By Robert Trotter, CBO, CFM, MCP
The occupant load, in number of persons for whom means of egress and other provisions are required, is determined on the basis of the occupant load factors of Table 188.8.131.52 of the 2000 edition of NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code® that are characteristic of the use of the space or are to be determined as the maximum probable population of the space under consideration, whichever is greater. For example: A healthcare occupancy has a floor of 30,000 square feet of patient sleeping rooms. Therefore, divide 30,000 by 120 which gives a minimum occupant load of 250 persons. These are minimum occupant loads for which egress capacity must be provided. The actual occupant load may exceed this if egress capacity is sized accordingly. Remember, these factors represent the use of the area being calculated not the occupancy classification. A healthcare occupancy may have any of these uses on the same floor without fire resistance rated separation.