There is a recent design trend of office tenants seeking more collaborative work spaces. Where typical office layouts used to locate conference rooms throughout a tenant space, conference rooms are now being grouped together in a cluster to encourage collaboration, and eliminated in the rest of the office space. Because of the concentration of conference rooms, there is a higher chance that all rooms will be simultaneously loaded. This is even more likely when the tenant occupies most of the floor or multiple floors in an office building.
This situation increases the live load of the floor in the clustered conference rooms beyond that expected by the Seattle Building Code (SBC) and can create a hazard. SDCI has issued a new code interpretation titled SBC Section 1607.2: Clustered Conference Rooms: Live Load and Occupancy.
This code interpretation addresses the live load requirements for clustered conference rooms. It includes criteria for when a group of conference rooms is designated a cluster and the structural framing must be designed for an assembly live load.
This code interpretation also addresses the occupancy classification for a large cluster of conference rooms. Individually, the conference rooms may be still be classified as a Business occupancy. However, when a cluster of conference rooms and adjacent assembly areas has a high occupant load, both the clustered conference rooms and assembly areas will be classified as an Assembly occupancy.
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