Building Codes and Standards in India Explained in an Easy way!

Sujan Afi S

The story

A home is a place where we feel safe and secure. It is a place where we put off our masked selves and be ourselves. The word ‘home’ itself carries a relaxing connotation. Many of us invest almost our entire savings in buying a property. Thus, we should try to ensure that the house or apartment that we are buying is perfect in all respect.

Apart from checking the authenticity of the documents of the property, we should also find out whether the building/house has been constructed following the rules and regulations set by the authority. This set of rules are called Building Codes. They are formed by keeping in mind the safety of the people of the region, the climate and atmosphere of the region, etc.

These codes are different for each country. They might also differ from one region to the other. For instance, it is very natural that the codes of a mountainous region will be very different from that of a sea-side region. 

A deeper understanding 

The term ‘Building Code’ refers to the regulations that are formed for granting permission from an authorized agency for the construction of a building. It ensures the safety of life, maintains public health and general well-being, prevents loss of property, etc. India has a long heritage of the construction of a building that is architecturally very well. India follows the National Building Code of India (NBC). It forms the national instrument that provides guidelines to regulate the construction of the buildings (residential, mercantile, institutional, educational, commercial, assembly, storage spaces or even hazardous buildings) throughout the country. NBC serves as a model code for all kinds of construction all over India. It is the only institution that provides permission to the construction agencies or individual or group of individuals for any kind of construction, i.e., residential place (house) or commercial centre (factory). National Building Code of India or NBC is published by the Bureau of Indian Standard.

This set of building codes was first published in the year 1970. Later it was revised several times in 1983 and 2005. In 1970 it was published at the instance of the Planning Commission of India. After the first revision of NBC in 1983, there were three broad amendments were issued. Among these three, two were issued in 1987 and the last one was issued in 1997. In the second revision of NBC, i.e., in the year 2005, two major amendments were issued. 

The code mainly contains a set of rules focusing on the ground of administrative regulations, fire safety, building materials, the height of the building, plumbing services for building, sustainability, structural design and construction, and general building requirements and management, etc. The application of NBC to get permission for the construction of the building is observed to be more vital in urban India than its rural counterpart. NBC serves as the model code for all the agencies, individuals and departments involved in the construction of buildings in India, like, Public Works Department (PWD), other government departments involved in construction, private agencies that are involved in construction, etc.

The importance of NBC lies in ensuring the safety of the constructed building; it also focuses on maintaining the well-being of the residents and tenants. On the other way, the existence of NBC also prevents the architect, engineer (specifically civil engineer), real estate dealer, and other agencies involved in construction from getting involved in corruption while constructing a residential building or other forms of construction (factory, bridges, etc.).

The construction of buildings has witnessed large scale changes in recent times; such as changes in occupancies, innovative construction in terms of architectural design and building materials, complex nature of building services, sustainable way of the construction and management of buildings for the preservation of the environment etc. Therefore, a paradigm shift in building construction has been observed all over the country. An urgent need for the revision of NBC was felt by the government and a committee (National Building Code Sectional Committee) was formed. The revised code was published in the year 2016 as the National Building Code of India, 2016.

The comprehensive NBC published in the year 2016 has two volumes and mainly contains 12 major sections. These sections have some sub-sections also.

The salient features of NBC, 2016 are mentioned below

  • Arrangements have been made for the association of experts as per the requirements. The organizations have been refreshed to guarantee the legitimate release of responsibilities regarding the achievement of building projects.
  • The approval process has been made easier through a single-window approach as an integrated approval process instead of approval from different agencies. Besides, it is also made through computerized processes like online submission of building plans, drawing and other details etc.
  • The process of providing the certificate of the structural safety of the building by skilled professionals and peer review of the architectural design of the building has been further strengthened.
  • The requirements of the standards of the accessibility of building as well as building materials especially for disabled and elderly people have been revised and updated.
  • Keeping relation with the high-rise buildings (skyscrapers) and complex architectural design, the fire and life safety provisions have been revised thoroughly and necessary updates have been made.
  • For the structural safety of the building (especially during the time of disasters like an earthquake), the building design has been revised. 
  • Being at par with the international standards, the plumbing services of the building have been changed.
  • Provisions have been renovated to ensure the application of new/latest/alternative building materials and technologies which will help to expand the market of building construction and also help in the process of innovative building construction. 
  • The guidelines for the construction management have been incorporated to ensure timely completion of building within the budget cost and maintaining safety with desired quality.
  • Part 11 (also called ‘Approach to Sustainability’) introduces the guidelines related to the energy efficiency of the building, environmentally compatible building, ecologically sustainable building etc.


Security is one of the main concerns of any building structure. Building codes tackle an assortment of wellbeing concerns. Violation of these rules can make the concerned party pay a penalty amount. We can say that building codes serve a purpose for the betterment of our society. Building regulations address the basic guidelines vital for new construction, remodelling and fixing the existing structures. The old buildings or any other structures should be upgraded as per the latest rules provided. The new structures must be constructed as per the rules. Only then we can ensure the safety of the entire mankind. 

The technical terms related to the Real Estate market might be a bit difficult for a layman to comprehend. So, Roodland India has extended its hands to solve your problems related to Real Estate. Our expert guidance can help solve the problem of yours in a unique and promising way. Drop a mail at and visit The Real Talks to find more informative articles. 


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