UCR Policies and Procedures

Printer Friendly Version

For a hardcopy pdf of this document, contact the Office of Compliance (2-8246).

Policy Title:                Occupant Load Control in Campus Facilities 

Policy Number:          425-64


Responsible Officer:

Emergency Manager

Responsible Office:

Office of Emergency Management

Origination Date:


Date of Revision:


Date of Last Review:



Guidance Concerning Occupancy in Campus Facilities


I.          Policy Summary

One of the primary goals of the University of California, Riverside (UC Riverside) is to promote a safe and healthy atmosphere for students, faculty, staff, and visitors on the campus. This document establishes policy, along with procedural guidance, regarding the monitoring and abatement of suspected overcrowding situations occurring on properties controlled by UC Riverside, as well as from activities sponsored by the University.


II.        Policy Text  

This campus-wide policy complies with all applicable State and local occupancy regulations. It includes procedures to recognize a suspected overcrowding situation, appropriate notifications, requests for assistance, confirmation of the overcrowding situation, abatement of the overcrowding, enforcement action, additional inspections, and related issues.


Facilities exist within University controlled properties that are subject to the gathering of large numbers of people for purposes that include but are not limited to amusement, entertainment, instruction, worship, or dining, etc. A given room or area is designed to provide proper and safe exiting based upon a calculated occupant load. An increase in occupant load beyond legal limits potentially exposes occupants to undue risk of injury in the event of a panic, smoke, fire, or similar occurrence. Maximum occupant loads are established by statute, and allowing a overcrowding situation is a violation of law, thus a policy for addressing such an occurrence is established.


III.     Procedures

         A.          Occupant Load

All public assembly occupancies must have a posted placard indicating the occupant load. The table below identifies the square feet per occupant factors, based on the nature of use, to be used in determining occupant loads.


Nature of Use








Lobby areas







         B.          Recognition

The assessment of a suspected overcrowding situation is normally based upon a quantitative evaluation and/or visual observation.


         C.          Notification

Upon recognition of suspected overcrowding during campus business hours, the Campus Fire Marshal must be immediately notified. Upon recognition of suspected overcrowding occurring outside of normal campus business hours, the campus police department (UCPD) must be immediately notified. The UCPD will notify the Campus Fire Marshal or designee.


         D.          Assistance

The Campus Fire Marshal or designee, as well as other public safety officers, may request additional assistance from UCPD, the City of Riverside, and other agencies as necessary to abate the overcrowding condition.


          E.          Confirmation

The Campus Fire Marshal or other designated party is responsible for responding to the suspected overcrowding, investigating the occurrence, and assessing whether overcrowding exists. Upon determining there may be overcrowding, the Campus Fire Marshal or other designated party initiates the following procedures.


The Campus Fire Marshall identifies a mass staging area, then directs those individuals responsible for and overseeing the activity to position responsible individuals at all facility entrances and exits to control access by no one to enter the facility and directing those attempting to leave to the mass staging area. The Campus Fire Marshal identifies a responsible individual from the activity to announce that all persons must exit the facility in an orderly fashion, using a designated exit. Two individuals positioned at the designated exit independently count as persons exit the facility. During the process of having people exit the facility, no one is permitted to enter the facility. Upon determining all people have exited the facility, the Campus Fire Marshal receives a report from each of the individuals charged with independently counting those exiting from the facility. The Campus Fire Marshal reviews the data, comparing the figures provided with the posted occupant load to determine if an overcrowding condition existed.


          F.          Abatement

The Campus Fire Marshal may permit the management of the facility to resume activities by allowing a legal number of persons to re-enter the facility. The individuals hosting the activity remain responsible for taking steps to assure overcrowding does not occur. Those hosting an activity are encouraged to assign personnel tasked with monitoring the number of persons exiting and entering the facility.


         G.          Enforcement

If an overcrowding condition is confirmed, those responsible for the activity and in charge of facility may be prosecuted for violation of Title 19, California Code of Regulations, Section 3.27. Copies of reports of all activities related to any overcrowding incident, by participating regulatory agencies involved, are forwarded to the Campus Fire Marshal within two business days.


         H.          Inspections

Any facility suspected or found to have an overcrowding condition may be subject to additional follow-up inspections by appropriate authorities at any time during normal business hours without prior notification.


IV.        Related Information

              ·         Title 19, California Code of Regulations, Section 3.27

              ·         Title 19, California Code of Regulations, Section 3.10

              ·         Title 19, California Code of Regulations, Section 3.30

              ·         Title 19, California Code of Regulations, Section 1.12(c)

              ·         Section 13108(c), Health & Safety Code California


V.          Revision History

This policy and associated procedures will be reviewed, at a minimum every two years, by a representative of Business and Administrative Services. The Office of Compliance will update this policy and associated procedures to reflect changes to related policies or governing standards, regulations, laws, and other such guidance as often as required.