Building Occupancy Codes and Access Control Tutorial

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Nov 01, 2018

A building or room's classification can greatly impact which building codes must be followed. In terms of access control, these 'occupancy codes' dictate how openings can be locked and what equipment is required, often representing a range of hundreds of dollars per door.

This report will instruct how to determine the occupancy classification of a space, and which codes apply. The points we cover include:

  • Why classification is necessary
  • Code impact on lock hardware selection
  • Classification definition and key categories
  • Finding classification ratings
  • Comparing classification types
  • Handling mixed occupancies
  • Developing manual ratings

* ******** ** ****'* ************** *** ******* ****** ***** ******** codes **** ** ********. ** ***** ** ****** *******, ***** 'occupancy *****' ******* *** ******** *** ** ****** *** **** equipment ** ********, ***** ************ * ***** ** ******** ** dollars *** ****.

**** ****** **** ******** *** ** ********* *** ********* ************** of * *****, *** ***** ***** *****. *** ****** ** cover *******:

  • *** ************** ** *********
  • **** ****** ** **** ******** *********
  • ************** ********** *** *** **********
  • ******* ************** *******
  • ********* ************** *****
  • ******** ***** ***********
  • ********** ****** *******

[***************]

Impact ** ****** *******

********* ***** ****** ***** **** ** **** ******** *** ** fitted ** *****, **** ******** *** *** (** ***) ** exit ******* *** ********.

************, ********* ***** ******* ***** **** ******* **** ** **** to ****** ***** ****** *** **** '*', '*', '*', '*', 'M', *** '*' ******. * *********** '*' ************** **** *** require **** ******* ** *****.

** ***** *****, *** ***** *** *** ******** ******* *********** ********* ******* ********* ***** **** (**: '*' ****) ***** *** model ***** ** *** ******** **** ** ***. *** **** may ***** ** ********** **** ***** **** ********. *** ********* code *** ****** ***** ** ***** *** ****** ******* ** allowed *** ***** ***********.

*** ********* ** **** ******* ** ***** ****** ***** ******* can ******* ****** ***** **** ** ********** **** ** **** (e.g., ******* ** ******* ******) ** **** *** ******* ***** like ******** **** ***** ***** ** ***.

*** **** ** **** ******* (***** *****), *** ******* ******* ********.

** ***** ** *** **** ****** ***************, ************* ******** **** (IBC) ******** ******** '*', ******** '*', ** *********** '*' ***********, with ** ******** **** ** ** ** ****, ******* **** devices *** ***** ******** **** * **** ** *****. *** any **** ****** '*' ***********, ***** ******** ** ******** ********** of *** ******** ****.

******* ****** ********, **** *** ******** **** ******* *** ***** ******* ********, Educational, ********, *** *** **** *********** **** ** ******** **** of *** ****** ** ****. *** *******, **** ** (******** ********** ****) ******** ***** ******** ** **** **** ******** ** ***** within ** **** ** *** ******** ******* ***** *** '****-*******' areas, ******* ******** **** **** *** *****, **** **** *** amps, ** ******* ********/******* ***** ********** ******** ******** ***** ** **********.

Why ************** ** *********

*************, * ******* ** ********* *** ****** *** *** ****** classification ** ******.

*********** ***** ****** **** ** *** *******, ***** **** *** ***** ********* died ******* ************ **** ****** ****** *** ****** *** **** designed **** *** ******** ***** ** ****** ******** *****. ***** disasters **** ***'* ************ ********** ****(***** *****, ******* ****** ***) **** ***** *** ********** ** properly ******** *** ********** ****** ****** ** * *********, ********** resulting ********* *** **** *** ****** ****/****** ***** ** * ****** consequence:

****** ********* ***** *** ******** ** **** *********** ******** ********** areas ******, ********** ****** ************ *** **** ******* ********** **** physical ****** ** * *******.

Door ******** ******** ** ****

*** ******, ***** **** ** **** ******** ** ******* ** must ** ********** **** *** ****** ** ***** ******** ** code. ****-******** *********** ***** ******* ******* ****** ***** ******** *******, *** *** ********* **** ********** *** ********* **** *** to *** ****. ** ***** **** ****** ** *** '****** on ****** *******' *******.

