Column Layout for a Residence | Civil Engineering

Column Layout for a residence using the Thumb rules| Building Construction

In my earlier article, we discussed three important thumb rules that are to be followed while making a column layout for any building. They are as follows:

  1. Size of the Columns
  2. Distance between the columns
  3. Alignment of Columns

In this article, we will see an example of a residence of which column layout is done keeping the above three thumb rules in mind.

Column Layout for a residence

The residential villa comprises of 1 and half floors. Initially, the column size 9″x12″ had been used with the use of M15 grade of concrete. The builder wanted to save on his budget by making the columns smaller in size. That is why, the columns in the Floor plans below are 9″x9″ in size but the Engineer made sure that M20 grade of concrete would be used for Columns.

Column Layout for a Ground Floor

Column Layout for a Ground Floor

Column Layout for First Floor

Column Layout for First Floor

Thumb rule no1:

Size of the Columns

The size of the columns are 9″x9″ with the use of M20 grade of concrete.

Thumb rule no.2:

Distance between the columns:

The distance between the columns does not exceed 4.5m.

Thumb rule no.3:

Alignment of Columns

The Columns have been arranged on a iron grid pattern. So there is absolutely no question of zigzag walls and zigzag beams which reducing complications in the structure.

Also read:

Introduction to design of RCC Structures

Building Design Guide which includes design of:

  1. RCC columns
  2. RCC beams
  3. Foundations
  4. Staircase

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  1. #1 by Rajashekar on June 29, 2017 - 9:57 pm

    Hi, I am contracting my house and appointed structural engineer, he is very young guy he suggested C1, 4 columns 9″x 12″‘ column with 16mm 6 bars and 12mm 2 bars for 15 fts distance in all sides, and C2, 4 column 16mm 4 bars and 12mm 2bars, and C3, 3 column with 9″ x 9″ with 12mm 6 bars, my Plot size is 24′ x 49’, and contracting G+2, Please suggest, is it OK or need to increase any strength.

    • #2 by Rajashekar on June 29, 2017 - 10:01 pm

      Distance between C1 is 14′, C2 and C3 is 10′

  2. #3 by Ar. Nadeem Alam on November 13, 2016 - 9:05 am

    I m an architect in India and thank u brother to share this ….this is helpful for my design criteria

  3. #4 by Suresh on September 8, 2016 - 2:29 pm

    For a 16ft Span, 2 floored building, 12″*9″ Column, what could be the apt Rods Diameter.
    Eg 16-12-16 (6 Rod combinations – 16(4Nos) and 12(2 Nos)) or
    16-12-16 (8 Rod combinations – 16(4Nos) and 12(4 Nos))

  4. #5 by bahran tibebu on August 17, 2016 - 1:12 am

    I am a graduate engineer and I want to make structural design of buildings, but my first question is how can I divide the above given floor slab(slab with unaligned columns) into number of panels? inorder to design the floor slab by sectioning in to different panels. In other words what is the criteria to consider part of a slab as a panel.

    • #6 by BenzuJK on August 27, 2016 - 12:09 pm

      You divide the slab with the help of beams. Even if the slab is not exactly rectangular, you can still design it for the entire area. Consider it increased factor of safety.

  5. #7 by Adekunle on July 9, 2016 - 3:05 pm

    For a four story building, what could be the sizing of the ground floor column?

    What is the maximum C/C distance between the column? And the adequate beam section for the ground floor.

  6. #9 by Ahmad on May 8, 2016 - 8:29 am

    Very good

  7. #10 by Ram on March 17, 2016 - 9:58 am

    1 feet offset between two horizontal beams, if i need to connect in column, that column size around 9″x21″, this much column is standard one or any other option is there?


  8. #11 by Muni Rao on September 2, 2015 - 10:06 am

    I want to know how many pillars and columns required for 20 ft X 56ft, house construction, please specify the distance between columns and number of rods and size.

  9. #12 by atul mathur on August 21, 2015 - 10:06 am


    It would be a great help; if you guide me in these queries:

    1.we are planning to build 5 storey building in which GF is stilt parking . Area is 560 Sq. ft. Is is possible to build the building without pillar or coloumn in centre of the parking.
    Architect has given us the structure design with 11 coloumn out of which 2 are in centre of the parking.

    2. In different coloumn he has given different footing. what does footing signifies?

    3. If we go for parking floor w/o column at centre. Then what would be the width of latak beam minimium to be reqd. at every floor and at least at UG Floor.

    Hope you will respond as soon as possible.


