Joe_Carrick

Living Area ?

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Should chases and other furred areas be considered a part of "Living Area"? 

 

Normally, I would just make the walls around such spaces "No Room Definition" so that they would be counted as a part of the larger room.  However, this creates a problem with the "Room Interior Elevations" ignoring those walls - except where they intersect with other walls.

 

How do you handle this conundrum?

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I include in total.  It is heated area.

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I try to follow the ANSI Z765 standard, which includes interior chases/etc. as Finished Area, eg Living Area.

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I just make them a closet and re-name to Void 1,2,3,4, so it's included b/c someone has to build it ,and I charge by the square foot.

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This question falls back on the appraiser. And the answer is a BIG yes indeed.

 

First there is foundation below and roof above, so why shouldn't it be counted. If the Chase is adjacent to the Garage but surrounded on 2 or 3 sides by living area, I might include it in the Garage Area. Especially if I'm fighting tooth and nail to keep the area a specific size. 

 

All this being said, I do not use the Room Definitions to total my areas. I create a 3D Slab and stretch and shape it to cover the area I want then query it's coverage. That's how I calculate my square footage.

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Agreed with include in Living area- and so does my building department.

Both floors of a stairwell also.

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OK, so the key is to just not include in the Schedule.

 

2 hours ago, RL-inc said:

Both floors of a stairwell also.

Really?  That's not correct any place I know of.

 

4 hours ago, dshall said:

It is heated area.

Not by my way of thinking.  It's just dead space.

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I include those voids in the room finish schedule also or the square footage won't jive with the site plans

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4 minutes ago, Joe_Carrick said:

 

2 hours ago, RL-inc said:

Both floors of a stairwell also.

Really?  That's not correct any place I know of.

 

I do the same...always have.  IMO it really makes sense for almost every square footage usage a person can think of. 

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11 minutes ago, Joe_Carrick said:
4 hours ago, dshall said:

It is heated area.

Not by my way of thinking.  It's just dead space.

 

It's really only "dead space" if you truly isolate those areas by placing them outside the building envelope. 

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I mark those as non-conditioned areas in the room DBX and included in the living space

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5 minutes ago, Joe_Carrick said:

OK, so the key is to just not include in the Schedule.

 

Really?  That's not correct any place I know of.

 

Not by my way of thinking.  It's just dead space.

 

Really?  You do not include duct chases in the heated floor area?  Wow.  The city and everybody else has been doing it wrong for 30 plus years.  

 

And yes,  the stairwell is always counted twice.  Not only for floor area (truly a bit of gray area here) but also for FAR. 

 

With that being said,  I have been known to be wrong quite often.

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Why when the void is not heated, but Stairwells are.

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Heated Floor area (aka Conditioned Space) is Interior area (not Living Area) and the Ceiling Heights are important to calculate the volume.  From the standpoint of sizing an HVAC system the Volume is what's important, not Floor Area.

 

9 minutes ago, dshall said:

You do not include duct chases in the heated floor area?

Would you count an Attic as heated space just because there are ducts in the Attic?  Sometimes the furred areas are just for Plumbing or just to enclose a structural element like a Steel Column.

 

There are a lot of things to consider when determining what is Living Area, what is Conditioned and what is neither. 

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8 minutes ago, Joe_Carrick said:

Heated Floor area (aka Conditioned Space) is Interior area (not Living Area) and the Ceiling Heights are important to calculate the volume.  From the standpoint of sizing an HVAC system the Volume is what's important, not Floor Area.

 

Would you count an Attic as heated space just because there are ducts in the Attic?  Sometimes the furred areas are just for Plumbing or just to enclose a structural element like a Steel Column.

 

There are a lot of things to consider when determining what is Living Area, what is Conditioned and what is neither. 

 

You win Joe.  If you know the answer I am not sure why you asked the question.  I was just trying to share my experience with the city of San Diego over the last 37 years and thousands of jobs.  