Classifications *******

************* ************* ************ **** ******, *** ******* ** *** ********* *** similar *** *** ** ********* *******. ********** ** *** ********** of *** ********, *** ********* ******, ******** *****, *********, ******** storage, *** ********** ******** ********** ** ******** ******* ******* *** same ***** **********.

** ***** ** ************ ****, *** ***** ******* *** ****, and **** **** ** ****** ***** ** ************ *** *****. The **** *** ******** *****, **** *******, ********* *******, ***********, lighting, *** **** ***** **** ** **** ******** *** ** used ** ***** ** ***** ** ***** **********:

  • ******** *****: **** ****** ********** *** ******* ****** ** ****** *** can ****** ** * ***** **************, ********* ** ******* **** area, ********* *****, ******** ********, *** *** ****.
  • ******** ***************: ***** ******* *** *******, *** ******* ************ *** ***** to * ***** ***** ** *** ** ** ******** *** use.

*********, **** ***** ******* *** ********** ** ********** ** ******** engineers ****** ******, *** ** ** ********* ********* *** ******** access ******* ********* ** ****** ***** **********.

Ratings ***** ** ****** *********

** **** ***** ***** ******* *** ********* ** ******* **** or **********, ******* ******* ** ** "********* ********" **** **** example:

********* ******** '******* *****' ** ****** ** ******** **** **************, like '******** ****' ** '******' ********** ***** ***** ****** ***** on **** *** ***** *******. ***** *** **** **** '********* Loads' *** '********* (** ********) **************', *** ****** ***** *** the ***** *** ** **********.

** ***** *****, *** ******** **** **** ***** *** ***** ******* ************ ** ** ******** ** *** ***. ** address *** ***** *********** ****** ** *** ***** ******* "********** Manual *******".

Classification *****

**** ** * **** ** *** ********* *************** ******* ** the************* ******** **** (***):

  1. ********: ****** *-*, *-*, *-*, *-* *** *-*
  2. ********: ***** *
  3. ***********: ***** *
  4. ******* *** **********: ****** *-* *** *-*
  5. **** ******: ****** *-*, *-*, *-*, *-* *** *-*
  6. *************: ****** *-*, *-*, *-* *** *-*
  7. **********: ***** *
  8. ***********: ****** *-*, *-*, *-* *** *-*
  9. *******: ****** *-* *** *-*
  10. ******* *** *************: ***** **

***** ************** ** ********* *************** ***** ** *** *** ******** or **** ** ******** ** ** ****. *** *******, ****** are ***** '*', ************* ****** ***** '*', *** ******* '*'. From *****, *** ***-************** ** ***** ** ******** *** ** size ******* ******* ********* ** ***.

**** '******* *** **********' ***** *-* ** *-*. '*-*' ********** carry * '******** ******' ******, ***** '*-*' ***** '***-******'.

** *** **** ** '*************' ** '*' ***********, *** ******** I-1 **:

"[****] ****** **** **** ** *******, ** * ** **** basis, *** ******* ** ***, ****** ********** ** ***** *******, live ** * ********** *********** *********** **** ******** ******** **** services. *** ********* *** ******* ** ********** ** ** ********* situation ******* ******** ********** **** *****."

***** *-* **:

"[****] ********* ** **** **** **** ******* *** *** ***** restraint ** ******** *** ** ******** ** ******* *** *** generally ********* ** ****-************ *** ** ******** ******** *** ***** the ********’* *******."

** ***** *** ******* *** **** ** *********, *** *********** utility ** *** **** *** ******** ***********.

Mixed ***********

********** ***** ** ***** ****** ********* *** ** ***** ***********. This ** ** ********* ******* ** **** *********, *** *** exact ************** ** ******** ** * ******** *** ****** ***** critical ********* **** ******* **** ********** *********, ****** ** *********, emergency ****** ******, ** **** ******** ************ *** *********.

** *******, '***** ***********' *** * ****** ** ****** ******* because **** ** * ***** ********* ******* * **** ********* life ****** ** ****** ***********, ** **** ** ******** ** any *********** ****.

