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  • Profile photo of amazingjefferyamazingjeffery
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    @amazingjeffery
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    Hi,

    I did a quick search and found some info but not exactly what I was looking for.  Im looking at a house to purchase and the lower level is not built in yet.  There is a room underneath internally but its classed as a storage room at the moment.  Now from the cement to the bearers (the ones that the floor boards sit on??) is is over 2400mm however from the joists? to the cement it isnt legal height  If I were to gyprock or fibro over the bearers but not over the joists leaving them exposed and still less then legal height…could rooms downstairs be created and used as bedrooms or livable dwellings?  Hope i got the right names for the right things, just wondering how much has to be legal height and if exposed beams lower then the legal height would be ok considering they are only a small percentage of the ceiling height.

    Thanks,

    Jeff

    Profile photo of Scott No MatesScott No Mates
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    Technically the height is measured from floor covering to underside of ceiling or lowest protrusion however if the only element below 2400 is the underside of floor joists then it may be acceptable. Generally any room with a  ceiling height below 2400mm is not a habitable room. Refer to your local council building surveyor for a chat.

    Profile photo of armsarms
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    @arms
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    amazingjeffery wrote:
    Hi,
    I did a quick search and found some info but not exactly what I was looking for.  Im looking at a house to purchase and the lower level is not built in yet.  There is a room underneath internally but its classed as a storage room at the moment.  Now from the cement to the bearers (the ones that the floor boards sit on??) is is over 2400mm however from the joists? to the cement it isnt legal height  If I were to gyprock or fibro over the bearers but not over the joists leaving them exposed and still less then legal height…could rooms downstairs be created and used as bedrooms or livable dwellings?  Hope i got the right names for the right things, just wondering how much has to be legal height and if exposed beams lower then the legal height would be ok considering they are only a small percentage of the ceiling height.

    Thanks,
    Jeff

     
     the bearers ( the big ones) hold up the joists(the ones the floorboards are attached to) and as long as finished lined ceiling is 2400 off the finished level of the floor there wont be a problem ,covering the bearer faces does not alter this

    Profile photo of amazingjefferyamazingjeffery
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    Ok so went and took some measurements last night.  From the cement floor to the joists above its around 2300mm, in a 'utility room' already built from carpet to fibro ceiling its 2200ish.  If i was to buy this place and build in in the future what are the methods used to do this to make legal height?  Its a cement foundation so i dont think removing a few cm of that would be an option, and shaving 2 cm off the joists would be quite a task and probably require further reinforcement.  I was thinking if a room size was chosen then only this livable room would require the joists to be shaved or floor to be dug in, a 2nd shower and laundry(existing) would be fine at 2200 according to the BCA.  Any one done this work before or had a similar desire to?
    Another thought was to remove the joists in a area where a room is to be built and replace them with steel RHS members of sufficient size to bare the load. It would have to be looked at closely but im sure an RHS member of equal rating would shave a few cm's in height off it.

    Profile photo of armsarms
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    amazingjeffery wrote:
    Ok so went and took some measurements last night.  From the cement floor to the joists above its around 2300mm, in a 'utility room' already built from carpet to fibro ceiling its 2200ish.  If i was to buy this place and build in in the future what are the methods used to do this to make legal height?  Its a cement foundation so i dont think removing a few cm of that would be an option, and shaving 2 cm off the joists would be quite a task and probably require further reinforcement.  I was thinking if a room size was chosen then only this livable room would require the joists to be shaved or floor to be dug in, a 2nd shower and laundry(existing) would be fine at 2200 according to the BCA.  Any one done this work before or had a similar desire to?
    Another thought was to remove the joists in a area where a room is to be built and replace them with steel RHS members of sufficient size to bare the load. It would have to be looked at closely but im sure an RHS member of equal rating would shave a few cm's in height off it.

    are you mixing your bearers and joists here or am i simply misreading it 10 times

    Profile photo of amazingjefferyamazingjeffery
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    not sure, Joists = supports that hold floor boards up?, Bearers= joist supports? 
    From the cement to the joists (the ones right below the floor boards that run right the way across under the house with only like 300mm spacing is 2300mm.  The bearers are probably only 2000mm. So if i sheeted the celing to the joists this would give 2200ish from floor to ceiling – tiles/carpet.  So an idea was 1 by 1 remove and replace the joists with a equal span and strength RHS as it should be skinnier and give that extra height to apply the ceiling to in hope to make 2400mm

    Profile photo of armsarms
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    amazingjeffery wrote:

    not sure, Joists = supports that hold floor boards up?, Bearers= joist supports? 
    From the cement to the joists (the ones right below the floor boards that run right the way across under the house with only like 300mm spacing is 2300mm.  The bearers are probably only 2000mm. So if i sheeted the celing to the joists this would give 2200ish from floor to ceiling – tiles/carpet.  So an idea was 1 by 1 remove and replace the joists with a equal span and strength RHS as it should be skinnier and give that extra height to apply the ceiling to in hope to make 2400mm

    to get to 2400 if i read this right you will have to gain an extra 100 mm if you lined directly to the joists ,as most joists are 125mm high then no matter what rsj/s you put in it still wouldnt reach legal height

    Profile photo of amazingjefferyamazingjeffery
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    ah your right, ive taken down the measurements on my phone wrong (didnt have a pen). Ive got the keys still so will pop over to measure again properly this afternoon. In any case i think its going to cost more to try and do this stuff then it would add value. 100mm would be alot to gain, and i suspect  the council woudlnt be to worred about a cmor 2?

