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The right building for proper occupant

The requirements of the Life Safety Code and NFPA 5000 are based on the classification of occupations. This classification of occupations is based on the type and condition of the occupant of these occupations. The classification of occupation is not based on the functions carried out in the building but rather on the type and condition of the occupants in the building.

For example, in a college or university, the function is usually educational. However, classification of occupation is not educational. It is classified as an educational institution through 12th grade. Institutes or universities, are after the 12th grade. The classification of occupation according to the Life Safety Code and theCode Building Construction and Safety would be an occupation or business meeting, even though the function carried out inside, is education. For example, large conference rooms would be considered occupations of assembly, while typical classrooms, business would occupations.

By using the Life Safety Code, the classification of the occupation is the first question that the user must answer. In fact, the first paragraph in the Life Safety Code, paragraph 1.1 has an asterisk, indicating that there is a note attached. The note in the Annex, states that the first thing the user of the Life Safety Code to do is categorize the occupation. These occupational classifications are contained in Chapter 6 'Classification of Occupations "of the Code. In most cases, the occupancy classification is obvious. If it is not obvious, then it can be determined by eliminating what is not. What remains is the classification applicable to the occupation.

Often the building will contain multiple occupations. In these cases, the owner or designer must decide whether these multiple occupations will be considered as separate activities or as a mixed occupation. Either option is enabled by the NFPA 101, but one of them must be chosen. If the option of mixed occupancy is chosen, then the most restrictive clauses should occupations involved apply. There is no "more restrictive occupation."

Some people believe that health occupation is the most restrictive of the Life Safety Code. However, this is not the case. For example, the health care requires no smoke alarms in the rooms of hospitals. But, rooms for duty staff would be considered as guest houses or pensions (Safety Code 6.1.8.1.2). Chapter 26 for guest houses or new and existing pension does require smoke alarms in every room (26.3.4.5).

Some might argue that the rooms above should be considered secondary. However, the Security Code section 6.1.14.1.3 Humanaen its limited uses that could be considered as secondary to commercial use, business, industrial, and storage areas or less than the established threshold for occupational occupational load, such as small conference rooms have capacity for 49 people or less.

Each occupation has different clauses in codes based on the types and conditions of the occupants. It is extremely important to make first the classification of occupation. Code requirements are based on the classification of occupation, and not necessarily on what is called the building.

By Chip Carson, P.E.

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