The International Fire Code (IFC) and International Building Code (IBC) require the posting of maximum occupant load signs for every room or space that is an assembly occupancy (2018, Section 1004.9). An “assembly occupancy” includes the use of a structure or portion thereof, for the gathering of people for purposes such as civic, social or religious functions; recreation; food or drink consumption; or awaiting transportation. To be considered an assembly occupancy, the occupant load of a room or space must be 50 or more, or more than 750 square feet.
Some examples of assembly occupancies include movie theaters, restaurants and bars, churches, fitness centers and transportation terminals. Areas that are not assemblies – such as offices, warehouses and manufacturing facilities – are not required to have a posted occupant load sign.
During construction permitting, design professionals calculate an area’s maximum occupancy in accordance with Section 1004 of the 2018 IBC/IFC, and fire and building plan reviewers verify the accuracy of the calculations. This number is used by fire and building departments to create an occupant load sign for the business owner. The sign is required to be posted in a conspicuous location and maintained by the owner.
If permit records are not available that provide the approved occupant load, LFRA’s Community Safety Division will calculate an occupant load in accordance with Section 1004 (based on the room’s use and size) so a maximum occupancy sign can be provided and posted.
LFRA will provide the occupant load sign as a convenience to the owner. While the calculated occupant load will be code-compliant, the calculation shall not be used for future permitting or construction, means of egress sizing, fire separation requirements, door hardware, etc.; this will require submittal of documents by a licensed design professional. LFRA will issue signs simply to accurately estimate the maximum capacity for the room, area or space.
To inquire about obtaining an occupant load sign from LFRA, call the Community Safety Division at (970) 962-2498.