*** *******, ** * ***** '**** ******' **** ** ********** by * **** ********* '*******' ******, *** ****** ***** **** abide ** *** '**** ******' **************. *** **** ************ *** apply ** * ***** ** * ******* ********* (******* ** 'R' ****) **** ******** * ***** ***** **** ** ******** (an '*' ****). ** **** ****, *** ****** ****** ***** would **** ** ** ******** **** **** ******* ********** ** they **** ******* ** ** '*' **** ** *** ******* of *** '*' ***** ********* ****.

Developing ****** *******

** ************* ********* ***** *** ******* ****** ** *****, *** need *** ***** ** ** **** ********. ********* ***** ********** are ********* **** ** *********, ***** *** ****** *** **** is ******** ** *** ******** ****** ** ******* * ** IBC, ****** "*** *** ********* ***************".

**** ************

** ***** ** ********* *** ******* ****** ** ****** *** are **** ** ****** ** ** * **** ** ********, the *** ********** * ******* ****** ** ****** ** ******* per ********. ***** **** ****** * ******** **** ** **** 0.3" ** ******* *** ******, *** *** ***** ***** **** 0.2" ** ******* *** ******.

**** ** ******* ******* **** **** **** *** * ******* occupancy ** *** ******. **** **** ***** ** ***** ***" - ***" ** *******. **** ******** ** ****** ** ****** in ***** **** ******** **** ***** **** ************* ***** ** five *****.

******** ****

** ********* *** ******** ****, *** ***** **** ** ** calculate *** **** ** *** ***** ** ******** ** *********** the ****** ***** *** ***** ***** *** *****. *** *******, if * ********* ******** ** **** (~***) ** ** **** (~15m), *** **** **** ******** **** ****** **** (~*** **. m). *** **** **** ** ** ****** **** ****** ** the ******** **** ****** ***** ** ***(****)***** ****.*.* – ******* ***** **** ********** *** ********, ***** ****** ********* ** *** ********* ****. *** ********* value ******** *** **** ***** *** ******** ** *******.

**** *** ****** ******** **** *** **** **********, ** *** be **** ** ******** ******* ******* ** *** **** ******* must ** ****/**** ** *****, ** ******* ** *** *** AHJ's ***** ********* ***** **** '** ********' ***** ** *** space.

[****: **** *** ********** ********* ** **** *** ************* ********* in ****.]

Comments (5)

Great write up. Thanks for the overview. Something that many people overlook.

Excellent write up.

One troubling factor as it relates to access control and security is the officially designated egress path. I often encounter situations where the seemingly obvious egress is not the official egress path. In one case a large ground floor atrium public entrance lobby required an egress path INTO the private office space area. This means that crash bars are installed on the unsecured side in order to allow egress INTO the office space where another set of exit doors is located. This is due to the occupancy rating of the space versus the limited egress capacity of the front doors.

The result is a door equipped with security hardware that contradicts normal human behavior, or, in many cases, businesses give up and remove the security hardware leaving them vulnerable.

These are important factors that might be avoided when considered in the architectural design review process but are often overlooked by the architect leaving facility managers with the challenge of how to live with the way the building was built.

Regarding this example above:

"Take an example meeting room hall that has a maximum occupancy of 500 people. That room needs at least 100" - 150" of doorway. With doorways at around 36 inches in width that function hall would need approximately three to five doors."

How does this example end up with a variable answer of between 100" - 150" of doorway? Shouldn't you be able to calculate exactly how much doorway is required?

The flexibility is for accommodating architectural aesthetics.

An architect may really like the look of 32" doorways, so they decide to outfit the space with several of them, but to be code compliant they need to install wider 40" doors in two or three spots.

Or they chose to install two 36" doors adjacent to each other rather than a single double door sans mullion. Or a countless array of other minor details that might render a design non-compliant.

The specification is variable so it can apply to a general space without causing an avalanche of exceptions or RFIs.

Interesting and informative article and helps shine some light on some situations we've all likely been in when installing delayed egress mag locks on doors leading into a seemingly smaller space that also have a card reader on the outside. Odd, but there is usually a stairwell egress door somewhere close on the other side of the door with the card reader and the delayed egress lock.

