If you divide a house in two, what minimum spaces must you take into account so that the house can be registered as a home? That is, what is the legal minimum sizes allowable by the planning regulations?
There is a well-known regulation In Spain since 1944, specifically, the Order of the Ministry of the Interior of February 29, 1944, which establishes the minimum conditions that must be met by all types of housing, regardless of the firm or person which they belong. This regulation has been in force till very recently.
Minimum legal size in the Valencian Community
In the Valencian Community there is the Integrated Text of the Order of December 7, 2009 of the Ministry of Environment, Water, Urban Planning and Housing, which approves the conditions of design and quality in development of Decree 151/2009, of 2 of October 2009.
In the Region of Murcia there is Law 5/1995, of April 7, on habitability conditions in residential buildings and promotion of general accessibility. This regulation, however, is developed in the field of accessibility rather than habitability, which is why the Order of the Ministry of the Interior of February 29, 1944 continues to be used.
Minimum legal size in Catalonia
The Generalitat approved on October 31, 2012 a decree that regulates the habitability conditions that homes must meet and that reduces the minimum area that any newly built apartment must have from 40 to 36 square meters. The purpose of the rule was to make housing design requirements more flexible and adapt them to the new socioeconomic reality, modifying the decree approved in 2009, which established that new apartments should have a minimum area of 40 square meters.
Minimum legal size in the Region of Murcia
In this region there is the Law 4/2017, of June 27, on universal accessibility in the Region of Murcia “Ley 4/2017, de 27 de Junio, de accesibilidad universal de la Región de Murcia”, In this regulation minimum dimensions are stated for stairs which have to be comply with and links up with national requirements specified in the National Building Regulation the CTE.
As an example, we will take the Valencian regulations
Although there may be some small variations between the regulations of other communities and the national one the CTE, in most cases the limitations regarding sizes and number of rooms are very similar. It must be said that in addition to the regulations of the regional communities, municipal and local urban regulations must also be taken into account, such as regional and local planning laws, etc.
Another very important factor that we must take into account is that in every case the most restrictive regulation will always applies.
In the first place we will have to distinguish if the building is a new construction or it is a rehabilitation. Secondly, we will take into account whether the home will be adapted (it will be used by a person with a disability). Thirdly, if the use of the building will be used for accommodation and fourthly, if the building is an existing one and we are in the process of rehabilitating it.
Permissible Minimums in new housing
Minimum net areas
The minimum construction area of a standard dwelling will be 30 m2.
The minimum interior net area of a dwelling-apartment will be 24 m2.
The dwelling can have different degrees of compartmentalization, depending on whether or not the different basic spaces are grouped in the same enclosure.
|Types of enclosures||Area in m2|
|Kitchen - dining room||12|
|Living room - dining room||16|
|Living room - dining room - kitchen||18|
|Bedroom - Living room - Dining room - Kitchen||21|
In homes with two or more bedrooms, at least one of them will be 10 m2 of net area, not including the storage space.
The laundry room may be located in the kitchen, in the bathroom, in the toilet or in a specific area for that function, always reserving the necessary area for the placement and use of the planned appliances.
Relationship between the different spaces or enclosures
The relationship between the spaces of the dwelling will adjust to the following conditions:
- The bathrooms space will be located in a compartmentalized enclosure, classified as the personal hygiene area.
- For this purposes of Basic Document HS 3 Indoor Air Quality of the Technical Building Code CTE, any room or area of the home in which a bathtub or shower is located will be considered a wet room, and its area will conform to the established. in the article. 5 d) of this provision. (Here the regulations warn us that we must take into account the corresponding regulation for the ventilation of wet rooms)
- When the dwelling has more than one bedroom, a space for personal hygiene can be accessed from the circulation spaces of the dwelling.
- The bathroom and toilet will not be on the way to access another room or enclosure.
Ceiling heights and spaces between furniture
- In the dwelling, the minimum free height will be 2.50 m, admitting unevenness of up to 2.20 m, with occupation of up to 10% of its useful area on the floor of each room. In circulation spaces, bathrooms, toilets and kitchens, the minimum free height may be 2.20 m.