 

Would I count the attic as heated space because there are ducts in the attic?  Is that a serious question?

 

 

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Here are some excerpts from Wikipedia:

  • Floor area ratio (FAR) is the ratio of a building's total floor area (zoning floor area) to the size of the piece of land upon which it is built. The terms can also refer to limits imposed on such a ratio.

    As a formula: Floor area ratio = (total amount of usable floor area that a building has, zoning floor area) / (area of the plot)

  • Common exclusions to the total calculation of square footage for the purpose of floor area ratio (FAR) include unoccupied areas such as mechanical equipment floors, basements, stair towers, elevator shafts, and parking garages.

From Investopedia:

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It seems odd that there is not a uniform definition for what should be included in living space.

Here in Bend, I have had accessory dwelling unit additions where the size allowed by the planning department was based on a percentage of the "Living Space" of the main dwelling.

When I asked how we were defining "Living Space" they told me that was based on the building departments interpretation.

The building department has no definition of "Living Space" nor is there one in the Oregon structural code.

( There is a definition of conditioned space however. )

 

 

In regards to the stairwell area being counted on both floors, the plan intake department here only started requiring this about 2 years ago.

In Portland I have had to include all floors for quite some time.

 

I have also had appraisers only calculate the floor area that the stair system started on and not the open area above.

(2 story structure only)

The builder and realtor have had some issue with the total living area sq.ft. difference from what I am showing on the plans and what the appraiser says is on site but I have to go back to what he local building department requires to issue a permit and what they will turn in to the assessors office.

 

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1 minute ago, Joe_Carrick said:

Here are some excerpts from Wikipedia:

  • Floor area ratio (FAR) is the ratio of a building's total floor area (zoning floor area) to the size of the piece of land upon which it is built. The terms can also refer to limits imposed on such a ratio.

    As a formula: Floor area ratio = (total amount of usable floor area that a building has, zoning floor area) / (area of the plot)

  • Common exclusions to the total calculation of square footage for the purpose of floor area ratio (FAR) include unoccupied areas such as mechanical equipment floors, basements, stair towers, elevator shafts, and parking garages.

From Investopedia:

 

 

I am sure the city of san diego plan checkers read wikipedia.  As I said,  you win.  

 

BTW,  here is an easy rebuttal.....  wikipedia does not count parking garages?....  do you really believe the city will not count a parking garage as floor area for FAR.  BTW,  is that a parking garage that has only one wall open or 3 walls open or 70% of wall area open.....  does it matter?

 

Joe,  you surprise me,  I thought you would of known how the City of San Diego determines what areas to use for FAR.  But you are the Architect and I am a lowly designer.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, RL-inc said:

It seems odd that there is not a uniform definition for what should be included in living space.

Here in Bend, I have had accessory dwelling unit additions where the size allowed by the planning department was based on a percentage of the "Living Space" of the main dwelling.

When I asked how we were defining "Living Space" they told me that was based on the building departments interpretation.

The building department has no definition of "Living Space" nor is there one in the Oregon structural code.

( There is a definition of conditioned space however. )

 

 

In regards to the stairwell area being counted on both floors, the plan intake department here only started requiring this about 2 years ago.

In Portland I have had to include all floors for quite some time.

 

I have also had appraisers only calculate the floor area that the stair system started on and not the open area above.

(2 story structure only)

The builder and realtor have had some issue with the total living area sq.ft. difference from what I am showing on the plans and what the appraiser says is on site but I have to go back to what he local building department requires to issue a permit and what they will turn in to the assessors office.

 

 

That is why it is so important to understand who is determining the definition.  Is it the City?  Is it the school district?  Is it the Planning Dept.?  Is it the zoning department?  Is it the owner?  Is it the builder?  Is it the health department?  

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What the heck just happened?  We went from talking about what we included as Living Area to the definitions of and local requirements for figuring FAR. Not the same thing and may even use 2 different sets of criteria in many cases. 

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My public school kids are not allowed to cite Wikipedia as a reference.

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