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Construction Types by Building Occupancy Classifications

Construction projects are often categorized by their occupancy, which refers both to their use and the number of people allowed to occupy the facility.

While local jurisdictions set their own building codes, they often choose to adopt a standard set of accepted codes. The most common in the US is The International Building Code (IBC), which has 10 broad classifications for buildings:

Assembly (Group A): Facilities where people gather in large groups. Includes churches, restaurants, theaters, stadiums, etc.

Business (Group B): Facilities where commercial services (not retail products) are provided. Includes government buildings, universities, hair salons, doctors’ offices, banks, etc.

Educational (Group E): Facilities for youth education. Includes elementary schools, high schools, day care centers, etc.

Factory (Group F): Facilities designed for manufacture, assembly, fabrication, or repair of goods. Includes cabinetmakers, furniture shops, paper mills, auto mechanics, etc.

High-Hazard (Group H): Facilities for production or storage of flammable or toxic materials, like fireworks, explosives, combustible liquids, etc.

Institutional (Group I): Facilities where occupants require physical assistance or are detained. Includes nursing homes, hospitals, prisons, etc.

Mercantile (Group M): Facilities for display or retail of goods. Includes grocery stores, department stores, drug stores, gas stations, etc.

Residential (Group R): Facilities for overnight stay. Includes houses, apartment buildings, hotels, motels, etc.

Storage (Group S): Facilities where non-hazardous items are stored. Includes warehouses, parking garages, etc.

Utility and Miscellaneous (Group U): Facilities for other uses not included in other categories. Includes water towers, carports, barns, greenhouses, sheds, etc.

Occupancy is important for architects, contractors, and property owners when it comes to both zoning and building codes. Failure to comply with zoning and code requirements will cause problems during the building inspection, which can push back project closeout, cause a breach of contract, and delay payments to contractors on the job.

Scott Wolfe Jr

727 articles Last updated: Mar 31, 2022

Published: Jan 21, 2013 About the author

A husband, dad, & entrepreneur in New Orleans, Scott founded Levelset to even the $1 trillion construction playing field and make payments easier, faster, and more predictable. Levelset is used by thousands of contractors and suppliers nationwide to make payments easier on billions in contract value each year. Scott is a licensed attorney who previously practiced construction law. Recognized by New Orleans City Business as an “Innovator of the Year” and part of their “Leadership in Law Hall of Fame,” Scott has been on the Silicon Bayou 100 list every year since 2014, is a winner of Idea Village & Jim Coulter’s IDEAPitch, is the ACG’s reigning Emerging Growth Company, and a Junior Achievement Rising Star. References:

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