- Two types of minimum figures must be registered in the rooms or venues:
- The figures free of obstacles, which allow circulation through the house. These figures can overlap, if the functions are grouped in the same enclosure.
- The figures of furniture that allow the location of the furniture in the dwelling. These figures cannot be overlapped with any other figure, since each one is intended for its specific furniture. The lowering of the doors can invade the figure free of obstacles and the figures by furniture.
This means that an obstacle-free circle of the following dimensions must be inscribed:
|Living room||Dining room||Kitchen||Dirty clothes||Bedroom||Bath|
|Obstacle free figure||1.2 in diameter||1.2 in diameter||1.2 in diameter||1.2 in diameter|
|Figure for furniture||3.00x2.50||2.5m diameter||1.6m between parameters||1.10x1.20||
At least 2.60x2.60 2.00x2.60 or 4.10x1.80
We are going to undertake the description of a house of minimum dimensions in the Valencian Community using its Order of December 7, 2009 of the Ministry of Environment, Water, Urban Planning and Housing, which approves the quality conditions of design and urbanization.
Specifying the minimum sizes for each room and the minimum size for a house, which turns out to be 30 m2 with a net area of 24 m2 if it is an apartment. By net area I mean the floor area excluding exterior and interior walls, in other words the actual walkable area.
Even the sanitary fixtures must have a minimum acceptable size, for example, the minimum accepted width for sinks, toilets, bathtubs and showers is 70 cm, for the sanitaryware the measurements provided by the manufacturers are accepted.
We also have to take into account the minimum useful spaces (in front of these toilets) to take into account and that must be free of obstacles, for example, we must have a useful space of 70 cm in front of a sink, toilet and bidet and 60 cm in front of the shower tray and bathtub.
What about the laundry area?
Even the washing areas must have minimum dimensions, although this area could be incorporated into the kitchen or bathroom if there is no dedicated area for this purpose. The washer and dryer must have a width of 60 cm, although the dryer can be placed on top of the washing machine or vice versa. There must be a sink and this toilet must be at least 45 cm wide. The depth area for the apparatus mentioned above is 60 cm. In front of this equipment there should be at least 60 cm of working space.
Vertical and horizontal circulation spaces
All houses must have an entrance opening with a minimum width of 80 cm and a height of 2 m and the house must have at least one other opening (which could be a window) with a minimum width of 90 cm with a total of 1, 50 m2. This space is to be able to introduce large furniture. The minimum width for corridors is 90 cm, although it will be acceptable if it is narrowed to 80 cm by some structural element in a maximum length of 60 cm.
In stairs, the minimum height is 2.20 m, although a height of up to 2 m will be accepted for some structural element for a maximum of 25% of the total area of the stairs.
Landings must have a minimum width equal to their length with a minimum length of 70 cm, measured at the centre line of the stairs.
In buildings with more than one dwelling that have an itinerary for the disabled, this itinerary must extend, inside the dwelling, to a bedroom and also to a personal hygiene room. All door openings in this itinerary must have a minimum width of 80 cm.
Storage and equipment
Each home will have a storage space for clothes and belongings that will not be less than 0.80 m3 per user with a minimum depth of 55 cm, which may be in the form of built-in cabinets, or a wardrobe, or both.
Drying clothes and bedding.
To dry the clothes, we can choose one of the following solutions:
- Natural drying system in an outdoor space such as a closed patio or terrace.
- A natural drying system on an exterior or interior facade of the building, but must have protected the views from the street with some kind of screens.
- In any case, the drying systems must not interfere with the openings necessary for ventilation and lighting in the rest of the house.
In all homes, the areas indicated below will have, at least, the following minimum equipment:
- Kitchen: Sink with hot and cold water and space for washing machine with water tap.
- Space for dishwasher, stove, oven and refrigerator with electrical connection. Cooking space Minimum worktop space of 2.50 m in length, including sink and cooking area.
Wet rooms (kitchen, bathroom and toilet) must be lined with washable material and be waterproof up to a minimum height of 2.00 m. The lining of the cooking zone must also be fire-retardant.
If the kitchens are located in an area where other tasks are carried out, this space must also have all the walls up to a minimum height of 2.00 m, covered with washable material and be waterproof up to a minimum height of 2.00 m. The material must also be non-combustible.