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2.21i Guidance – Maximum Occupancy Calculations

The occupancy capacity of premises (or part of premises) should be calculated as follows:

If individual seats: by the number of seats. If bench seats or similar continuous seating, by dividing the length of such seating by 400 mm.

In other premises or areas, including those areas occupied by loose seating, dividing the floor area in square metres by the relevant occupant load factor given in the following table:

Table: showing occupancy load factor.

Description of storey or room occupancy
or part thereof
Occupant Load Factor
(persons per square metres)
Area for standing 0.3
Bar area 0.3 to 0.5
according to the amount and layout of seating and tables
Canteen, dining area, restaurant, lounge bar 1.0 to 1.5
according to the amount and layout of seating and tables
Church or other place of public worship 0.5
Common room, conference room, committee room 1.1
Concourse, crush hall, queuing lobby 0.7
Assembly area, dance area 0.55
Library, museum, art gallery 4.6
Exhibition hall 1.5
Studio (radio or Television) 1.4
Lounge, reading room, writing room 1.9

The area of any washrooms, toilets, cloakroom, or stairways should be disregarded when calculating the occupant capacity.

Exits of sufficient number and width must be provided in suitable positions for the occupant capacity as calculated above.