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Occupancy Types



If you ever have had difficulty figuring out what an occupancy type is, the following occupancy lists may be helpful.  Remember that there are many "grey areas" in the Code.  It is advisable to discuss with the Authority Having Jurisdiction these grey areas prior to implementation or get the help of a trusted Building Code Consultant.



ASSEMBLY OCCUPANCIES: a gathering of persons for civic, political, travel, religious, social, educational, recreational or similar purposes or for the consumption of food or drink.  This Group is subdivided into four divisions.


Group A Division 1 (A1): Assembly occupancies intended for the production and viewing of the performing arts.

  •       Dinner Theatres Live
  •       Theatres Motion Picture
  •       Theatres
  •       Opera Houses
  •       Television Studios (With Audience)

Group A Division 2 (A2): Assembly occupancies not elsewhere classified in Group A.

  •       Art Galleries Auditoria Billiard Halls, Amusement Arcades
  •       Bowling Alleys
  •       Churches
  •       Clubs
  •       Lodges (Non-Residential)
  •       Community Halls
  •       Concert Halls
  •       Court Rooms
  •       Dance Halls
  •       Daycare Centres
  •       Exhibition Halls (Without Sales)
  •       Exhibition Halls (With Sales)
  •       Gaming premises
  •       Gymnasia (Multi-Purpose)
  •       Gymnasia (Athletic)
  •       Lecture Halls
  •       Libraries
  •       Licensed Beverage Establishments
  •       Licensed Clubs
  •       Lodges
  •       Museums
  •       Passenger Stations / Depots
  •       Places of Worship
  •       Recreational Piers
  •       Restaurants - A restaurant is permitted to be classified as a Group E major occupancy provided the restaurant is designed to accommodate not more than 30 persons consuming food or drink.
  •       Schools, Colleges, Universities unless the building has a specific use, such as a medical or a research building
  •       Undertaking/Funeral Home Premises

Note:  Daycare centres could be considered either B2 or A2.  If it is a location where families drop off an ill/ageing person for a day, this could be treated as a B2.

A daycare center for children is considered an A2.



Group A Division 3 (A3): Assembly occupancies of the arena type.

  •       Arenas (No Occupancy On Activity Surface),
  •       Armouries
  •       Enclosed Stadia or Grandstand
  •       Ice Rinks (No Occupancy On Activity Surface)
  •       Indoor Swimming Pools

      An arena type building intended for occasional use for trade shows and similar exhibition purposes is still considered as Group A, Division 3 occupancy.



Group A Division 4 (A4): Assembly occupancies in which occupants are gathered in the open air.

  •       Amusement Park Structures
  •       Bleachers
  •       Grandstands (Open)
  •       Reviewing Stands
  •       Stadia (Open)





CARE OR DETENTION OCCUPANCY means the occupancy by persons who,

   (a)  are dependent on others to release security devices to permit egress,

   (b)  receive special care and treatment, or

   (c)  receive supervisory care.

This Group is subdivided into 3 Division.


Group B Division 1 (B1): Detention occupancies: occupants are dependent on others to release security devices to permit egress.

  •       Detention Facilities
  •       Police Station with Detention

      A police station with detention quarters is permitted to be classified as a Group B, Division 2 major occupancy provided the station is not more than 1 storey in building height and 600 m2 in building area.  (found in Article of the National and most Provincial Building Codes).

 Group B Division 2 (B2): Care and treatment occupancies: Persons receive special care and treatment.

  •       Geriatric care facility
  •       Hospital,
  •       Nursing Home,
  •       Psychiatric Hospitals with or without confinement
  •       Sanatorium


Group B Division 3 (B3): Care occupancies:  persons receive special or supervisory care because of cognitive or physical limitations, but does not include a dwelling unit.

  •       Residential care facilities
  •       Children Custodial Homes Convalescent Homes Orphanages Sanatoria Without Detention Quarter
  •       Group Homes For Developmentally Handicapped Residents

Group B, Division 3 occupancies are permitted to be classified as Group C major occupancies provided,

   (a)     the occupants live as a single housekeeping unit in a suite with sleeping accommodation for not more than 10 persons, and

   (b)     not more than 2 occupants require assistance in evacuation in case of an emergency.

The National Building Code also requires sprinklers, emergency lighting and interconnected smoke alarms in each sleeping room.  The challenge is that some municipalities consider Foster homes subject to the B3 requirements.  Always get the advice of a Building Code Consultant on this issue.



Note:  Daycare centres could be considered either B2 or A2.  If it is a location where families drop off an ill/ageing person for a day, this could be treated as a B2.


A daycare center for children is considered an A2.




RESIDENTIAL OCCUPANCIES: means the occupancy by persons for whom sleeping accommodation is provided but who are not harboured or detained there to receive medical care or treatment or who are not involuntarily detained there.  This Group does not have any Divisions.

  •       Apartments
  •       Boarding Houses/Group Homes
  •       Clubs, Residential
  •       Colleges, Residential
  •       Convents
  •       Dormitories/Hostels
  •       Hotels
  •       Houses
  •       Lodging Houses
  •       Live/work units
  •       Monasteries
  •       Public Heritage Buildings
  •       Rectories
  •       Retirement Homes
  •       Rooming Houses
  •       Schools, Residential





BUSINESS and PERSONAL SERVICES OCCUPANCY means the occupancy or for the transaction of business or the provision of professional or personal services.

