How Do You Calculate Occupancy Loads?


Quick Answer

To calculate the occupancy load of a room, first determine the area of the space by multiplying the length by the width. Then, divide the area by the occupant load factor, which is based on how the space will be used, according to hardware consultant Lori Greene for Allegion.

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Full Answer

The occupant load factor is the amount of square footage per occupant required for different types of buildings, explains Greene. For example, a warehouse requires more square footage per occupant than a nightclub. This ensures the building meets code requirements for safety and emergencies. Both the International Building Code and the National Fire Protection Association provide occupant load factors for different types of buildings. Their tables are for typical use and must be compared against the code that applies to that type of building in the particular city.

For assembly occupancies with fixed seating, such as a theater, the seats are counted to determine occupancy, states Greene. An assembly space in which the seating is not divided, like a stadium with bleachers, uses 18 inches per person in the calculation. Assembly rooms without fixed seating are divided into less concentrated and concentrated. Less concentrated assembly spaces require more space per person because they may have tables and chairs, while concentrated spaces require less space per person because they only have chairs.

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