Hallways may not get the same level of attention as other home areas, but they tend to be high-traffic spots, and they can contribute significantly to the feel of a space. For instance, they can be used to showcase artwork, light display, or even emphasize the house’s focal point. As such, hallways deserve just as much attention as any other house component.
Of course, let’s not confuse hallways with corridors as the two differ significantly by both definition and function. Even though both terms refer to a passage in a building that ushers us to different rooms, corridors are used mainly with commercial buildings and are subject to the International Building Code (IBC). On the other hand, hallways are used with residential units and are subject to the International Residential Code (IRC).
Hallway Layout (Widths, Heights, and Lighting)
While constructing or considering a house, you want to ensure that the hallway is neither too wide nor too narrow. A moderate hallway will ensure you have sufficient space while also retaining adequate room for other house components.
Generally, hallway specifications in residential units are subject to the IRC. However, different countries and states have customized the IRC standards to suit their local settings.
Section R311.6 of IRC sets the minimum width of a residential hallway to 3 feet. This means that the hallway in your residence cannot be less than 3 feet(914mm) wide. In the US, minimum hallway width of 36 inches (91.44cm) is also recommended to comply with Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Act requirements. Note that a standard wheelchair measures approximately 53.34cm-76.2cm in width (21’-30’). Averagely, the width of hallways in the US range between 42” and 48” (106.88cm -121.92cm). A 60-inch-wide hallway will provide adequate space to fit furniture and allow two people to comfortably walk through (side by side), but this is not common in most residents.
The American standard code for hallway ceiling is a minimum of 8 feet. However, most people prefer their residentials to be at least 9 feet high. More height usually creates room for more design and creativity within the hallway space.
The proper height allows pendants and chandeliers to hang comfortably along the hallways with their bottom at least 6 inches higher than the doors (This provides roughly 84-inch head clearance).
Rescue Openings and Emergency Escape
The IRC requires that you have at least one rescue opening and emergency escape in your residential unit. You should have at least one escape route for each sleeping room, habitable attic, and basement. However, a basement of less than 200 square feet that only houses mechanical equipment can be excepted. An additional opening in another area of the basement that is not a bedroom is also not required.
The IRC minimum net clear opening dimensions include; a minimum opening width of 20 inches, a minimum opening height of 24 inches, and a minimum opening area of 5.7 square feet. The height and width can assume any number of combinations as long as they achieve the recommended minimum opening area specification. The rescue opening can be a window, a swinging or sliding door, or any other opening that satisfies the IRC requirements.
Minimum Size Requirement for a Two-Car Garage
We all love perfection. However, most, if not all of us lack perfect garages. So, what does a perfect garage entail? Most states, cities, and even experts recommend at least 10 ft wide by 20 ft long for a single-car garage and a minimum of 20 feet wide by 20 feet long for a double-car garage. While these garages won’t allow much space for storing extra equipment, they will comfortably accommodate the respective cars.
However, if you seek to keep your car(s) in good shape or insist on storing additional accessories within the garage space, then going a bit deeper and wider is necessary. Ideally, most experts recommend 24’ by 24’ for a double-car garage. The garage also needs to be installed with an automatic door opener and a roll-up sectional area that doesn’t extend onto the apron. A multi-spacer garage and a security gate are also allowed for multifamily dwellings.
As earlier stated, while the IRC outlines the general specifications, most states adopt and customize these specifications to suit their local needs. It is, therefore, important to consult your local building authority when in doubt to get a clear picture of the minimum requirements within your local jurisdiction.