I have just read that the US Building Code requires a 90" ceiling height
in all living space. When did this rule come into effect? The basement
cceilings of the 30-yr old house we bought last year might have been
just 90" from concrete floor to joists, but now they are 83" high from
top of carpet to suspended ceiling. The home inspector made no comment
Where did you read this?
As far as I know, there is nothing called "US Building Code", and if there
there's no particular reason to assume that it applies in your
may also be special rules for habitable basements.
Massachussets building code appears to require 7'3" between finished
The UBC (Uniform Building Code) calls out minimum ceiling heights and is
widely adopted, but I agree with Goedjn, you should check with your local
building official to see what THEY require.
Then again, if the ceiling is high enough for you then live with it.
Building code is typically enforced at the time of construction so it is
unlikely that you will be raided. If it is too low for you then better
remove the suspended ceiling.
OK, I should not have referred to it in that way, as though there were a
single uniform building code. My source is a book called _basements:
step-by-step projects_, published by Creative Homeowner, Upper Saddle
River, NJ (c) 2003. The phraseology the book uses throughout is
"According to building codes, . . .", "Building codes generally require
that . . .", "Building codes usually allow . . .", etc. The book does
acknowledge that codes vary from place to place, but claims to use as
its standard "the latest edition of 'One- and Two-Family Dwelling Code'
published by The Council of American Building Officials (CABO)."
WRT ceiling heights, the book says: "According to building codes, a room
in the basement must have a minimum ceiling height of 90 inches over at
least one half of the room. The only exceptions are bathrooms, kitchens,
and hallways, which are allowed a ceiling height of 84 inches" (page 13).
On 04/20/04 03:51 pm firstname.lastname@example.org put fingers to keyboard and
launched the following message into cyberspace:<br>
Yes, the basement was just the same when inspected (by an insector we
hired, not by the municipality's "Building Inspector"), but I wondered
whether this was a violation he missed (since I know some people here
have a low opinion of "home inspectors"), or whether the code had
changed and ours was still grandfathered. The "finishing" of the
basement certainly took place after the original construction, because
above the suspended ceiling there are still the original "basic ceramic"
lampholders screwed to the joists. I have no idea whether a permit was
ever granted (if needed) for the finishing; it was done long before the
immediately preceding owners' time: they were here only a few years and
moved only because of a work-related transfer.
On 04/20/04 06:03 pm The Firm2 put fingers to keyboard and launched the
following message into cyberspace:
Yes, according to the Residential Code, your space is 1 inch too short. I
can't tell when it came into effect, but I don't think anybody owes you
anything. Under beams or girders spaced not less than 4 feet, 6'6" would
have been allowed. The owner maybe could have put the ceiling higher and
used the beam allowance, but probably opted to put up the ceiling with the
1-inch violation in order to keep the whole ceiling flat. That's probably
the real answer to your question.
A home inspection is not a code inspection.
There is no single building code for the entire country. Check with
your local building department for the minimum ceiling height.
Also, keep in mind that codes change over time and it is unfair to
expect a home inspector to know what codes were in effect at any
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.