Last edited 29 Aug 2019

Dwellinghouse definition

See also: Types of dwelling


[edit] Approved document B definition

Approved document B, Fire Safety, Volume 1 Dwelling houses, defines a dwellinghouse as:

A unit of residential accommodation occupied (whether or not as a sole or main residence):

  • By a single person or by people living together as a family.
  • By not more than six residents living together as a single household, including a household where care is provided for residents.

It does not include a flat or a building containing a flat.

A dwellinghouse is regarded as large if it has more than one storey and any of those storeys exceed 200 sq. m.

[edit] Approved document L1A definition

Approved document L1A, Conservation of fuel and power in new dwellings suggests that the word ‘dwelling’ means:

‘...a self-contained unit designed to accommodate a single household.‘

It notes that ‘…buildings exclusively containing rooms for residential purposes, such as nursing homes, student accommodation and similar, are not dwellings

[edit] Approved document M2 definition

Approved document M, Volume 2: Buildings other than dwellings, suggests that the term 'dwelling' means:

'...a house or a flat. However, new blocks of flats built as student accommodation are to be treated as though they are hotel/motel accommodation in respect of space requirements and internal facilities.'

[edit] UK Census definition

The UK Census identifies types of dwelling as; houses, bungalows, flats, maisonettes and bedsits.

The 2001 Census definition of a dwelling is:

'a self-contained unit of accommodation. Self-containment is where all the rooms (including kitchen, bathroom and toilet) in a household’s accommodation are behind a single door which only that household can use. Non-self contained household spaces at the same address should be counted together as a single dwelling. Therefore a dwelling can consist of one self-contained household space or two or more non-self-contained household spaces at the same address.

'Ancillary dwellings (eg former ‘granny annexes’) are included provided they are self-contained, pay separate council tax from the main residence, do not share access with the main residence (eg a shared hallway) and there are no conditional restrictions on occupancy.'

For more information see:, Definitions of general housing terms.

[edit] English Housing Survey

The English Housing Survey Housing Stock Report, 2014-15, prepared by the Department of Communities and Local Government, defines a dwelling as:

'A unit of accommodation which may comprise one or more household spaces (a household space is the accommodation used or available for use by an individual household).'

A dwelling may be classified as shared or unshared. A dwelling is shared if:

Dwellings that do not meet these conditions are unshared dwellings.

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki