ASSEMBLY without FIXED seat: concentrated, standing space unconcentrated



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    Kevin Griendling


    The community on this forum REALLY wants to help you. However, questions written like this are impossible to reply to. It is not nearly clear what you are asking. When sending questions, it would be helpful to write out the code section you are analyzing, draw a sketch of a condition you are describing, or otherwise, present a more clear and logical inquiry... You have to paint us the picture, not just show us a couple brushes you used.

    Can you please try again on this post?


    Kevin Griendling, AIA 

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    Jonathan Chertok

    hi kevin,

    thanks for the reply here. unfortunately the interface on the phone has a small about 1/4" tall dialog for entering text and it is hard to edit a post since it does not retain formatting. also it is hard to see what you posted. it also apparently won't let you edit unless i am missing something. so there are limitations obviously when posting from your phone. anyway, thanks for letting me clarify.

    Table 1004.1.2 Maximum Floor Area Allowances Per Occupant provided here can be a little confusing to a lot of people (myself included obviously).

    under Assembly "Function of Space" there is:

    I. Assembly

    > Gaming floors (keno, slots etc)

    > Exhibit Gallery and Museum

    II. Assembly with fixed seats

    III. Assembly without fixed seats

    > Concentrated (chairs only not fixed)

    > Standing space

    > Unconcentrated (tables and chairs

    and i think it would be helpful to tease out when you use which category by discussing it a little. especially in the context of testing under a time limitation. the code commentary is relatively silent on this issue as far as i know.

    basically i find it confusing when provided some specific description - say "Wine bar with buffet and music stage" or whatever. and it would be helpful to get some general discussion about what would below where and when.

    Table 1607.1 is Minimum Uniformly Distributed Live Loads, Lo, and Minimum Concentrate Live Loads has the same issue. the the Occupancy or Use for assembly areas could use a little explanation for testers i think. or at least a little discussion so it is more clear cut which to choose and when.

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    Kevin Griendling


    If I may offer some advice through observation, you still did not ask a question. You said "I find this very broad table/section confusing..." 

    I think what you are trying to ask is something along the lines of "How do I interpret the difference between specific descriptions of space use and broad ones?" or "What do I do when my use is not specifically called out in this table/section?"

    Please be more specific and intentional when approaching others for help.

    Now to answer what I think your question(s) was/were, I believe you looking at the code an an exhaustively detailed guidebook and how to do EVERYTHING. That would be an impossible code to write. Building codes are both literal, and interpretive at the same time.

    I know that is going to be mind-bogglingly frustrating for you to hear, but hear me out.

    When the code tells you something specific, it must be that (barring exceptions which are also explicit): "1005.7.1: Doors, when fully opened, shall not reduce the required width by more than 7 inches."

    However, there is room for interpretation in some parts of the code, frequently with regard to occupancy/use. This is because occupancy and use are generalizations. Imagine this:

    • Clothing stores
    • Shoe stores
    • Jewelery stores
    • auto parts stores

    So we simplify this as Mercantile. Then throw in some alternative types of sales configurations and the answer is not so clear.

    • A hair salon that is 50% styling, but 50% retail sales
    • An electronics store that also repairs industrial electronics
    • Microbreweries that have a bar component and produce beer AND liquors above 16% alcohol content

    Forgive me if my examples aren't exactly perfect but the idea here is that a code cannot exactly tell you where every single possible condition should land. It falls under our standard of care and our evaluation of the condition to determine how it is categorized. We make the best decision and move forward. The building department may then disagree and have you change your categorization. If that happens, you have done your due diligence, and operated correctly under the architect's standard of care.

    You will not find black and white in this case. This is what the ARE may test you on. Take a look at the cognitive structure of the exams:

    This is based on "Taxonomy of Educational Objectives" by Dr. Benjamin Bloom. Perhaps you should spend some time looking into its principles for your future exams after this one that is coming up. Focus on:

    • Understanding information presented to you
    • Application of ideas in context
    • Analyzing data to derive correct conclusions
    • Evaluating scenarios for their possibilities

    These are how the ARE packages those cognitive functions as described in the test specifications:

    At the end of your post you voiced a desire for the interpretations to be more clear cut, which in many cases they will be by spending more time with the content. However, the exam is written to test what you DO with the information, not solely that you remember what it states. You're in the right arena by trying to tease out the correct understanding but I think you would benefit from focusing your efforts more on being confident in your own analysis and evaluation of these concepts you've been asking about.

    In other words, practice coming to the table here in these forums with two things:

    • Your initial inquiry, confusion, or misunderstanding
    • An idea of what you think it means

    This should help you prepare for the exams much more efficiently.


    Good luck, and pardon my novella.

    Kevin Griendling, AIA 

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