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Guidelines And National Building Code and for residential buildings

 The National Building Code (NPC) is a set of standardized rules that officials and construction companies must follow to provide a healthy and secure living experience for all residents.


The National Building Code (NBC) is a document that provides guidelines for the construction of structures - residential, commercial, institutional, educational, commercial, assembly, storage or hazardous buildings. It is important to follow these guidelines to protect the overall health of the construction and to ensure the health and safety of the public and residents. In this article, we are going to talk about NBC guidelines for residential buildings. These standardized codes were first published in 1970 and later revised in 1983. The latest amendment was in 2005.


What are residential buildings according to NBC?

The NBC defines residential buildings as ‘sleeping accommodation for normal residential purposes with or without cooking or dining, or without both facilities, except for any building classified under Group C buildings.


·    An exit must be provided In every building, so as to permit safe escape of residents in times of fire or earthquakes, etc.

·    The main staircase and fire escape staircase must be continuous from ground floor to the terrace level

·    According to the NBC, a dedicated refuge area should be at every seventh floor or after the first 24 meters in a high rise



NBC Guidelines Related To Kitchens

·       Every kitchen should have an arrangement for washing dishes, with proper connection to the drain.

·       The kitchen should be furnished with an unobtrusive floor.

·       The kitchen should be open to an interior or exterior and should not be less than one square meter.

·       The kitchen should not open into a trunk.

·       Chutes should not be used in buildings above 15 meters.


Guidelines And National Building Code

NBC Guidelines Related To Bathrooms

·       One of the walls should have an opening to the open space. Minimum ventilation or window space should be measured up to 0.37 square meters.

·       A bathroom should always be another bathroom or laundry space or terrace, not more than another room. Irrigation sites may be exceptions to this rule.

·       The seat should be made of non-absorbent materials.

·       Bathrooms should be covered with partitions/walls and provided with a recommended surface with a height of not less than one meter.

·       The floor covering should also be permeable, but sloping towards the drain, not towards any other room or balcony space.

·       A room with a water closet should only be used as a toilet. Flush forts should be provided for these rooms.

·       If there is a toilet on the terrace with a height of 2.2 meters, it should be calculated on the floor area ratio (FAR).

·       In the absence of a sewage sales station, a septic tank should be provided.


NBC Guidelines Regarding Lofts

·       Apart from shops, lofts are only allowed in residential buildings.

·       25% of the floor area should be controlled in the covered area.

·       The height between the floor and the ceiling should not be less than 1.75 meters.



NBC Guidelines Regarding Basement

·       The minimum height of the Basement should be 2.5 m and the maximum height 4.5 m.

·  The ceiling height should be a minimum of 0.9 meters and a maximum of 1.2 meters from the road surface.

·   Ventilation to the basement is essential and maybe in the form of the blower, exhaust fans, air conditioning etc.

·       Surface drainage should not enter the basement.

·       The walls and floors of the Basement should be water-proof.

·   The basement should not be directly accessible from the road. This should only be accessed from the main entrance or from the alternative staircase that provides access to the building.

·    Only when a projecting foundation is stripped from the ground or permitted by authority can the foundation be allowed to touch nearby property.


NBC Guidelines Regarding Garages

·       The foundation of the garage at ground level should not be less than 15 cm.

·       Garages should not block access to the building in any way. It should be behind the building line of the street or road. If it does not, the authority may suspend its use as a garage or recommend other changes.


Guidelines for building sites

·       For wet floors, the floor surface and the space between the walls should be declared as a water proof for authority

·       Building sites should be kept away from electrical connections.


Type of electric line

Horizontal distance



Low and medium voltage lines and service lines

1.20 metres

2.50 metres

High voltage lines up to and including 11,000 volts

1.20 metres

3.70 metres

High voltage lines above 11,000 volts and up to and including 33,000 volts

2.00 metres

3.70 metres

Extra high voltage lines additional 33,000 volts

Plus 0.3 metres for every additional 33,000 V or part thereof.

Plus 0.3 metres for every additional 33,000 V or part thereof.



Guidelines for building evacuations

NBC has guidelines for entry and exit points in buildings.

·       An evacuation must be provided in each building to allow residents to escape safely in the event of a fire or earthquake.

·       Exit is mandatory, these are clearly visible to everyone and they should light up. These cannot be reduced in number, width or any other means. The required number depends on the occupation load, capacity, travel distance, etc.

·       Alarms are necessary to ensure the immediate evacuation of those at risk.

·       The exit should be continuous, leading to the exterior of the building.

·       The exit can be horizontal or vertical.

·       The elevator and revolving doors did not exit.


NBC Guidelines Regarding Fire Safety

In large-scale buildings where accidents due to fire are not easily noticed, automatic fire detection and warning facilities should be provided and provided. Not only this, such buildings should be provided and protected by fire extinguishers, wet risers, automatic sprinkler installations etc.


Capacity of exits in different types of buildings

S No

Group of occupancy

Number of occupants

















































Source: NBC, occupants per unit exit width


Guidelines For Stairs In Residential Buildings

·       For group housing, the floor area should not exceed 300 square meters, the height of the building should not exceed 24 meters, a staircase can be accepted. By-law No. 1.13 In buildings identified from VI (a) to (m), at least two stairs are mandatory.

·       In a residential the low-rise building, the minimum width of the stairs is 0.9 meters.

·       It is 1.25 meters for apartments, hotels, group houses and guest houses.



Guidelines For Stairs In Residential Structures

·       Interior stairs should only be constructed of non-combustible materials.

·       It should have one side attached to an exterior wall and they should be fully attached.

·       Only the Chief Fire Officer must approve the location of the stairs.

·       The minimum height of handrails should be 100 cm.

·       The minimum width of the treads, the staircase, its arrangement, the headroom, should follow the standards recommended by NBC.

·       Living spaces and shops cannot be opened upstairs.

·       The main staircase and fire escape staircase should continue from the ground floor to the terrace level.

·       Electric rods or AC pipes and gas pipes cannot run through the stairs.

·       Anything flammable cannot be used for stair decoration or paneling.

·       Beams and columns should not reduce the width of the headroom or staircase.


Guidelines For Open Areas In Residential Structures

·       Each room should be open to the living space, outdoor or indoor open space or veranda.

·       According to the primary plan, open spaces should be calculated in FAR.

·       These areas should be no more than 0.75 m wide with no rigidity other than cornice, sajja or weather shade.

·       Each interior or exterior or airspace must be maintained exclusively for the benefit of such building and shall be wholly within the owner’s own premises.

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