  10. #13 by siva rama krishnan on August 7, 2015 - 8:22 pm

    how can i choose for areas size of office building

  11. #14 by Pallavi on July 31, 2015 - 11:17 pm

    Hi BenzuJK,
    I am designing a building,its a extended part of a with old building,in area of18’x27′. In which 14’*14′ bedroom 10’*7’kichen and a small store room of 5’*7′
    Can i give column of 1’*1′ at 14′ spacing between two column. And should i give 7’foundation , with 12mm bar everywhere with M15.
    Its a G+2

  12. #15 by Saravanan S on May 20, 2015 - 9:33 am

    Nice helpful

  13. #16 by Vikas Misra on March 31, 2015 - 1:08 am

    Hi BenzuJK,
    I (Vikas Misra) am very much impressed from your articles. After spending several days on internet to understand how to design and build the house i landed on your website. I have something good to share with you (based upon learnings) as well.
    I need your expert help to design my house in Lucknow India. Please share your contact details. I tried to avail your services from some of the links you posted but none reaches to a place where i can connect with you.
    Thanks & Regards
    Vikas Misra

  14. #17 by Olfat on March 16, 2015 - 3:34 pm

    Hi, Sir
    I am a Civil Engineer and want to ask and consult with you about a technical problem in building, as we know that when we Design the Dimensions of a RCC Column we calculate than the load which is on the top of the column so if we have a column in size of (0.30*0.30) m in second floor of a building and want to change the dimension of the the side columns of building to (0.20*0.40)m is correct or not and if not correct what is the side effect of this changing?
    thanks Eng Olfat, Kabul Afghanistan

    • #18 by BenzuJK on March 16, 2015 - 7:26 pm

      There will be a big issue with the slenderness ratio of the column. Such a slender column will lead to a drastic rise in bending moment in the column, as well as the connected beams. In that case, I would recommend recalculating the stresses on the column, and increase the steel quantity in the column according to the new calculations. There are a lot of factors involved which I know nothing about. Use caution.

  15. #19 by Kailash on August 16, 2014 - 6:56 am

    Hi I am Planning to built a residential flat G+2 or 3 with distance of 15′ to 18′. What is size and distance of the column and any other precaution to be taken.



    • #20 by SITARAM on November 14, 2014 - 7:10 am

      Don’t Do Without Consent of Structural Engineer. .Now a Days Clients are constructing buildings without consent structural engineers..Be Careful..

  16. #21 by RAJKISHORE PAL on February 3, 2014 - 6:07 pm

    asad :
    how to calculate all types of loads including slabs,beams,columns on the footing?????

  17. #23 by Ankit Shrivastava on October 4, 2013 - 5:41 am

    Hi, I Have a basic doubt. I want to design a bench for sitting purpose for 5 people using concret. It will be maximum 6ft long. Is reinforcement is required or can I use it using plain cement concrete

    • #24 by BenzuJK on October 22, 2013 - 8:00 am

      Hello Ankit,

      You definitely have to provide reinforcement to keep it long lasting.

      Cheers 🙂

  18. #25 by ravish ranjan on July 24, 2013 - 3:03 am

    dear sir
    please give me information about is there any book written by you on thumb rules on building construction in civil engineering? if yes give full information

  19. #26 by DK on January 24, 2013 - 11:16 pm

    I don’t have civil background.
    My Q is – Is there any possibility to make house G+3 without having any columns (or pillars) inside (or within the) space of the house.
    (Sorry, if question is even weird)
    Thanks for reply,

    • #27 by BenzuJK on February 9, 2013 - 7:51 am

      Yes.. of course it is. We can build an house with any pillars or columns inside the space. We could very well hide them so you get a obstruction less space.

      • #28 by DK on February 10, 2013 - 3:56 pm

        Thanks for reply. But, hiding is not the option I’m looking for.
        I have seen some of G+2 buildings with no pillars or columns inside the space. I want to do the same for G+3.
        Please let me know how this is technically possible. I would appropriate if you explain in simple words.
        Thanks a lot,

  20. #29 by harish on January 17, 2013 - 7:18 am

    hi could you guide me for size and distance of columns as i am planning 4 floor building(residential) dimensions 53 feet x 26 feet.

  21. #31 by savariraja on October 9, 2012 - 2:32 am

    it’s very useful thaks. …..awsom

  22. #32 by Ajit Patil on September 15, 2012 - 6:00 am

    Respected Madam,
    I am a regular follower of your civil engineering articles and honored to admit that the information shared by you always enhanced my knowledge in the field and helped me in practical implementation,since I am a practicing civil engineer.Whenever i need any information or want to clear my doubts,will always turn to your page and believe me,it never disappointed.
    Looking forward for more articles.
    With Best wishes

  23. #33 by asad on July 30, 2012 - 10:36 am

    how to calculate all types of loads including slabs,beams,columns on the footing?????

