comments 14

Floor numbering conventions

One of the things that is common in Europe is that building floors often start with zero for the ground floor and then go both up and down from there.

This is different than most of North America where the ground floor is usually floor number 1 (regardless of what it might be called) and then the floors go up from there.

Using the pictured example (above), the key difference is that, with the ground floor as zero, you end up with the above-grade floors being off by 1 and the top floor being 6 instead of 7.

There is a certain rationality to the European approach that I like, but I am curious how suites on ground floors get typically numbered. I will seek this out and report back.

At Junction House, our ground floor residences follow 101, 102, 103, etc. Following the exact same logic, the European equivalent would be 001, 002, 003, etc. This, admittedly, feels a bit odd.

Which floor convention do you find more intuitive?

Either way, I’m thinking about adopting the European approach for no other reason than that height is a sensitive topic in the world of development, so one less “headline” floor could be helpful. (Half-joking)

14 Comments

  1. Ivan

    Units start at 1 and go up from there. there usually isnt a corelation with units and floors like in North Americas . So as an example, in a small building that has 2 units per floor, unit 1 and 2 would be on the ground level, units 3 and 4 on the first floor and so on…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ivan

    Units start at 1 and go up from there. There usually isnt a corelation with units and floors like in North America . So as an example, in a small building that has 2 units per floor, unit 1 and 2 would be on the ground level, units 3 and 4 on the first floor and so on…

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  3. Nancy

    Floor numbering

    Leaving out #13 lets you catch up with Europe so it really doesn’t matter

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  4. doug pollard

    When you think about it how can there be a floor which is nothing (zero) so I would vote that the North American system is more based on logic and I guess the Europeans on custom. I imagine after all these years everybody can still find everybody

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Justino Palazuelos

    In Mexico City, the ground level (called PB for Planta Baja) for infill buildings tends to be used for parking and the lobby. When they do appear, they tend to have a larger garden. So they are called GH01, GH02.

    So it’s not zero, it’s just something different. The equivalent would be saying Lower Level, or Ground Floor.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. dougdosdall

    Germans don’t number their apartments at all generally. Your name goes on your door, if you like, and your mailbox. Friends who come over will just be told what floor you live on the “door on the left” or the “red door” or some such thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ocean Jangda

    In Spain, the first level above the ground floor is often referred to as the Principle unit. This comes from buildings built in pre-lift eras when the lowest apartments were the largest and most desirable units in the building. In buildings that were later renovated with elevators, the ground floor is 0, the next floor is P, and then 2 and so on. Also, it’s normal for apartment buildings to be very narrow with the ground floor being retail. In that case, the only people who see the elevators are residents, so it makes sense that the first level of units (2nd floor in North America) would be 1 (or principle), indicating the first floor of residences.

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  8. François Lebas

    For the projects I have been involved with in France, units on the the ground floor were following a 0XX convention (001, 002, 003, etc.).
    It seemed very logical to me at the time.
    I believe this has to be with the slight difference in meaning between “Floor” in English and “Étage” in French which is closer to “Upstairs”.
    “1er étage” is then the 1st level upstairs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • doug pollard

      no too dangerous! you could as easily be shot as have gorgeous women knocking could even be shot by a gorgeous woman

      Like

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