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Measurements

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The ANSI Standard for Measuring Houses

In April 1996 the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) adopted a standard for measuring single-family residential buildings. American National Standard Z765-1996 was developed through a process of consensus among a wide variety of participants.

 

The ANSI standards base floor area calculations on the exterior dimensions of the building at each floor level and include all interior walls and voids. For attached units, the outside dimension is the centerline of the common walls. Internal room dimensions aren’t used in this system of measuring. The ANSI standards define “finished area” as “an enclosed area in a house suitable for year-round use, embodying walls, floors, and ceilings that are similar to the rest of the house.” Measurements must be taken to the nearest inch or tenth of a foot, and floor area must be reported to the nearest square foot. Garages are specifically excluded.

Finished Area is an enclosed area in a house that is suitable for year-round use based upon its location, embodying walls, floors, and ceilings that are similar to the rest of the house.


Finished areas that are connected to the main body of the house by other finished areas such as hallways or stairways are included in the finished square footage of the floor that is at the same level. Finished areas that are not connected to the house
in such a manner cannot be included in the finished square footage of any level.


The finished square footage of a house is to be reported to the nearest whole square foot for above grade finished square footage and for below-grade finished square footage. When using SI units, floor area is reported to the nearest 0.1 square meter.

No statement of a house’s finished square footage can be made without the clear and separate distinction of above-grade areas and below-grade areas.

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Excluded Area is a sum of interior areas of all rooms (measured to the inside surface of room walls) that are excluded from the Interior Area for a floor. Prescribed area exclusions can vary from region to region. Examples of exclusions are spaces open to below, garages, cold cellars, crawl and reduced height spaces, non-enclosed open spaces, such as decks and balconies.

The footprint of all interior walls and staircases is typically included in the reported Interior Area for a floor. The iGUIDE PDF floor plans use color to highlight all included areas. All excluded areas are shown white.

Square Footage is an area of a house that is measured and calculated in accordance with the standard. When employing Metric or Standard International (SI) measurement