Florida Building Code
Florida Building Code
Florida Building Code
In overview, the Florida Building Code 2010 handbook provides the prerequisites and necessities required while establishing building facilities within the state of Florida. Accordingly, the main purpose of the Florida Building Code revolves around the establishment of minimum requirements deemed necessary for the protection of safety, public health and welfare within the built surroundings. In this respect, one of the subjects of discussion involves the implementation of the egress system. Without the proper and respective facilities for leaving out a hostile building environment, the protection of life, public health and safety becomes impossible due to the inability of the affected persons to escape unrestrictedly. As an outcome, considerable lives are lost and similarly, millions worth of damages in building property are experienced. Hence, Chapter 10 of the 2010 Florida Building Code provides information regarding the means of egress system. Specifically, Section 1004 focuses on the provision of egress facilities in relation to the number of occupants.
Overview of Section 1004: Occupant Load
The key purpose of this respective section involves determination of the appropriate egress facilities that can be applied within buildings based within the state of Florida. Indeed, the issue of exiting a building especially in a hazardous environment has posed a significant impact on the manner through which buildings design their egress facilities. Before the establishment of the Florida Building Code in 2001 as a statewide point of reference, most buildings and facilities lacked the clear guideline to install uniform facilities that would cater to the safety and welfare of the public. Aside from the aspect of uniformity, the lack of a clear guideline towards the establishment of egress facilities in buildings resulted in implementation of complex exiting features that were unable to manage the impact of natural disasters that occurred in the state of Florida especially around the 1990s such as Hurricane Andrew. Based on this, the respective section is dedicated towards the implementation of uniform egress facilities that will be cohesive, appropriate and strategic enough to secure the lives of most people in the event of a natural or manmade disaster.
Provision 1004.1: Design Occupant Load
The first subsection mainly focuses on the determination of allocating equitable egress facilities within buildings. Hence, while verifying the type of egress prerequisites, the amount of people that occupy a certain environment will undergo determination in relation to the requirements of the respective section. Therefore, the section primarily ensures that the allocation of egress facilities to the occupants that require them will occur as per the directives or guidelines established. The respective code requirement is specifically important in terms of providing egress facilities to occupants. By determining the occupant load, buildings can be advised correctly on how to construct their egress facilities in order to suit the health and safety needs of their occupants.
Provision 1004.1.1: Areas without Fixed Seating
Usually, the calculation of the amount of occupants occurs through the utilization of a fixed seating. Indeed, the requirement states that the computation of the occupant load shall occur on the basis if a single occupant for every area unit. However, not all buildings possess a similar quota of reference. Therefore, for areas that lack a fixed seating, the section caters to this by establishing a certain computation mechanism for the number of occupants (International Code Council, 2010). The benefit of this requirement is that it ensures that most occupants living within the buildings all around the state gain appropriate and evenly allocated egress facilities that will be important in augmenting their protection.
Provision 1004.2: Increased Occupant Load
This prerequisite provides for instances in which the number of occupants within a building is allowed to increase. Rationally, it may be impossible to delegate egress facilities to a certain building without taking into account the possibility of shifts within the occupant load. As such, the respective section ensures that increases in occupant load are governed for purposes of safety and health maintenance. For instance, the provision establishes that an increase in occupant load is allowed only if all the requirements of the building code are satisfied based on the altered quantity. In addition to this, it also asserts that the number of occupants should not exceed a single occupant for every 0.65 square meters of inhabitable floor area (International Code Council, 2010).
Provision 1004.3: Posting of Occupant Load
The respective section caters for areas dedicated to assembly purposes. Normally, assembly areas can result into maximum casualty especially if the viable egress facilities are not allocated in relation to the amount of occupants and the floor area they occupy. In this respect, every space designated for assembly occupant must ensure that it posts its respective occupant load towards a conspicuous location that is proximate to the exit access or the main exit (International Code Council, 2010). This ensures that the amount of occupants gathered in an area of a building can be capable of exiting swiftly without gaining casualties based on their increased number.
Provision 1004.4: Exiting from Multiple Levels
In other instances, some buildings may possess exits through which the occupants of more than a single floor utilize in normal and dire circumstances. In order to avoid this impending problem, the respective provision ensures that adequate measures are implemented regarding this outcome. As such, in such instances, the establishment of egress facilities will occur via the use of each floor’s occupant load (International Code Council, 2010). The number of occupants, in this respect, shall be utilized to calculate the needed amount of exits for that floor, as long as the exit amount does not decrease within the direction of the egress movement.
Provision 1004.5: Egress Convergence
The aspect of convergence within a building is also considered in this provision. Indeed, if the measure of egress from the above and below floors meets at halfway, then the amount of this particular measure from the meeting point shall not go below the summation of both floors (International Code Council, 2010). The importance of this requirement is that it enables buildings and egress facilities to be fully operative without expressing worry over the number of occupants and the probability of restricted movement through a means of egress.
Provision 1004.6: Mezzanine Levels
Accordingly, the number of occupants within a mezzanine level that possess egress to a space above or below shall be summed up to the occupant load of that respective space (International Code Council, 2010). In addition to this, the amount of exits based on the level shall be devised for the sum load of occupants therefore established.
Provision 1004.7: Fixed Seating
Aside from catering for areas with variable seating, this section also considers areas or rooms that possess fixed aisles and seats. In this respect, the provision requires that the determination of the occupant load be established by the amount of fixed seats within that space. In areas that lack fixed seating such as waiting spaces, the load of occupants will be determined as per section 1004.1.1 and summed up to the amount of unmovable seats( International Code Council, 2010).
Provision 1004.8: Outdoor Areas
Outdoor areas are also not exempt from receiving egress. Spaces such as courts, patios and yards, which are accessed by occupants, are also required to be provided with egress facilities in case of an accident or event (International Code Council, 2010). The official for the building will be responsible for assigning the load of occupants with respect to the expected use. If the measure of egress goes through the building from the outdoor area, then the requirements for this feature shall be determined upon the total number of occupant loads for the building and the outdoor spaces.
Provision 1004.9: Multiple Occupancies
If a building possesses occupancies of two or more, the requirements for the egress facilities shall apply for every part of the respective building in relation to occupancy of the room. In instances that involve the use of similar measures of egress, then the respective components shall be required to satisfy the stricter prerequisites of all served occupancies (International Code Council, 2010).
To this end, the focus of the 2010 Florida Building Code on the provision of egress facilities illustrates the extent to which the state is aimed at protecting the welfare and safety of its inhabitants. By focusing on areas such as these, buildings can reduce the level of casualties experienced in instances where individuals or occupants are incapable of exiting their premises in times of danger or considerable peril. Hence, the tendency towards the provision of egress facilities shows the serious nature of the state in ensuring that all areas regarding the establishment and occupancy of a building are covered in relation to protection and safety.
International Code Council. (2010). 2010 Florida Building Code, Building. Country Club Hills, IL: International Code Council.
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