Occupancy Classification

From Architect Wiki

Buildings, and sometimes portions of buildings, are organized into classifications based on the use or activities planned for the space. These are called Occupancy Groups. The groups are used to determine the life-safety requirements for a particular space.

See Building Uses for a listing of uses with their appropriate occupancy classifications.

Occupancy Groups

Occupancy Description
A Assembly Assembly uses include social, recreational, and public gatherings of 50 people or more. This grouping has five subgroups each with it's own specific requirements and differentiate between intensity of use.
B Business Business uses include offices, service or professional activities, storage of business and accounting records. Education facilities past the 12th grade are also included. Note that retail or wholesale sales are classified as Group M, Mercantile.
E Educational Educational uses include schools for 12th grade an under, including day care for children older than 2 1/2 years of age, with 6 or more occupants. Day care facilities for no more than 100 children under 2 1/2 years old may be classified in this group when each day care room is located on the level of exit discharge and has an exit door opening directly to the exterior. For day care facilities with less than 5 children, Group R-3, Residential may be used. For educations uses over 12th grade, group B Business should be used.
F Factory Factory uses include manufacturing and industrial processes such as brewing or chemical processing. There are two subgroups within this category that differentiate between hazard levels. If the hazard levels exceed certain thresholds the Hazardous Occupancy Group may need to be used. Within the Factory Occupancy there are two subgroups
H Hazardous Uses within this group include manufacturing, storage, and processing with a high potential for physical of health risks. There are specific and detailed requirements about the types and amounts of flammable, toxic, corrosive, or explosive materials that may be used or stored. In addition to the building code, there will most likely be specific fire, planning and zoning regulations from the local jurisdiction that govern the project.
I Institutional Institutional uses include facilities where the occupants are not able to fully care for themselves. Examples include correctional, assisted living, health care, and residential care facilities. There are four subgroups in this occupancy group that differentiate the use based on level of care the occupants are able to give themselves.
M Mercantile Mercantile uses include the sale of merchandise, either retail or wholesale, and the related stocking or display of such items.
R Residential Residential uses include any space that is used for living or sleeping when not in a supervised or incapacitated setting that would be classified under the Institutional Occupancy group. This group has four subgroups which differentiate between residential densities.
S Storage The storage group includes storage no classified under that H Hazardous Occupancy group. This classification has two subgroups which differentiate between hazard levels.
U Utility This group includes agricultural buildings and other miscellaneous spaces and facilities such as barns, private garages, carports, greenhouses, aircraft hangers, sheds, stables, towers, and other similar structures.