Occupancy Review and Classification

Occupancy Review and Classification

Based on the type or use of your facility, Premier Fire Consulting LLC, will provide you with the occupancy type and classification for any given use as described in the California Building Code.

Building occupancy review and Classification refer to categorizing structures based on their usage and are primarily used for building and fire code enforcement. The are usually defined by model building codes and vary, somewhat, among them. Often many of them are subdivided.

occupancy review
Professional Building

The following is based on the International Building Code, the most commontly used building code in the United States:

  • Assembly (Group A) – places used for people gathering for entertainment, worship, and eating or drinking. Examples: churches, restaurants (with 50 or more possible occupants), theaters, and stadiums.
  • Business (Group B) – places where services are provided (not to be confused with mercantile, below). Examples: banks, insurance agencies, government buildings (including police and fire stations), and doctor’s offices.
  • Educational (Group E) – schools and day care centers up to the 12th grade.
  • Factory (Group F) – places where goods are manufactured or repaired (unless considered “High-Hazard” (below)). Examples: factories and dry cleaners.
  • High-Hazard (Group H) – places involving production or storage of very flammable or toxic materials. Includes places handling explosives and/or highly toxic materials (such as fireworks, hydrogen peroxide, and cyanide).
  • Institutional (Group I) – places where people are physically unable to leave without assistance. Examples: hospitals, nursing homes, and prisons. In some jurisdictions, Group I may be used to designate Industrial.
  • Mercantile (Group M) – places where goods are displayed and sold. Examples: grocery stores, department stores, and gas stations.
  • Residential (Group R) – places providing accommodations for overnight stay (excluding Institutional). Examples: houses, apartment buildings, hotels, and motels.
  • Storage (Group S) – places where items are stored (unless considered High-Hazard). Examples: warehouses and parking garages.
  • Utility and Miscellaneous (Group U) – others. Examples: water towers, barns, towers.

Many buildings may have multiple occupancies. These are referred to as “mixed occupancies” and the different parts will be required to meet the codes for those specific areas. An example of this is a shopping mall with underground parking. The shopping area itself is Group M (mercantile), while the parking area would qualify as Group S (storage).

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