- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 05 Feb 2020
Headroom in buildings and other structures
Between two floors, the headroom is the clear vertical space between the two decks, from the top of the finished floor level of the lower deck, to the underside of the soffit of the upper deck. Low headroom may increase the likelihood of injury or the difficulty of manoeuvring large objects.
The headroom may or may not be sufficient to allow people to pass under easily. If not sufficient, it will not be possible to pass through without crouching or striking the top surface.
On a flight of stairs, the headroom is the vertical distance between the pitch line (or nosing line) and the ceiling, taking into account any bulkheads. Approved Document K of the Building Regulations (section 1.11, diagram 1.3) stipulates a minimum headroom of 2m for all building types – whether on the stairs or on a landing.
Headroom may also refer to the clear, vertical height from a road’s top surface to the underside of a bridge or to the crown of a tunnel (or the ceiling of some buildings such as car parks). A sign indicating ‘low headroom’ warns that some vehicles may not be able to pass through without hitting the underside of the structure. In these cases, the clear height of the available headroom will be displayed, and there may be additional warning signs in advance of the low headroom or barriers to try to prevent impact.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Protecting employees from hearing damage.
One of the largest office buildings in the world.
Who holds the risk for COVID-19?
Insights from New York.
A quick introduction to a very complicated subject.
CIOB suggests the economic reach of construction is double the official figures.
The first US building to achieve BREEAM Outstanding In-Use.
70 buildings from 70 years of Concrete Quarterly. Book review.
Conserving the iron roof at the Albert Dock.
Delivering an infrastructure revolution.
The admissibility of evidence.