BCAB #1586 - Occupant Load Calculation Sentences 3.1.16.1.(1) and (2)

July 17, 2003

BCAB #1586

Re: Occupant Load Calculation Sentences 3.1.16.1.(1) and (2)

Project Description

The subject is a two storey noncombustible building used as a licensed beverage establishment. The facility operates as a “stand-up bar” with a limited amount of fixed seating. The net floor area that patrons occupy, excluding washrooms and storage, is approximately 285 m2. The gross floor area is approximately 312 m2.  Using the criteria of 9.2 mm/person, and an aggregate exit width of 3251 mm, the exit capacity is 352 persons.

Reason for Appeal

Sentence 3.1.16.1.(1) states when determining an occupant load, the occupant load shall be based on the number of persons for which the area is designed but not less than that determined from Table 3.1.16.1.

Sentence 3.1.16.1.(2) states where a floor area or part of a floor area has been designed for an occupant load other than that determined from Table 3.1.16.1.(1), a permanent sign indicating the occupant load shall be posted in a conspicuous location.

Appellant’s Position

The appellant also contends the Building Code permits the occupant load can be determined by using two methods, being:

-        using Table 3.1.16.1., or

-       establishing an occupant load different than that derived from the Table by providing building facilities/systems for that number of persons. If this alternative method is used, a sign indicating the occupant load must be posted in a conspicuous location.

In this particular circumstance, using Table 3.1.16.1., the appellant considers “space with non fixed seating” (0.75 m2 per person) to be the appropriate application of the table for the stand-up area, and “dining, beverage and cafeteria space” (1.2 m2 per person) for the table areas. Using this criteria, Table 3.1.16.1. would establish an occupant load of 240 persons, and Sentence 3.1.16.1.(1) would require the building be designed for no less than this number.

The appellant contends Sentence 3.1.16.1.(2)  permits a larger occupant load than that indicated when using Table 3.1.16.1. if building facilities are provided for the greater number. If this alternative is used a sign indicating the occupant load must be posted.

Building Official's Position

The Building Official considers 1.2 m2 per person for dining and beverage seating area and 0.95m2 per person for the stand up areas must be used to establish the occupant load. This determination must also be considered as the maximum occupant, even when additional building facilities are provided. For the subject building, the official has established a maximum occupant load of 186 persons.

Appeal Board Decision #1586

Article 3.1.16.1. permits an occupant load other than that determined by Table 3.1.16.1. Therefore it is the determination of the Board that the designed occupant load in combination with appropriate signage,  as required in Sentence 3.1.16.1.(2), is acceptable.

George Humphrey, Chair