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Assembly Occupancies

Solutions for Assembly Occupancies

Assembly occupancies are generally defined as rooms, spaces or structures where people gather.


Serious Fire Safety Risks

Assembly Occupancies include large meeting rooms, places of worship, passenger terminals, restaurants, auditoriums, sports facilities, nightclubs, halls, theatres, and cinemas. Millions of people wake up daily, go to work or school, and spend much time in these environments. Fires present serious risks in these facilities—some of the world’s deadliest fires occurred in assembly occupancies, particularly in Class B facilities. Consequently, these facilities require systems to detect fires early and effective plans for quick and safe evacuation of many people.


We offer a full range of fire and life safety services for assembly occupancies—to learn more, please download our
Solutions for Assembly Occupancies info sheet.

If you don’t see a particular service, please reach out—we might still be able to help you achieve your safety goals. For complete service descriptions, please download our Services Guide.

Engineering Fire Safe Assembly Occupancies

Assembly occupancies, such as theatres, auditoriums, and concert halls, pose unique challenges regarding safety planning due to the large number of people who may need to evacuate in case of an emergency. The number of occupants can create logistical hurdles to ensure a swift and orderly evacuation process. Additionally, the dynamics of a fire event further complicate matters as smoke and heat can quickly affect the usability of exits, potentially leading to panic and confusion among evacuees.

To address these challenges, facility managers and safety professionals must implement robust safety measures tailored to assembly occupancies. This includes regular drills and training sessions to familiarize occupants with evacuation procedures and exit routes. Clear signage, emergency lighting, and audible alarms are essential in guiding individuals to safety during high-stress situations in accordance with fire safety regulations.

Moreover, the design and layout of assembly occupancies play a critical role in mitigating risks during emergencies. Adequate space between seats, unobstructed exit pathways, and fire-resistant materials can enhance the facility’s safety. Collaborating with fire safety experts and regulatory authorities can help ensure that the assembly occupancy meets all necessary safety standards and protocols, including means of egress requirements and precautions to prevent ignition. This includes complying with NFPA 1126 and implementing precautions to prevent ignition of any combustible material, as required by the authority having jurisdiction.

The Regulations for Assembly Occupancies

Assembly occupancies must comply with Canada’s building code, which sets out regulations to ensure the safety of building occupants. The National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) provides guidelines for fire protection, structural integrity, and other essential aspects of building design and construction. Builders and designers must adhere to these codes to create safe and functional assembly spaces that meet the required safety and quality standards.

The Classification of Major Occupancy

Major occupancy refers to the primary occupancy for which a building or part of it is used or intended to be used. It includes any subsidiary occupancies integral to the principal occupancy, such as business and personal services and single-room occupancies. The major occupancy classifications outlined in this Code help categorize buildings according to their primary functions, ensuring safety and compliance with regulations. Additionally, single-room occupancies, also known as suites, are an important consideration in classifying major occupancy, as they are often used for business and personal services and fall under the definition of a suite. However, it is important to note that single-room occupancies, or suites, may also have their own specific regulations and guidelines to ensure the safety and well-being of occupants.

The Importance of Fire Safety Measures

In assembly occupancies, fire safety measures are crucial to prevent fires and protect individuals in case of a fire event. These measures include fire dampers installed in air distribution systems or wall/floor assemblies that automatically close during a fire to maintain fire separation integrity. It is essential to have a well-thought-out fire safety plan in place for assembly buildings like theatres, concert halls, and arenas to ensure the safety of occupants during emergencies.

Why Do Assembly Occupancies Require Fire Safety Measures

Assembly occupancies require fire separation to prevent the spread of fire. These fire-rated barriers act as a protective measure against the rapid spread of fire within buildings. Acoustic materials are often identified as a significant factor in fueling the flames and increasing the pace of fire spread, emphasizing the critical role of fire-resistant construction materials and assemblies, such as interior walls, in ensuring occupant safety.

In assembly occupancies, fire safety measures are of utmost importance to prevent fires from occurring and to safeguard individuals in the event of a fire breaking out. These measures include fire dampers, which are closures designed to automatically close in the event of a fire to maintain the integrity of fire separation. This is crucial for facilities like theatres, concert halls, and arenas used for assembly purposes and to host many people at a time.

How PLC Fire Safety Can Help

Our Fire Safety Engineers possess specialized expertise crucial for enhancing assembly occupancies’ safety. They have extensive experience conducting performance-based evaluations, such as timed egress studies and modelling fire and smoke spread dynamics. By leveraging their skills, they can thoroughly review assembly facilities to verify that all aspects align with safety codes and regulations.

Moreover, our Fire Safety Engineers are adept at identifying potential hazards and implementing effective solutions to mitigate risks. Through their comprehensive assessments and in-depth knowledge of fire safety protocols, they play a pivotal role in safeguarding occupants and ensuring the optimal functioning of assembly spaces.

Their proficiency in conducting thorough inspections, evaluating fire protection systems, and recommending improvements underscores our commitment to upholding the highest safety standards within assembly occupancies. With their specialized skill set and dedication to excellence, PLC’s Fire Safety Engineers contribute significantly to creating secure environments that prioritize the well-being of individuals.

How are assembly occupancies classified, and what are the differences between them?

Assembly occupancies are classified based on occupancy type and capacity. They include Assembly Group A (Theaters, Auditoriums), Assembly Group B (Restaurants, Bars), and Assembly Group E (Stadiums, Arenas). Differences lie in the purpose of the space and occupant load capacities for safety regulations.

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How Can We Help?

We’d love to understand your fire and life safety needs and see how we can help. Please reach out to us to schedule a conversation.

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