Occupancy Load for a Building

By Brian Ki, P.E. | September 3, 2020

According to the International Building Code (IBC), the occupant load of a building is defined by “the number of persons for which the means of egress of a building, or portion thereof, is designed.” In other words, it is the maximum number of people allowed in the building and takes a critical part in how other portions of the building are designed.

To calculate the occupant load, you will need the reference Table 1004.1.2 of the IBC and can use these steps below:

  1. Classify each space of the building into the code prescriptive categories
  2. Calculate the area of each space
  3. Determine the occupant load factor for each code prescriptive category
  4. Divide the total area of each space by the occupant load factor. This will give you the total occupants allowed for each space.
  5. Add the total amount of occupants for each space to get the total amount of occupants for the entire building.

Once you have the total amount of occupants for the building, you can now move onto designing other features such as egress components, door hardware, plumbing fixtures, etc. If you have any questions or need assistance with calculating the occupant load, give us a call today and speak to one of our licensed architects or engineers!

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