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  • These guidelines cover planning and general building requirements for low-income houses having a maximum built-up area of 40 m2 including future expansion, built on notified (as notified by the State Governments) rural areas.
  • The provisions on layout planning of low-income housing colonies in rural areas are applicable to public and private agencies/government bodies.
  • The provisions of this Guide on design and construction of buildings for low-income housing in approved layouts are applicable to all private and public agencies.
  • low-income housing, also called affordable housing, housing for individuals or families with low incomes.
  • Various state, private, and nonprofit-sector initiatives have helped low-income people obtain housing, and many small-scale actions have attempted to address the problem individually or locally.
  • Governments have often played a key role in the development, management, and funding of housing for low-income people.

1) Settlement and environment planning

  1. Eco-system and biodiversity.
  2. Topography with its direct effect on climate, likelihood of natural disasters, natural drainage, etc.
  3. Identity of the place rooted in its culture and heritage.
  4. Nearness and connectivity with nearby urban centres.
  5. Occupation related requirements.
  6. Water management.
  7. Waste management.
  8. Land tenure.
  9. Site selected shall be conveniently approachable and suitably developed and shall not be subjected to water logging/flooding.
  10. Plot size : 80 m2, Min
  11. Density (Gross) : 60 plots per hectare, Max
  12. Minimum frontage : 6 m
  13. Ground coverage : 33 percent (subject to a maximum of 50 percent)
  14. Floor area ratio : 2, Max (FAR)
  15. Open spaces : 1.21 hectare open space for a village with 200 houses
  16. Facilities like branch of cooperative bank, a fertilizer depot, a veterinary hospital, market place and a branch of the cooperative consumer store besides facilities for educational and health care should be available within a maximum distance of 5 km from any settlement.
  17. Proposed road hierarchy:
Sr. No.Road TypeRoad DescriptionRoad Width (m)Function / Remarks
i)R1Road which connects village to nearby areas9Widest road
ii)R2Road which take major traffic to the village6Main village roads with drain on both sides to facilitate drainage system of the village
iii)R3Internal village road4.5Other village roads
iv)R4Internal village road3Village lanes

2) General building requirements (Homestead)

The requirements of parts of buildings shall be as given below.

i) Plinth

  • The minimum height of plinth shall be regulated on the basis of environmental and topographical condition and higher plinth height may be required in areas prone to flooding.

ii) Size of Room

Habitable Room
  • Every dwelling unit to be provided should have at least two habitable rooms. Even if one room house is provided initially it should be capable of adding a new second room in future.
  • In a house of two rooms, first room shall not be less than 9.0 m2. with minimum width of 2.5 m and second room shall not be less than 6.5 m2 with a minimum width of 2.1 m provided the total area of both the rooms is not less than 15.5 m2.
  • Habitable space at mezzanine level may be permitted. The minimum size of such a mezzanine floor should not be lesser than 6.5 m2 and such a floor should occupy not more than 50 percent of the room area of which it is a part.
  • Such a mezzanine floor should have appropriate openings to facilitate light and ventilation. Minimum clear height below and above the mezzanine floor should be 2.4 m and 2.1 m, respectively.
  • As far as possible mezzanine floor should have direct ventilation from the external face of the building. Where this is not possible ventilation through main room may be allowed provided total area of openings in the main room is provided taking into consideration area of mezzanine floor.
  • Such mezzanine floor may be accessible through the main room by a ladder, whose minimum angle with vertical plane should be 22.5°. Height of the riser should be less than 250 mm.
Water-Closet/Bath Room
  • The size of independent water-closet shall be 0.9 m2; with minimum width of 900 mm.
  • The size of independent bath room shall be 1.2 m2 with minimum width of 1 m, and
  • The size of combined bath and water-closet shall be 1.8 m2 with minimum width of 1 m.
  • The size of a cooking alcove serving as cooking space shall not be less than 2.4 m2 with a minimum width of 1.2 m.
  • The size of individual kitchen shall not be less than 3.3 m2 with a minimum width of 1.5 m.
  • Semi-open spaces with low walls and roof may also be provided for cooking in areas where such provision is suitable with respect to climatic comfort.
  • Provision for smokeless Chullha shall be made in all kitchens considering fuel efficiency and health hazard due to smoke inhalation.
  • The minimum width of individual balcony, where provided, shall be 0.9 m. and shall not be more than 1.2 m and it shall not project beyond the plot line and on roads or pathway.

iii) Minimum Height

The minimum height of rooms/spaces shall be as follows:

  1. Habitable room : 2.75 m
  2. Kitchen : 2.6 m
  3. Bath/Water-closet : 2.2 m
  4. Corridor : 2.1 m

In the case of sloping roofs, the average height of roof for habitable rooms shall be 2.75 m and the minimum height at eaves shall be 2.10 m.

iv) Lighting and Ventilation

The openings through windows, ventilators and other openings for lighting and ventilation, excluding the doors inclusive of frames shall be not less than,

  1. one-tenth of the room floor area for dry-hot climate.
  2. one-sixth of the room floor area for warm-humid climate.
  3. one-eighth of the floor area for temperate and composite climate; and
  4. one-twelfth of the floor area for cold climate.
  • If window is partly fixed, the openable area shall be counted.
  • No portion of a room shall be assumed to be lighted, if it is more than 7.5 m away from the opening assumed for lightning that portion.
  • The area of openings as given in (i) to (iv) above shall be increased by 25 percent in the case of kitchen.
  • The windows and other openings shall abut on to open spaces either through areas left open within the plot or the front, side and rear spaces provided in the layouts which shall be treated as deemed to be sufficient for light and ventilation purposes.
  • Wherever ventilation/lighting is provided by means of JALI or grills of any material, total area of openings shall be calculated excluding solid portion of the jali or grill.

v) Stairs

The following criteria shall be adopted for internal individual staircase:

Minimum width:
  1. 2 storeyed-straight: 0.60 m
  2. 2 storeyed-winding: 0.75 m
  3. 3 or more storeyed straight: 0.75 m
  4. 3 or more storeyed winding: 0.90 m
  1. Riser: 200 mm, Max
  • 2 storeyed: 225 mm, Min (See Note)
  • 3 storeyed or more: 250 mm, Min

This can be reduced to 200 mm as the clear tread between perpends, with possibility of open riser as well as nosing and inclined riser to have an effective tread of 225 mm.

vi) Circulation Area

  • The circulation area on any floor including staircase, shall not exceed 8 m2/dwelling unit.

vii) Water Seal Latrine

  • No building plan shall be approved, and no building shall be deemed to have been completed and fit for human occupation unless provision is made for water seal latrine. No dry latrine shall be allowed. Water seal latrines may also be provide on the basis of community toilets or shared toilets as per the recommendation given in (Cluster planning for housing) and Given below.
  • In cluster housing for economically weaker section families, group toilets at the rate of one water-closet, one bath and a washing place for three families may be provided. These shall not be community toilets, as keys to these toilets shall be only with these three families, making them solely responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of these toilets.
  • Where leaching pits are used, it should be constructed within the premises of the households as it would be economical as well as facilitate their cleaning. However, where, due to space constraint, construction of pits within the premises may not be possible, pits may be constructed in places like lanes, streets and roads.
  • In case the pit is located under the road, street or foot path, the inverted level of the pipe connecting the latrine pan with the pit shall be at least 1.1 m below ground level or below the bottom of the water main existing within a distance of 3 m from the pits whichever is more.
  • The water seal latrine should be properly maintained and kept in sanitary condition by the owner or the occupier. The contents of the septic tanks, soak pits, leach pits, etc., should be periodically emptied.
  • The leach pits should be cleaned only after 2 years of their being put out of service after they were full.
  • Location of sanitary facility either as part of the house or separately shall be decided on the basis of felt perceptions.
  • The house site shall provide space for storage of food grains and keeping cattle. A manure pit having a minimum area of 1.0 m2 shall also be catered for. This will take care of composting of biodegradable waste.

3) Other requirements

  • Requirements of fire safety, structural design, building services and plumbing services shall be as specified in relevant parts of the Code NBC-2016.
  • One water tap per dwelling unit may be provided, where adequate drinking water supply is available. If supply is inadequate, public hydrants shall be provided.
  • In the absence of piped water supply, hand pumps may be used for provision of water supply.

i) Drainage System

  • Water from drains shall be connected to village ponds and appropriate eco-friendly methods like growing of duck weed plants shall be adopted to treat waste water.
  • This treated water may be used for irrigation and agriculture.
  • Appropriate methods (namely conservation, ground water recharging, rain water harvesting, etc) should be employed to ensure effective water management.

ii) Community Facilities

  • A community hall/Baraat Ghar shall be established.
  • Rural development centre shall include Panchayat Ghar, a Mahila Kendra that may also serve as a vocational training centre.
  • School, health centre, post office, police post, shopping, work sheds for the artisans, telephone facilities, etc, should also be established.
  • The use (to the extent possible) of locally available building materials and cost effective substitutes for scarce building materials should be deployed. Appropriate technology inputs shall be introduced for improving the local materials or conventional or traditional practices for improved efficiency.
  • The concept of ‘aided self-help’ shall be ensured for active participation of the prospective users and association in the construction and development of dwelling units and other community building.
  • The special needs of women headed households/ single and working women/woman in difficult circumstances should be addressed. The specific requirement of women in terms of providing necessary facilities in homes to lessen their drudgery would be given sufficient attention.
  • Protecting and promoting our cultural heritage, architecture and traditional skills should be given due importance.

Advantages and disadvantages of low cost housing

Sr. No.AdvantagesDisadvantages
i)Economic Benefits to the Community – Affordable housing provides direct economic advantages to the immediate community. Since the houses are affordable, people will have extra money to spend for other products. This is going to lead to an increase in the demand of various services and goods further leading to increased employment opportunitiesThe low cast housing will not satisfy all the needs of the people.
ii)Provides a diverse workforce – The best thing about affordable housing is the fact that it accommodates individuals with different skills that are beneficial to the community. For instance, construction workers, bus drivers, cleaners, shop assistants, teachers and nurses are well catered under affordable housing and thus they can provide their important services to the community.The residents have limited money so there will be less likely to improve or maintain their homes or the surrounding environments.
iii)Promotes social and economic integration – Affordable housing ensures low cost housing due to which such families can afford to meet their respective health and education costs. This is also beneficial as it provides an adequate security of tenure for improving an individual’s capacity to get and also maintain employment. In addition to that, affordable housing enables people not to migrate from their root place.Houses have a simple layout that may or may not have living area separate from a sleeping area and large family inhabit will probably cram 2 people per bedroom and 3 in the living room and make the space over crowded.
iv)Stronger labour force – Through affordable housing, the employees will live near their respective employment centers and this leads to a stronger labour force. The work is also going to be done quickly since the people livingin the immediate vicinity and can go to work quickly.There will be no choice or control of public type to reside near or adjoin as your neighbors.

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