  •       Advertising and Sales Offices
  •       Automatic Bank Deposit
  •       Banks
  •       Barber/Hairdresser Shops
  •       Beauty Parlours
  •      Car Rental Premises
  •      Computer Centres
  •      Construction Offices
  •      Costume Rental Premises
  •      Dental Offices
  •      Dental Offices (Surgical/Anaesthesia)
  •      Dry Cleaning Depots
  •      Dry Cleaning Premises (Self-Serve)
  •      Health/Fitness Clubs (this is an odd one, but small exercise type uses can be considered).
  •      Laundries (Self-Serve)
  •      Massage Parlours
  •      Medical Offices (Examination)
  •      Medical Offices (Surgical/Anaesthesia)
  •      Offices
  •      Photographic Studios
  •      Physiotherapy Offices
  •      Police Stations (No Detention)
  •      Printing and Duplicating
  •      Public Saunas
  •      Radio Stations (No Audience)
  •      Small Tool Rental Premises
  •      Suntan Parlours
  •      Veterinary Offices



MERCANTILE OCCUPANCY (E) means the occupancy for the displaying or selling of retail goods, wares or merchandise.  Anything that is sold is typically done in a mercantile occupancy.

  •      Automotive/Hardware Department Stores
  •      China Shops
  •      Department Stores
  •      Electrical Stores (Fixtures)
  •      Exhibition Halls (With Sales)
  •      “Fast Food” Outlets
  •      Feed and Seed Stores
  •      Flea Markets
  •      Flowers Shops
  •      “Food” and Vegetable Markets Garden Shops
  •      “Gas” Bars
  •      Gift Shops
  •      Home Improvement Stores
  •      Kitchen/Bathroom Cupboards Stores
  •      Plumbing Stores (Fixtures/Accessories)
  •      “Pop” Shops
  •      Rentals (See “Group D”)
  •      Restaurants (Not More Than 30 Persons).  If more than 30 persons, the use becomes a Group A, Division 2
  •      Shopping Malls
  •      Stationery/Office Supply Stores
  •      Stores,
  •      Supermarkets





INDUSTRIAL OCCUPANCY means the occupancy for the assembling, fabricating, manufacturing, processing, repairing or storing of goods or materials.  These occupancies are subdivided into 3 Divisions.


Group F Division 1(F1): High hazard industrial occupancies means an industrial occupancy containing sufficient quantities of highly combustible and flammable or explosive materials to constitute a special fire hazard because of their inherent characteristics.

  •      Ammunition Manufacturing and Storage
  •      Black Powder Manufacturing and Storage
  •      Bulk Plants for Flammable Liquids
  •      Bulk Storage Warehouse (Hazardous Substances)
  •      Cereal and Feed Mills
  •      Chemical Manufacturing/Processing Plant Distilleries
  •      Dry Cleaning Plants (Flammable)
  •      Explosives Manufacturing and Storage
  •      Fertilizer Manufacturing Plants
  •      Fireworks Manufacturing and Storage
  •      Flour Mills Gas (Flammable)
  •      Compressor Stations Gas (Flammable) Manufacturing and Storage Grain Elevators Lacquer Factories
  •      Loading Area for all Group F, Division 1
  •      Mattress Factories (High Fire Load)
  •      Paint/Varnish/Pyroxylin Factories
  •      Petrochemical Plants
  •      Refineries
  •      Rubber Processing Plants
  •      Spray Painting Operations
  •      Waste Paper Processing Plants (Dry)

Group F Division 2 (F2): Medium hazard industrial occupancies:  most industrial buildings are Group F, Division 2.

  •      Aircraft Hangars
  •      Abattoirs
  •      Bakeries
  •      Body Shops
  •      Candy Plants
  •      Cold Storage Plants
  •      Dry Cleaning Establishments (Non-flammable or Non-explosive)
  •      Electrical Substations
  •      Factories (High Fire Load)
  •      Freight Depots
  •      Laboratories
  •      Laundries (Not Self-Serve)
  •      Manufacturing of all types
  •      Manufacturer Sales
  •      Mattress Factories
  •      Meat Packing Plants
  •      Packaging Manufacturers
  •      Paper Processing Plants (Wet)
  •      Plaining Mills
  •      Printing Plants
  •      Repair Garages
  •      Sample Display Rooms
  •      Self-Service Storage Buildings
  •      Service Stations (No Spray Painting)
  •      Storage Rooms (High Fire Load)
  •      Television Studios (No Audience)
  •      Tire Storage
  •      Warehouses (High Fire Load)
  •      Welding Shops
  •      Wholesale Rooms (High Fire Load)
  •      Wood Working Factories
  •      Workshops (High Fire Load)

Group F Division 3 (F3): Low hazard industrial occupancies: m means an industrial occupancy in which the combustible content is not more than 50 kg/m2 or 1200 MJ/m2 of floor area.

  •      Creameries
  •      Factories (Low Fire Load)
  •      Freight Depots (Low Fire Load)
  •      Laboratories (Low Fire Load)
  •      Manufacturers Sales (Low Fire Load)
  •      Power Plants
  •      Public Heritage Buildings
  •      Sample Display Rooms (Low Fire Load)
  •      Storage Garages
  •      Storage Rooms (Low Fire Load)
  •      Warehouses (Low Fire Load)
  •      Wholesale Rooms (Low Fire Load)
  •      Workshops (Low Fire Load)