Use Certificate of Occupancy to Determine the COVID-19 Fire Capacity
According to the Five Responsible Protocols for All Businesses, each business is to limit capacity for social distancing guidelines by establishing the maximum capacity at 50% of the fire code.
When a building or space is created, the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), (the Certified Building Department and the Chief Building Official), issues a Certificate of Occupancy (C-of-O) which establishes the maximum number of occupants allowed in the building at any one time based on the size and use group of the building.
Occasionally the building capacity is referred to as the Fire Capacity because the local fire department uses this number when conducting the annual fire safety inspection to determine compliance with local fire regulations.
The Occupancy / Fire Capacity is calculated based on the condition and square footage of the building. When a building has multiple uses such as a factory with offices, the certificate of occupancy has a number for the total occupancy and a number for each portion of the building.
If you need a copy or are unable to locate your certificate of occupancy / fire capacity, please contact the appropriate local Building Department for their assistance and guidelines to obtain a C-of-O and/or to calculate the building capacity for COVID-19 purpose.
Sample Certificate of Occupancy
Portage County Building Department Contact Information By Jurisdiction
Portage County Townships and Villages
- They can ask for a COVID-19 C-of-O, meaning . . . A C-of-O is a legal document within the ORC, but for the purpose of this exercise we can create a special or simple C-of-O for this purpose, whereby we will use the building footprint and square footage from the Auditor’s web page and put some disclaimers on the COVID-19 C-of-O, to identify it as such.
- Or, the owner can request a formal C-of-O, which requires applications, drawings and inspections.