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Room Occupancy Formula?

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  • Room Occupancy Formula?

    Is there a set standard or formula for determining room occupancy? [I live in the USA.] I realize that perhaps each jurisdiction is free to set their own standards but I'm wondering about a national code. I've done a search online and found some varying results. I'd like to be able to point to something official or as close as I can get.

    The buildings I have in mind are commercial, no more than 4 stories tall, and a mix of conference rooms, auditorium, labs, and workshops. This is an exercise for my own purpose and will not be used in any official way.

    Here's hoping someone can link me or post some guidelines here.


    - Keen

  • #2
    The International Fire Code sets occupancy levels dependent on the type of occupancy, class of construction, whether the building is sprinklered or not, number of fire exits, and other factors. I would suggest getting a copy of the IFC through the International Code Council.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."


    • #3
      check table 1004.1.2


      you have to know the square footage of the floor/ building

      the use of each room/ area

      then pick out the closest thing on the table and divide by the factor.
      that will give you rough estimate

      such as office use with 3000 sq ft/ 100 = 30 occupants.


      • #4
        what state are you in?

        and possibly city if you want to post it???


        • #5
          Thanks for the replies. It's helped.

          Originally posted by fire49 View Post
          what state are you in?

          and possibly city if you want to post it???
          Virginia, Loudoun County (west of DC)


          • #6
            Your state has a "state" code which cannot be changed locally

            """"The local code officials and inspectors must enforce the USBC as adopted by the board, without authority to make any amendments.* The purpose of this system of adoption and enforcement is to benefit the citizens of Virginia by promoting uniformity and efficiency in the construction industry, many aspects of which are interstate in nature.""""



            • #7
              Also a lot depends on regional differences.

              Say for example, a 20x20 room might be able to accommodate 80 women from Texas. The same room will fit 30 women from Ohio or 10 women from Nebraska.
              Firefighter/EMT/Technical Rescue
              USAR TF Rescue Specialist


              • #8
                The Life Safety Code, NFPA 101 has a table for determining occupancy loads based on a few factors. Using a number of square feet per person, it takes the size of the given space and returns the number of people the space can safely hold. The OL then determines what safety features are necessary, rather than modifying the OL to what features are there. Clear as mud? Basically the actual size and use of the space determines the number of people allowed, then based on the number they determine how you must protect the occupants. This way you do not rely on the building owners/occupants to regulate occupancy numbers, but in fact protect them anticipating the "worst case".

                Thus your answer depends on what code the occupant load calculations are based in in your State.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by FiremanLyman View Post
                  Also a lot depends on regional differences.

                  Say for example, a 20x20 room might be able to accommodate 80 women from Texas. The same room will fit 30 women from Ohio or 10 women from Nebraska.
                  I thought everything was bigger in Texas! You guys really need to get a handle on the meth problem down there!


                  • #10
                    Don't forget - in addition to the square footage calculations, you need to take into account the number of EXITS, their orientation (if there is more than one) - and their size!......

                    A room with only 1 exit, no matter the size, is limited to 50 people.

                    For a room with multiple exits that are REMOTE from each other, generally you calculate .2 inches per person in the exiting capacity - for an unsprinklered building.


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