Other Significant Changes To IBC Pertaining To Commercial Interiors
What are some other significant changes to the 2015 IBC as it pertains to commercial interiors?
Some changes worth noting deal with how occupant load is calculated along with clarifications on how the use and occupancy of some spaces are to be classified.
The calculation for determining occupant load for Mercantile (retail) occupancy has been simplified to the factor of 60. The basement and grade floor factor of 30 is deleted. Storage, stock and shipping is still factored at 1 occupant per 300 square feet, but otherwise the balance of Mercantile spaces are factored at 1 occupant per 60 square feet.
Net Floor Area is clarified to be easier to understand and applied in determining occupant load. The net floor area is now defined to be the actual occupied floor area, NOT including areas used for permanent building components, such as wall thickness, closets, shafts, fixed equipment, corridors, stairways, toilet rooms, and mechanical rooms. This clarification helps bring the occupant load down by excluding floor space that is not used by the occupant.
Another clarification that affects Group F — facilities used for processing food and/or preparation helps better classify small-scale food processing facilities in mixed-occupancy buildings and retail sales. The code now clarifies that Group B is to be applied to kitchens under 2500 square feet in floor area.
With regard to training and skill development facilities, it is often difficult to classify spaces used for training when they occur outside an educational facility. For spaces used for skill development whether it be for martial arts, tutoring, gymnastics, music, etc., the code now clarifies that Group B Classification is appropriate, when the occupant load is under 50 occupants. Otherwise training rooms and similar assembly rooms typically classified as Group A-Assembly, will maintain that classification.
While storage rooms less than 100 square feet in floor area still hold the same classification of the portion of the building to which they are accessory, the aggregate area of such rooms or spaces may not exceed 10 percent of the floor area of the story nor more than the limits of Section 508.2. If they exceed those limits, storage rooms must be meet and apply the provisions of the Group S occupancy.
In Group I-2 Facilities, the code now allows spaces that contain domestic cooking facilities to be open to the corridor system provided that 13 specific conditions are met. As nursing homes transition from traditional institutional kitchen models, this change helps facilitate the need for open and shared resident spaces with de-centralized kitchens that model the hearth of the home.
Answers provided by Kimberly A. Marks, ASID, NCIDQ. Marks is a registered interior designer and president of The Marks Design Group.