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Evaluation of Survey Procedures for Determining Occupant Load Factors in Contemporary Office Buildings.

pdf icon Evaluation of Survey Procedures for Determining Occupant Load Factors in Contemporary Office Buildings. (1149 K)
Milke, J. A.; Caro, T. C.

NIST GCR 96-698; 24 p. September 1996.


National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD

Available from:

National Technical Information Service
Order number: PB97-116222


office buildings; chairs; computers; evaluation; fuel loads; furniture; interior furnishings; office furniture; surveys


The development of survey methods for determining the occupant load in office buildings (business occupancies) is described. Considerations involved in formulating the survey methods are presented. The type of data to be collected and data collection techniques are discussed. The two survey methods utilized to collect the population counts within contemporary office buildings are a building walk-through and a telephone survey. Occupant load data obtained from the survey methods applied in 23 office buildings located in the Washington, DC area are presented. Data are presented on the magnitude and distribution of the loads. The building data is sorted according to the following groups: open plan office designs versus well-compartmented office designs, and government (federal and county) versus privator sector tenants. Statistical summaries of the data are presented. Buildings that are primarily composed of open plan office designs are found to have greater occupant load factors than buildings composed of well-compartmented office designs. County government office buildings are found to be slightly greater occupant load factors than federal government buildings. Federal government buildings have lesser occupant load factors than private office buildings. The mean occupant load factor found in the study for all buildings is 248 ft2/person. The telephone survey technique yielded a slightly greater occupant load factor than did the building walk-through technique. However, because the two survey approaches yielded relatively similar results, both are considered to be acceptable in assessing office building occupant loads. The telephone survey requires substantially less time and effort to complete, but is dependent on building management's knowledge of the occupancy characteristics. The walk-through approch required reviewing building drawings and an on-site walk-through of the building.