Have you given much thought to standard ceiling height? If the ceilings in your home are feeling a little close for comfort, it could well be that your home is not meeting the Standard Ceiling Height of Australia, as set out by the Australian Building Codes Board.
WHAT IS THE STANDARD CEILING HEIGHT?
The National Construction Code states that habitable rooms must have a standard home ceiling height of 2400mm (2.4 metres). Habitable rooms include bedrooms, living room, dining room, family room, and other rooms where you spend most of your time.
On the other hand, you’ve got your non-habitable rooms, which sounds like something you WOULDN’T have in your home, but they are the rooms that you spend infrequent time in, such as kitchen, bathroom, toilet, laundry, and hallways. The regulation ceiling height for these spaces is 2100mm (2.1 metres).
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WHY IS CEILING HEIGHT SO IMPORTANT?
Have you watched a tall person walk under a ceiling fan? I know, and I hold my breath. Safety is your most obvious reason for setting minimum ceiling heights and why the average ceiling height in Queensland homes is 2700mm (2.7 metres).
Another reason for higher ceilings is the cooling of the room. The higher the ceilings in a room, the more allowance for heat to rise further from the ground. This means conditions at “people height” are vastly improved. This is an incredibly important function of raised ceiling heights in a state as warm as Queensland.
WHAT IF CEILINGS DON’T MEET THE AUSTRALIAN STANDARD CEILING HEIGHT?
It can be a tricky situation and something you need to know when hunting for a new home. We come across ceilings that are not standard during our pre purchase building inspections in Brisbane. In this circumstance, my top piece of advice is simply to DON’T buy the house.
Any room under 2.4 metres in height is automatically deemed a non-habitable utility room, meaning it can’t be used as living space and won’t allow the house to be valued or marketed as having a certain number of bedrooms or living areas. This is often seen in renovated Queenslanders. If two of your five bedrooms are under 2.4 metres in ceiling height, your home will be deemed a three-bedroom home.
If the purchase of the house is already signed, sealed, and delivered, you could assess the possibility of vaulted ceilings, which need to be 2.4 metres in height for no less than two-thirds of the space. This may only be a workable solution in a larger living space. Still, a qualified and experienced building contractor could give you an honest opinion of what is and isn’t possible.
HOW CAN I AVOID THIS ISSUE?
A building inspector will determine if there are issues with ceiling height and offer advice. This is one of the many reasons it’s important to have an independent building inspection carried out before purchasing a property.