Question >>> for the infamous pool gate lock at an apartment/condo complex where we are asked to install card access control. I have seen many variations on the locking method and gate hardware, as well as the challenges of making egress as simple and foolproof as possible. Would there ever be a situation where an actual panic device would be required on the gate opening versus the more common methods, even if an electric strike is used? The usual screens/guards would need to be in place to prevent someone from reaching through to pull the panic device towards them, but wondering it a high occupancy pool area would fall under any of the scenarios for needing a true panic device versus exit hardware like a lever or push paddle?

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

H.265 Usage Statistics on Apr 19, 2019
H.265 has been available in IP cameras for more than 5 years and, in the past few years, the number of manufacturers supporting this codec has...
ACRE Acquires RS2, Explains Acquisition Strategy on Apr 19, 2019
ACRE continues to buy, now acquiring RS2, just 5 months after buying Open Options. One is a small access control manufacturer from Texas, the...
Access Control Course Spring 2019 - Last Chance on Apr 19, 2019
Register for the Spring Access Control Course. IPVM offers the most comprehensive access control course in the industry. Unlike manufacturer...
Door Operators Access Control Tutorial on Apr 17, 2019
Doors equipped with door operators, specialty devices that automate opening and closing, tend to be quite complex. The mechanisms needed to...
Alarm.com Favorability Results 2019 on Apr 15, 2019
The once dot com startup has evolved to become a core provider for home security and is now expanding into commercial. In their first entry in...
ISC West 2019 Report on Apr 12, 2019
The IPVM team has finished at the Sands looking at what companies are offering and how they are changing their positioning. See below for 50+...
Pole Mount Camera Installation Guide on Apr 11, 2019
Poles are a popular but challenging choice for deploying surveillance cameras outdoors. Poles are indispensable for putting cameras at the right...
Spring 2019 50+ New Products Directory on Apr 08, 2019
We are compiling a list of new products for Spring 2019 and have over 50 already. Contrast to Fall 2018 New Products Directory and Spring 2018...
Startup GateKeeper Aims For Unified Physical / Logical Access Token on Apr 04, 2019
This startup's product claims to 'Kill the Password' you use to keep your computers safe.  They have already released their Gatekeeper Halberd...
Airship VMS Profile on Apr 03, 2019
Airship has been developing VMS software for over 10 years, however, with no outside investment, and minimal marketing, the company is not well...

Most Recent Industry Reports

H.265 Usage Statistics on Apr 19, 2019
H.265 has been available in IP cameras for more than 5 years and, in the past few years, the number of manufacturers supporting this codec has...
ACRE Acquires RS2, Explains Acquisition Strategy on Apr 19, 2019
ACRE continues to buy, now acquiring RS2, just 5 months after buying Open Options. One is a small access control manufacturer from Texas, the...
Access Control Course Spring 2019 - Last Chance on Apr 19, 2019
Register for the Spring Access Control Course. IPVM offers the most comprehensive access control course in the industry. Unlike manufacturer...
Riser vs Plenum Cabling Explained on Apr 18, 2019
You could be spending twice as much for cable as you need. The difference between 'plenum' rated cable and 'riser' rated cable is subtle, but the...
Verint Victimized By Ransomware on Apr 18, 2019
Verint, which is best known in the physical security industry for video surveillance but has built a sizeable cybersecurity business as well, was...
Milestone Drops IFSEC on Apr 18, 2019
Milestone has dropped out of Europe's largest annual security trade show (IFSEC 2019), telling IPVM that they "have found that IFSEC in EMEA no...
The Fastest Growing Video Surveillance Sales Organization Ever - Verkada on Apr 17, 2019
Verkada has the fastest growing video surveillance sales organization ever. In less than 2 years, they already have more salespeople in the US...
Door Operators Access Control Tutorial on Apr 17, 2019
Doors equipped with door operators, specialty devices that automate opening and closing, tend to be quite complex. The mechanisms needed to...
Securadyne CEO: IPVM 'Entertaining For An Ignorant Few' on Apr 16, 2019
Securadyne's CEO Carey Boethel is unhappy with IPVM's report - Failed Integrator Rollup, Securadyne Sells to Guard Giant Allied. Indeed, he...
Dahua Repositionable IR Multi-Imager Camera Tested on Apr 16, 2019
Dahua has released their first repositionable multi-imager camera, the Multi-Flex 4x2MP, claiming integrated IR, true WDR, and flexible...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact