How safe is your house? Check National Building Code norms.

While a posh locality or a swanky house does add to one’s socio-economical eminence, a quality construction ensures the safety and well-being of its residents. And that’s why to ensure the safety, welfare and health of the occupants, the National Building Code (NBC) of India specified a set of construction guidelines a real estate developer must follow during the construction of a residential unit.


Highlights of the NBC norms:

Design and life safety:

Every building must be constructed using materials of such quality conforming to the accepted the Bureau of Indian Standard specifications. Simultaneously, the building should be equipped and operated to protect the residents from incidents such as fire, earthquake or any other panic situations during the time of the escape.

For exit, any way out to an internal or external staircase or to a verandah or terrace which has access to the street or to the roof of a building can be used. Alternatively, a horizontal exit leading to an adjoining building can also be provided. However, lifts and escalators cannot be considered as exit routes because, in case of an electricity outage, lifts and escalators will stop working or may even get stuck in between the floors.


Fire prevention and protection:

The NBC lays down clear guidelines that for buildings which are 15-meter high or more, non-combustible materials should be used for construction and the internal walls of staircase enclosures should be of brickwork or reinforced concrete. Glass of facade to be used in high-rise buildings will be of minimum one-hour fire resistance rating. Additionally, proper evacuation measures must be in place to ensure the safety of occupants.



Residential buildings of 15-meter height and above should be equipped with fire lifts having a minimum capacity for 8 passengers and fully automated with the emergency switch on the ground level.


Other requirements:

A lightning arrestor should preferably be used in the building to avoid any damage during thunderstorms. Similarly, any plumbing work has to be done in tune with the general design of the building and taking into consideration certain technical aspects such as water pressure, venting and concepts of wet and dry areas in toilets.

Once concerned authorities inspect the structure to check whether proper NBC norms have been followed, they issue a Building Completion Certificate and an Occupancy Certificate, which makes the building eligible for electricity, water and sanitary connections from civic bodies.


As a home-buyer, one should know whether the property he/she is interested in buying adheres to the requirements put in place by the NBC. If a building does not fulfil or violates the NBC’s guidelines, authorities may impose a heavy penalty on the developer or even order the demolition of the building.

Last updated on September 18, 2017

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