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Building Capacity

Building Capacity

Building Capacity

Problem:  Building 4300 sqft, would like to conduct meetings for up to 150 people, without the need for sprinkler installation, using a seating arrangement of just chairs.

Qestion 1:  Is it possible to limit the capacity of the building by placing a capacity sign, or is it strictly based on square footage and furniture layout?

Question 2:  By reducing the meeting space with walls to less than 2100 sqft, which would meet the restrictions for seating using the chart at 7sqft/person, which leaves an atrium area, sectioned off by walls and then a door into the meeting area.  Since the atrium area is not the meeting area, how does this affect the sprinkler formula for meeting places with less than 300 folks?

Question 3:  There are some office spaces, if more offices were constructed to keep the total occupancy of the building under 300, is this what the NFPA 101 really means for the sprinkler requirement?

Thanks, this is a real headache, since our group is much less than the 300, although our space is 4300 sqft.  Appreciate any feedback.

RE: Building Capacity

You are in a wrong forum!

This is an architectural design and Building Code issue and not an engineering issue.

RE: Building Capacity

While this may be more of a architectural question, it does kinda apply to this NFPA forum since it is a NFPA 101 question.  Plus, I believe there is such a thing as fire protection engineering.  I am not a NFPA 101 expert, but the following is my understanding:

1.  The 7 sq ft/person is based on open floor space with people standing comfortably.  15 sq ft/person is commonly used where a certain amount of space is occupied by furniture such as conference rooms.  The correct thing to do is to figure out worst case how the room could be used.  As for a sign, you would have to check with your local fire marshal and building code official.  A sign in general is a poor substitute for adequate life safety.

2. It comes down to which areas you define as Assembly vs. Business occupancy.  I would be tempted to say the atrium is assembly occupancy.

3. Similar answer to number 2.  I say offices are business occupancy.

I guess the real answer is contact your local building official and discuss it with them.  They will ultimately approve or reject your plans.

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