  24. #34 by rodolfo a. felipe on July 8, 2012 - 7:57 am

    whats the size and number of reinforced bars were used in this residence, four 12mm bars or four 16mm bars?

  25. #35 by Abu Naser Sawood on June 18, 2012 - 4:45 am

    Thanku very much. its really helpfull

  26. #36 by Ashoke Kumar Parui on June 14, 2012 - 4:50 am

    I am a Diploma in Civil Engineer in Kolkata. I am very much appreciate to see that your valuable articles.

  27. #37 by Hayat on April 27, 2012 - 3:09 am


    I am constructing my house, The Hall is of 32’*15′ size, Hall has 4 rcc columns in line of 32′ .
    columns are of size 9″*9″ with 6 rods of 12 mm.
    There are no cross beams in the 15′.
    now construction of walls is complete and going for lintal work.
    Please advise is this structure correct ? and how many floors i construct on this … ? do more load been applied on the columns … ?

    • #38 by BenzuJK on December 7, 2013 - 5:07 am

      This is clearly a weak design. If you go for one additional floor above the current one, it would reach the max load carrying capacity limit of 30 tons for the column.

  28. #39 by gunit pal singh on April 15, 2012 - 9:19 am

    gunit pal singh :
    hat”s of 2 u.doing great work,spreading d brightness of a fresher architect was a very useful topic.wil pray 2 my waheguru to inc. ur age by 10 tyms.wid a huge respect.

  29. #40 by Jameson on April 9, 2012 - 2:49 pm

    Dear BenzuJK,

    Thnaks for the articles which were very useful. Could you please help me on the below subject?

    I plan to extend my home, the extention will be completely seperate from the foundation of existing building. The size of extention shall be of size in feets 26* 8. The land is a filled land which was paddy filed in the past and the ultimate soil is clay which is not much strong.

    Due to limited space, I wish to plan for a roof top swimming pool at the roof of first floor of the extention. The water capasity at same size with 4 ft depth shall be around 24 Tonnes. Can I do it considering the nature of land. If possible, can I do it with colum footing. Can I avoid piling by adjusting size of columns. Please help on this matter.



    Doha Qatar

  30. #41 by rhon ammang on February 15, 2012 - 12:51 am

    thanks a lot,,its really a big help for me…

  31. #42 by Gopal krishna on February 14, 2012 - 7:19 am

    i want know taht design of havy rcc foundation for shade (70 Mtrx 40 Mtr)

  32. #43 by Rakesh S on January 29, 2012 - 8:15 am

    It has been advised in the example above:
    When we use a column size of 9″x9″ using four 16 mm bars and the distance should not exceed 4.5 m/13.5 feet.
    Question 1:>My question is when I use a column size of 10″X12″ using four 16 mm bars for a G+2 residential house ->What is the distance between the centre of the two columns that should not be exceeded ?
    Questio2:>Also please let me know the maximum distance between the two columns that should not be exceeded when I use 12″X18″ column sizes with six 16 mm bars for a G+2 residential house.
    Please advise.

    Thank you for talking to amateurs and improving our knowledge.

    • #44 by satyanarayana on April 16, 2015 - 11:37 am

      I am constructing a low cost small house of 30’X16′ with only ground floor and hall size 16X17 , 12X8 bed room and open kitchen. Whether 9″X9″ columns & 6 nors sufficient. can the column distance be 5mtrs instead of 4.5 mtrs

      • #45 by BenzuJK on July 16, 2015 - 5:54 pm

        There are no set rules for the distances between the columns and the sizes of it… There are minimum standards which are used in the supervision of a structural engineer and are not meant for use by layman like yourself. Please contact a civil engineer and get it designed properly.

  33. #46 by FAISAL ZAMAN KHAN on January 19, 2012 - 8:59 am


    i am as civil engineering student i want to ask how can we design the stirrups to decrease the inclined cracks in beams due to combination of axial and shear forces. that is 45 degree.
    how can we bent the stirrups as usual or there is special method.

  34. #47 by Okello Alfred on December 17, 2011 - 5:54 am

    Am a Civil Engineer in Uganda. Thank you for the lessons.

  35. #48 by KHAN on October 23, 2011 - 12:57 am


    • #49 by BenzuJK on October 27, 2011 - 4:45 am

      Hello Khan,
      We are really glad to see that our articles have helped loads of students as well as professionals. Do keep visiting.

  36. #50 by anil on September 21, 2011 - 3:10 am

    good work information for layman very good thanks

  37. #52 by Ghulam Mustafa Vira on September 14, 2011 - 2:52 am

    thanx for this series of articles !!

    • #53 by BenzuJK on September 15, 2011 - 5:40 am

      Thank you so much for the appreciation. Will definitely put up more interesting and informative live examples for better understanding.

      Cheers 🙂

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