kitchen should be located on the eastern side of the building to make use of morning sun rays. The following are the required aspects for various parts of the building in the northern hemisphere of earth:
(a) Kitchen–eastern aspect.
(b) Dining room–southern aspect to enjoy winter sun.
(c) Drawing and living room–southern or south-eastern aspect to enjoy winter sun.
(d) Bed rooms–western or south-western aspect to enjoy breez in summer.
(e) Reading room, class room, stairs, northern aspect to enjoy diffused light.
The following suggestions should be kept in mind in the orientation of a building in India:
(a) Place long walls towards north-south and short walls in east-west directions so as to reduce
the area exposed to direct sun rays.
(b) Provide verandah and balcony on east and west.
(c) Provide chejjas on doors and windows on southern side to protect them from sun’s rays.
PLANNING FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY
A building should be planned in such a manner that it gives maximum day lighting, ventilation and heat insulation. If these requirements are fulfilled, requirement of electric energy comes down.
(a) Light: Natural light provides hygenic atmosphere. Light should not be glaring but it should
be uniformly distributed. Providing windows and ventilators of appropriate size at suitable positions
contributes a lot for natural lighting. For residential buildings window area to floor area should not be
less than 1/10th while for school buildings it should not be less than 1/5th of floor area. For factory
buildings north light trusses should be provided to get maximum diffused light.
(b) Ventilation: Ventilation is the circulation of the air in the building. Natural ventilation can be
achieved by selecting and positioning of doors, windows and ventilators at suitable places. Always
cross ventilations should be planned suitably. Provision of ventilators at roof level helps in driving out hot airs. In case it is not possible to achieve natural ventilation for any part of the building provide ordinary or exhaust fans.
(c) Heat Insulation: Thicker exterior walls provide insulation against heat. Proper ventilation
also helps in achieving heat insulation. Sun shades provided to doors, windows and ventilators help in
achieving heat insulation. In factories and assembly halls height should be more to reduce temperature inside the building. The position of furnaces in the factories should be located away from the other parts of the factory. The openings should be provided at higher level in the wall to remove hot air.
PLANNING FOR SUITABLE UTILITY
Principles of planning for suitable utility are:
2. Furniture Requirements
1. Roominess: It refers to suitable proportioning of length, width and height of rooms in the
building to get maximum benefit from the minimum dimensions. Length to width ratio should be 1.2 to 1.5. If it is nearly square lot of area is wasted for movement, while, it is more than 1.5, it gives the
‘tunnel’ effect. Doors for rooms should be properly located so that utility and privacy are maximum.
Cupboards and lofts should be provided to increase roominess. Proper colours to wall and floor also
give roominess effect. Light colour gives effect of more space.
2. Furniture Requirements: In planning residential, office, laboratory, hospital buildings
positions of required furniture should be drawn and then room dimensions, positions of doors, windows,wardsities etc. planned. In case of planning a hostel room for two students it may need centrally placed door while if it is for three students, it should be near the end of front wall. Positions of cots, study tables and cupboard should be drawn and room planned. In designing a living room, positions of sofa, chairs, T.V. show case etc. should be drawn and size of the room and positions of doors fixed. Availability of circulation area should be checked. Thus the furniture requirement influences the planning of a building to a great extent.
3. Grouping: Grouping means disposition of various rooms in the building for the convenience
of users and their utility. A dining room should be close to the kitchen, white sanitary block should be
away from kitchen, but convenient to bedrooms. In case of offices, administrative department is located centrally. In factories, various sections are located such that product moves in one direction to get finally assembled after least movement. In residential buildings grouping is to achieve comfort, privacy and efficiency while in the case of other buildings it is to achieve economical service.
4. Circulation: Circulation means the space to be provided for movement from room to room
or floor to floor. Passages, lobbies, halls provided serve horizontal circulation while stairs and lifts
serve vertical circulation. Within a room also a portion of it serve for circulation while some other
portion serve for utility. The following points should be considered in planning circulation:
(a) They should be straight.
(b) They should be sufficient.
(c) They should be sufficiently lighted and ventilated.
(d) Stairs should be easily accessible to all the users.
(e) Sanitary services should have access for every user through passage lobby.
PLANNING FOR MEETING OTHER REQUIREMENTS
Principle of planning involves planning for meeting the following requirements also:
1. Sanitary convenience
6. Resistance to fire
7. Sound insulation
8. Protection from termite
9. Security against burglary
11. Provisions for future alterations.
1. Sanitary Convenience: Sanitary conveniences include provision of bathrooms, lavatories,
urinals etc. Provision of these are not only necessities but statutory requirement also. These facilities
should be located giving free access to all users. In these blocks, suitable slopes should be given to the floors to drain out water easily.
2. Prospects: It is about locating and selecting types of doors and windows so as to reveal
pleasant features and conceal undesirable features of the buildings from a person viewing from outside.
3. Elegance: Elegance means general effect produced for a viewer from outside. It depends
upon proper positioning of doors, windows, ventilators, chejjas, balconies etc. Elevations should be
attractive. The width, height and the projections in the building contribute a lot for the elegance. Taj
Mahal is an example famous for its elegance.
4. Flexibility: This aspect of planning means a room designed for a specific purpose should be
possible to use for other purposes, if necessary. A study room may be planned for using as a guest room. If partition is provided between living room and dining room, it is possible to remove partition and use living room plus dining room for the family functions. If independent access is given to backyard from kitchen, backyard can be used for dinner functions. Thus in planning flexibility also should be considered.
5. Privacy: Planning should take care of privacy of one room from other room in a building as
well as some parts of a building from neighbouring buildings and from streets. It is ensured by proper
grouping of rooms and by suitably providing doors, windows and ventilators. Planning the entrance at appropriate position also contributes a lot in providing privacy.
6. Resistance to Fire: It may be noted that concrete and masonry (stone or brick) have better
resistance to fire while steel and wood have lesser resistance. Hence reduce use of steel and wood in
kitchen and bathrooms with electric heaters. Kitchen should be so located that if fire is caught it is
directed away from the building by the wind rather than towards the building. In public buildings and
assembly halls stair cases should be easily accessible and always more than one is provided.
7. Sound Insulation: Noise pollution can be reduced by suitable planning of the building.
Some of them are:
(a) Orienting the building suitably so that rooms are kept away from road side.
(b) Using hollow blocks for the walls.
(c) Plugging door and window openings tightly.
(d) Using false ceilings.
(e) By fixing water closet cisterns on outer walls instead on wall common to rooms.
(f) By fixing water closet pan on a thin pad.
(g) Holding pipes passing through walls and floors by insulated clips.
8. Protection from Termite: Building should be protected from termite attack by
(a) Treating the foundation with chemicals at the time of construction.
(b) Using well seasoned and well treated wood in the building.
9. Security against Burglary: By providing thicker walls, using stronger doors and windows
in outer walls, security against burgling is improved. Providing grills to windows and additional shutters.to doors are some of the methods of improving security. Alarms fitted in walls, roofs also improve security of the buildings.
10. Economy: Economy without sacrificing comfort, conveniences and durability is another
basic principle of planning a building. For this circulation area should be minimised. Materials should
be so selected that maintenance cost is minimized.
11. Provision for Future Expansion: Building should be planned making suitable provision for
future expansion. Some of the steps required for it are:
(a) Improving elevations without dismantling any part during future expansion.
(b) Extending building horizontally or vertically without damaging the existing building.
(c) Improving the flooring.