The occupant load for a building is based on the number of people that can be in a specific area of a building. It uses the actual square foot of a room or area multiplied by a factor indicated in the Fire Code for that type of room use. The total occupant load for a building is calculated by adding all of the various room/area occupant loads together.
Certain types of rooms are exempt from calculation, such as a bathroom, because the bathroom would normally be occupied by someone from one of the other calculated rooms.
The occupant load indicator listed in the Fire Code is different for different types of room uses; for example, an area used for an office does not need as much room as a room where manufacturing equipment is used. The seating area of a church with fixed pews is different from the seating area of a restaurant.
I just started a business and moved into a new building, what do I have to do?
You must obtain a Certificate of Occupancy or a change in occupancy. In order to get this certificate, you must call the Fire Marshal's Office and schedule a Fire Inspection for a Certificate of Occupancy.
An inspection is required because buildings are built based on the contents or operations to be performed inside the building. When the occupancy changes, the Fire Inspector has to check to make sure the fire protection related constructions features of the building are consistent with the new occupancy and it contents and operations. You will be advised at the time if additional fire protection systems or fire resistive construction must be added based on your operations. If the building is found to meet the fire code for your occupancy requirements, the Certificate of Occupancy will be granted. If the building does not meet the specific Fire Code requirements, the Inspector will provide you with information on how to proceed from that point, and who to contact.