    Profile photo of itsandrewitsandrew
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    I dont understand what the regulations are regarding ceiling heights etc but what I do know is that councils can be worried about all sorts of things, even if it meets all the codes and regulations (I KNOW this from experience).  Beware of council.  Beware of emotional responses to the situation.  I hope the measurements work out for you.

    Andrew

    itsandrew

    Go as far as you can see and you will see further.

    Profile photo of TrevTrev
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    The Council will apply the Building Code. They will not attach emotion to any decision. The Code requires any habitable room (excluding a kitchen, corridor or bathroom) to have a ceiling height of not less than 2.4 m from finished floor level to underside of ceiling.  This will need to be the measurement to the underside of exposed beams. A lower projection is permitted (e.g. at the edge of a room with a sloping ceiling) if it does not interfere with the proper functioning of the room. Ceiling heights in kitchens, corridors or bathrooms need to be 2.1 m, stairways 2.0 m measured vertically above the nosing line.

    Profile photo of gurjjeetgurjjeet
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    I guess I read somewhere that the height can be 2200 from the lowest joist or whatever to floor but will still depend upon the council.

    the other problem you will face will be Q100 if it is in Queensland(i suppose it is same in all QLD)

    If Q100 kicks in then you have to raise the floor height & that will spell disaster………Gud Luck

    Profile photo of amazingjefferyamazingjeffery
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    Thanks for the info guys. I was chatting to a mate of mine who is currently renovating and he was under the impression that it could be measured from finished floor to underside of floor boards above if the joists werent occupying the majority of space for that rooms ceiling? can anyone confirm what the BCA states the measurements have to be from. If the joists could be left exposed it would look ugly but still functional and adds another room.

    Profile photo of Scott No MatesScott No Mates
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    If your joists are at a standard spacing over the entire area ie 450 mm or 600 mm centres then the floor to ceiling height is measured to the underside of the joists. If however the floor to u/s joists exceed 2400mm over the majority of the room, then the areas of insufficient ceiling height would not affect the room being classed as habitable.

    Profile photo of amazingjefferyamazingjeffery
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    Thanks scott,
    I will get the tape measure out again and have a good look today I think and take some pictures. 

    Profile photo of amazingjefferyamazingjeffery
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    Ok, took some more pictures but left the phone usb at home. However the measurements were 2340mm from cement to bottom of joists and 2460 to bottom of floor boards.  The joists are spaced 450mm each, so the majority of the roof if it is measured to underside of floor boards would be >2400mm = legal height, scott you said that if they are standard 450mm spacing its measured from bottom of joists, do you think the council might make a concession for this?

    Profile photo of TrevTrev
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    The ceiling height will be measured to the underside of the joists from finished floor level. The BCA is a legal document and the Council is not able to make any concessions on the provisions of the Code. The ceiling height in a habitable room needs to be 2400 mm minimum, taken from the top of the floor finish (e.g. carpet, vinyl or timber), not the concrete surface. Sorry but them's the rules. Speak to a building inspector at the Council if you prefer to get a final answer to your concerns.

    Profile photo of amazingjefferyamazingjeffery
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    Thanks,

    Hmm, well its interesting i measured from the carpet to the ceiling upstairs and its 2395mm, so in theory upstairs is not legal.  Is there a timeframe where houses built before a certain date before these regulations were implemented and dont have to meet?

    Thanks,

    Profile photo of TrevTrev
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    The BCA was enacted in October 1996.  Before that date the separate states and territories applied their own respective Building Acts.  The purpose of the BCA was to bring in a nationally consistent set of minimum standards.  The ceiling height of 2400 mm for habitable rooms applied in SA before 1996, not sure about other states.
    If you want to convert the lower level of the house from storage to bedrooms or other habitable rooms you will need to apply for building approval and the requirements of the BCA will need to be met.

    Profile photo of DMG PropertyDMG Property
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    Sorry to jack the thread but it is a similar question. I am purchasing a house that has an existing downstairs with kitchen and bathrooom. It is basically 2 houses/units once I remove the internal stairway. I want to get it zoned as dual occupancy, it is currently res 3 as this is what I think I need to do to lease it separately to upstairs. (Is this correct?) The council doesn't have any plans for the building because of it's age but the main ceiling height is 2.4m although the support beams come down lower than this. Do you think I will have trouble getting council approval for the dual occ. and do I even have to do this to rent it separately?
    Cheers

    Profile photo of OddysseyOddyssey
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    I hear all the talk about 'legal height' but the owners and the real estate agents all brush it off as not important. "Everyone builds in underneath – andhave been doing it for years!" they say.
    So .. what IS the big deal?
    Why DO we need Council approval?
    Whats the impact on what, if you dont have Council approval?
    I was told that if theres not a bed in the 'illegal' space then its "OK".
    But if you have a bed in the 'Illegal space' and the house burns down, the Insurers are within their right to say the space was "illegal" and they are not obliged to pay out.
    Is any of that true or have I thrown a bucket of petrol on the discussion. :-)
    regards 

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