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Building Bye-laws & Set-backs

Building bye-laws
1. What are the objects of building bye-laws in town planning?
Ans. The building bye-laws and regulations should be enforced by proper authority to achieve
the following objectives:
To allow disciplined growth of buildings and towns.
To prevent haphazard development.
To protect safety of public against fire, noise, health hazards and structural failure.
To provide proper utilization of space.
To provide maximum efficiency in planning
To give guidelines to the architect or engineers in effective planning.
To provide health, safety and comfort to the people.
To benefit from maximum utilization of light, air, ventilation for the occupant of the building.
To prevent unauthorized construction and land use.
To prevent encroachment on public and private land, etc.
2. Explain the importance of Building bye-laws.
Ans. The building bye-laws and regulations governs the following building aspects;
Building frontage line.
Built-up area of the building.
Height of building.
Open space to be left in the sides and back, etc.
Provision of size, height, and ventilation of rooms and apartments.
Provision of water supply and disposal of wastewater and other sanitary provisions.
General requirements of building, regarding materials and workmanship.
Safety measures for workers and public during construction.
3. Enumerate the principles of building bye-laws.
Ans. The broad principles to be observed while framing the building bye-laws for any locality
may be as follows:
Classifying the buildings with unit as a family and mentioning the requirements accordingly.
Classifying the rooms according to use mentioning minimum standards of each room with
respect to size, height, floor area, ventilation and light.
Controlling the height of compound wall.
Controlling the location of compound gates.
Controlling the height of structures.
Implementing maximum limit of height in certain zones.
Controlling the area of projections in the marginal spaces.
Insisting suitable F.S.I (Floor space index)
Insisting upon suitable arrangements with respect to drainage and water supply.
Making compulsory appointment of licensed architect and engineers for works.
Mentioning the set-backs and marginal spaces.
Mentioning the minimum size of the plots, their dimensions and frontages.
Mentioning the structural design, fire safety, and other requirements in the construction of a
4. Define set-back. Mention its advantages.
Ans. A set-back may be defined as the frontage margin or the open space in front of the abutting
street or road. Set-back distances are necessary for widening, traffic/vehicle sighting, parking
space, free air circulation for building. Following are the advantages of set-backs;
If necessary, part of set-backs may be given for the purpose of road widening.
If the set-back is uniform, the buildings are constructed in one line parallel to the axis of the
The set-backs at street corners improve visibility.
The set-backs impart safety to the traffic.
The set-backs results into better conditions of air, light and ventilation of the buildings.
The space of set-backs can be conveniently used as parking place.
The space of set-backs can be used for developing gardens also.
They reduce the danger of fire by increasing the distance between the buildings.
5. Write a short note on Floor space index (FSI).
Ans. Floor space index is defined as ratio of total built up area on the floor to the plot area.
Hence it is only a dimensionless number. F.S.I is also known as Floor Area ratio (F.A.R). F.S.I is
a very important component of building bye-laws for controlling density of population in the
jurisdiction of village/city/town. Less F.S.I indirectly means less number of residential units.
This implies less congestion, hence more convenience and safety of people. The value of F.S.I or
F.A.R is determined by local authority and it may be different areas and different buildings of
the town.
F.S.I = Total built up area/Plot area.
Table: F.S.I for typical town.
Sl. No. Use Area F.S.I Remarks
1 Residential Scheme area 1 Max. allowed on G.F 0.40
2 Residential City area 4 Facing street of more than
12m width
3 Residential City area 3 Facing street of more than
12m width
4 Industrial Scheme area 1.50 Max. allowed on G.F 0.50
5 Commercial Scheme area 1.33 Max. allowed on G.F 0.40

6. State the building bye-laws for design of residential area.

Ans. The following are the most important building bye-laws;
A. Minimum sizes of plots: Plot is a continuous portion of land marked by definite boundary
including the land within the enclosure of the building, such as yard, court, open spaces, and
garden attached. The permissible sizes of plots for the family unit is as under:

Sl. No. Type Dimensions Area (Sq.m)

1 Low Income Group 9 x 15 135
(LIG) 12 x 15 180
2 Middle Income Group 12 x 18 216
(MIG) 14 x 21 294
15 x 24 360
3 High Income Group 18 x 27 486
(HIG) 27 x 36 972

B. Marginal spaces or set-backs:

I. Front and rear margin or set-backs:

Depth of site Min. front Min. rear

(Meters) (Meters) (Meters)
Up to 15 1.5 1.5
15-18 1.5 1.8
18-21 3.0 1.8
21-24 4.0 2.0
24-27 4.5 2.5
27-30 4.5 3.0
30-36 6.0 4.0
Above 36 9.0 4.5

II. Side margins or set-backs:

Width of site Min. left side Min. right side

(Meters) (Meters) (Meters)
Up to 9 1.0 1.0
9-12 1.25 1.75
12-15 1.25 3.0
15-21 1.75 3.5
21-27 3.0 4.0
27-30 3.0 4.5
Above 30 4.5 6.0

C. Minimum floor area for room: The minimum floor area for living room, bedroom, dining
room, etc. should be 9m2; kitchen, store room should be 5.4m2.
D. Proportion of built-up area to Plot area: The ratio of total built-up area to the plot area of
the building is called Floor space index. It is fixed by the local authority and is different for
different areas and different buildings in the city.
E. Height of plinth: The plinth height should be at least 45cm above the road level or plot level
whichever is higher.
F. Height of floors: The clear height of living room to be not less than 3m, for bath room, W.C,
etc. to be not less than 2.5m, for passage to be less than 2m.
G. Proportion of window area to Floor area: The window are should not be less than one-
seventh of the floor area of the room to secure good amount of light and ventilation.
H. Projections in Margins: The projections of the following elements in margins shall be as
Sun-shade or Canopy of 3m wide and 2.5m above the ground level.
Gallery to be not more than 1.2m wide at floor level.
I. Cellar: The minimum height shall be 2.4m, ventilation to be one-tenth of floor area.
J. Stair: The minimum width of stair either provided inside or attached to the outside of the
building and open sky shall not be less than 90cm, with inclination to horizontal or pitch within
30 to 45
K. Compound wall and gate: The height of the compound wall shall not be less than 1.5m on
road side and 1.8m on other sides. The gate shall be of 1.2m height and open from inwards.
L. Materials and workmanship: All the materials shall conform as per the specifications and
good workmanship.

Town Planning by Rangwala. Published by Charotar, 24th edition; 2011.

Town Planning text book by H.S. Vishwanath, Published by Sapna book house, 2nd revised and
enlarged edition; 2014.