Ceiling Height Consideration When Calculating Living Area Square Footage In A Home

Dated: June 24 2014

Views: 5110

There often seems to be a lot of confusion as to the actual living area square footage of a room with slanted or angled walls and/or a low ceiling such as a converted attic or second story.  Hopefully, this information from American National Standards Institute (ANSI) will help alleviate some confusion. American National Standard Z765-1996 was developed through a process of consensus among a wide variety of participants. These included the American Institute of Architects, the Appraisal Foundation, the Building Owners and Managers Association, the Manufactured Housing Institute, the National Association of Realtors, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, HUD and others.

Level ceilings must be at least 7 feet high, and at least 6 feet 4 inches under beams, ducts and other obstructions. There is no height restriction under stairs. If a room has a sloped ceiling, at least one-half of the finished floor area must have a ceiling height of at least 7 feet. Otherwise, omit the entire room from the floor area calculations. If a room with a 
sloped ceiling meets the one-half-of-floor-area-over-7-feet requirement, then include all the floor space with a ceiling height over 5 feet.
Lofts and finished attics must be accessible by a conventional stairway or other access to be counted. If you can only reach the loft by climbing a ladder, it’s not part of the finished floor area regardless of the ceiling height.
Builder plans may or may not follow this rule and as a result, it can be confusing to a homeowner is their plans may include these types of areas in the living area square footage. There can be discrepancies with the tax assessor as well as the square footage may be estimated.  It's always recommended that you employ the services of a professional in your area to help you understand and calculate living area square footage as it pertains to your specific situation.

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