5 home-building hot spots that can violate code

There are plenty of laws and regulations to follow when you're building a home. Following these tips can help you keep everything up to code.

5 home-building hot spots that can violate code

1. Laundry and kitchen basics

A dwelling is usually required to have:

  • Kitchen sink and facilities for cooking food
  • A bath or shower
  • Clothes washing facilities with a laundry tub and space for a washing machine
  • Toilet facilities with a wash basin
  • Laundries in general shouldn't be part of a kitchen.

2. Ceiling heights

  • The minimum ceiling height for habitable rooms is 240 centimetres (94 inches).
  • Larger homes often have ceilings ranging from 270 centimetres (106 inches) to 300 centimetres (118 inches) in height.
  • Laundries, kitchens, bathrooms and hallways can have a ceiling height of 210 centimetres (83 inches).
  • Sometimes authorities will make an allowance in rooms with sloping ceilings, as long as the lower ceilings don't interfere with the "proper functioning" of the room.

3. Room space and sizing

  • The minimum area for a useful bathroom is approximately 180 x 180 centimetres (70 x 70 inches).
  • Rooms with any wall dimension less than 300 centimetres (118 inches) would be considered small.
  • Living or lounge rooms ideally should have all dimensions over 360 centimetres (142 inches).

4. Hallways, roofs and stairs

  • Minimum widths for hallways and stairs are about 80 centimetres (31 inches). But 100 centimetres (39 inches) is a more acceptable width.
  • The approved dimensions for doorway openings are 90 x 210 centimetres (35 x 83 inches).
  • Standard doors need to be 82 centimetres (32 inches) wide by 204 centimetres (30 inches) tall.
  • Very large rooms may be expensive to build because the ceiling and roof may need steel or timber beams to make it structurally sound.
  • Factory-made trusses can be used to span large areas.

5. Wall widths

The prescribed wall widths for houses are:

  • Timber-framed internal walls: 9.5 to 12 centimetres (3 1/2 to 4 inches)
  • Brick internal walls with render: 13 centimetres to 14 centimetres (five to 5 1/2 inches)
  • Brick veneer walls with plasterboard linings: 27 centimetres (11 inches)
  • Cavity brick walls with internal render: 28.5 centimetres (11 inches)
  • Solid brick: 23 centimetres (nine inches).

To build your home, you'll need to follow the national building codes, plus any by-laws and regulations of the local authorities. With all these laws finally followed, your home can be safer and stronger.

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