Rooms with higher ceilings always seem lighter and more spacious.
They can feel cooler in summer as the heat rises above your head, not so good in winter though!
They are better for fitting ceiling fans, probably the cheapest form of mechanical cooling. (see this link: Ceiling Fans)
There is more choice of light fittings for tall rooms.
Most builders will normally provide a 2.4m ceiling height as standard. However there are a lot of people who are willing to pay extra for a 2.55m, 2.7m, or even 3m ceilings.
So what are the issues?
According to the Building Code of Australia (BCA) there are certain minimum height regulations.
For most Habitable Rooms (for definition see this link: Habitable Room) – The minimum height is 2.4m
For the kitchen (which is also a habitable room) 2.1m is the minimum allowed. Considering how much time we spend in the kitchen I think it’s strange that this should be considered different to other habitable room.
For Non-Habitable Room – For example bathroom, laundry, hallway, garage, cellar, storeroom then the minimum height is 2.1m.
You do get some dispensation for attics where you are allowed to have a bedroom with a sloping roof as long as 2/3rds of the floor area has a ceiling height of 2.2m. However you are not allowed to include in any floor area calculation any area with a ceiling height of 1.5m.
It can add significantly to your budget when you are Choosing a House or going through the Selection / Pre-Start. For every 300mm that you want to increase the ceiling height for a typical house you can expect to pay in the order of $8,000-$10,000 in 2020 prices. That covers the cost of extra courses of brickwork additional frame cost, and dry lining.
It can affect the Outside appearance of the house. (See this link: Outside Appearance for more information)
Although you can fit a ceiling fan in a room with a ceiling height of 2.4m the fan blades will then be at a height of 2.1m, so you will need to be careful about waving your arms in the air! See the following link for more information: Ceiling Fans
Some builders quote ceiling heights in brick courses so the post on Brick Dimensions explains how to compare brick courses with ceiling height
Quite a lot of people go for Higher Rooms because it does give a more impressive interior effect.
Something to bear in mind is that it can effect the external appearance of the house by making the windows look small.
This photo of a house under construction illustrates this. The additional courses of brickwork between the head of the window and the fascia board looks a bit incongruous.
The alternatives to deal with this for this single storey house are:
Make the windows taller.
Have Overhanging Eaves which brings the fascia lower.
With 2 storey houses the effects of the higher ceiling can be even more pronounced.
If you think you may go for higher ceilings it’s worth thinking about how the house will look from the outside. If the display house you saw has high ceilings its easy to check, otherwise you may need to see a drawing before you make a final decision.
When you are deciding about building dimensions its better to take into account the dimensions of the bricks.
Making sure that all lengths, are based on either all complete bricks, or complete bricks with one half brick.
Similarly all heights should be based on complete bricks. Doing this has the following advantages:
Less wastage of bricks
Savings on labour due to less cutting of bricks
Stronger walls due to more regular bonding
The Work (design) Size of a standard brick is: 76 mm high x 230 mm long x 110 mm wide. These seem unusual dimensions but they are based on the old imperial dimensions of 3 inches by 9 inches by 4 inches.
When calculating overall wall dimensions it is normal to allow for 10mm vertical and horizontal mortar joint between bricks.
I have included ‘Tables of Dimensions for Brickwork’ at the following two links:
Clay brick sizes may vary after they are fired but size variation between bricks averages out when blended properly during laying by a good bricklayer.
There are three dimensional quality levels for bricks DW1, DW2 and DW0
If you want to check the quality of the bricks the normal method of measuring is to measure 20 bricks dry stacked together against the work size of 20 Bricks.
Dimensional Category DW1 means the height and width will differ by less than plus or minus 50 mm from 20 times the work size, and the length will differ less than plus or minus 90 mm.
Dimensional Category DW2 means the height and width will differ by less than plus or minus 40 mm from 20 times the work size, and the length will differ less than plus or minus 60 mm.
Dimensional Category, DW0 means there are no requirements. This is usually reserved for non-standard shaped bricks and bricks that have been rumbled or otherwise distorted during the manufacturing process for aesthetic reasons.