What A Load of…Information!
If redesigning a space in your building, it is important to consider the new occupant load and how it can affect other items in the building. The use (or function) and the size of the space will determine the occupant load allowed by code. Different functions require different numbers of square feet per occupant. For example the code for standard business areas requires 100 square feet per person. So a 3,000 s.f. suite of offices would have an occupant load of 30 people. For an assembly area with tables and chairs, the code requires 15 square feet per person. So the same 3,000 s.f. suite could have an occupant load of up to 200 people! Almost certainly the building’s existing elements would not support this, as most buildings are designed with a “base” occupant load. Several items that occupant load affect are: restroom fixture counts; number of exits; width of corridors, stairways, and doorways; parking space counts; etc. Therefore any proposed changes should be analyzed by an architect to help determine allowable uses or necessary renovations to support any desired increase in occupant load.