Planning of Buildings

Planning of Buildings

All buildings should be properly planned, keeping in view the various requirements of a good building. Except strength requirement, all other requirements of 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:

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:

  • Kitchen–eastern aspect.
  • Dining room–southern aspect to enjoy winter sun.
  • Drawing and living room–southern or south-eastern aspect to enjoy winter sun.
  • Bed rooms–western or south-western aspect to enjoy breeze in summer.
  • 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:

  • Place long walls towards north-south and short walls in east-west directions so as to reduce the area exposed to direct sun rays.
  • Provide verandah and balcony on east and west.
  • 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 hygienic 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:

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:

  • They should be straight.
  • They should be sufficient.
  • They should be sufficiently lighted and ventilated.
  • Stairs should be easily accessible to all the users.
  • 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: Sanitary conveniences include provision of bathrooms, lavatories, urinals etc. Provisions 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:

  • Orienting the building suitably so that rooms are kept away from road side. (b) Using hollow blocks for the walls.
  • Plugging door and window openings tightly.
  • Using false ceilings.
  • By fixing water closet cisterns on outer walls instead on wall common to rooms.
  • By fixing water closet pan on a thin pad.
  • Holding pipes passing through walls and floors by insulated clips.

8. Protection from Termite: Building should be protected from termite attack by

  • Treating the foundation with chemicals at the time of construction.
  • 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:

  • Improving elevations without dismantling any part during future expansion.
  • Extending building horizontally or vertically without damaging the existing building.
  • Improving the flooring.

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