Saudi Building Code – SBC 201. Chapter 3 – Use and Occupancy Classification (Summary)

Clause 301 General

  • Chapter 3 specifies the use and occupancy of all buildings and structures. Clause 301.1.

Clause 302 Classification

A structure or portion of a structure can be classified as one or more of the 10 groups listed below. Clause 302.1.

  • Assembly: Group A-1, A-2, A-3, A-4 and A-5
  • Business: Group B
  • Education: Group E
  • Factory and Industry: Group F1 and F-2
  • High Hazard: Group H-1, H-2, H-3, H-5 and H-4
  • Institutional: Group I-1, I-2, I-3 and I-4
  • Mercantile: Group M
  • Residential: Group R-1, R-2, R-3 and R-4
  • Storage: Group S-1 and S-2
  • Utility and Miscellaneous: Group U

Clause 303 Assembly Group A

  • Group A building is a building used for a gathering of persons. Clause 303.1.
  • If a building or tenant space is used for assembly purposes and has less than 50 persons, it is classified as Group B occupancy. Clause 303.2.
  • A room or space used for assembly purposes and has less than 50 persons, and accessory to another occupancy shall be classified as a Group B occupancy or as part of that occupancy. Clause 303.1.2.1.
  • A room or space used for assembly purposes, has an area of less than 70 m2 and accessory to another occupancy shall be classified as Group B occupancy or part of that occupancy. Clause 303.1.2.2.
  • A room or space for assembly purposes, which is part of a Group E building, is not considered as a separate occupancy. Clause 303.1.3.
  • Assembly Group A-1: Buildings where people watch performances or movies. This includes movie theatres, concert halls, TV or radio studios with audiences, and other similar places. Clause 303.2.
  • Assembly Group A-2: Buildings where people eat or drink. E.g. banquet halls, restaurants etc. Clause 303.3.
  • Assembly Group A-3: Buildings where people worship, recreational activities and other activities that are not covered elsewhere in Group A. E.g. amusement arcades, art galleries etc. Clause 303.4.
  • Assembly Group A-4: Building for viewing indoor sporting events and activities with spectator seating. E.g. arenas, skating rinks etc. Clause 303.5.
  • Assembly Group A-5: Building for participation in or viewing outdoor activities. E.g. bleachers, grandstands etc. Clause 303.6.

Clause 304 Business Group B

  • A building or part of a building that is used for offices, professional services, or similar activities, including spaces for storing records and accounts. E.g. airport traffic control towers, banks etc. Clause 304.1.

Clause 305 Educational Group E

  • Group E building: A building or part of a building that is used for teaching six or more people at once, up to the 12th grade. Clause 305.1.
  • Daycare facilities: A building or part of a building where more than five children over 2.5 years old receive education or personal care for fewer than 24 hours a day. Clause 305.2.

Clause 306 Factory Group F

  • A building or portion of the building that is used for activities like assembling, dissembling, fabricating, manufacturing or similar activities that are not classified as Group H hazardous or Group S storage occupancy. Clause 306.1.
  • If a factory’s activities are not Low Hazard Group F-2, they are categorized as F-1 Moderate Hazard. E.g. aircraft appliances, bakeries etc. Clause 306.2.
  • Factory industrial activities that involve noncombustible materials and don’t have a high fire risk during finishing, packing, or processing are classified as F-2 Low Hazard occupancies. E.g. brick and masonry ceramic products, glass products etc. Clause 306.3.

Clause 307 High-Hazard Group H

  • High-hazard Group H occupancy refers to buildings or parts of the buildings used for manufacturing, processing, generating or storing materials that constitute physical or health hazards when stored in quantities in excess of those allowed in controlled areas. These limits are detailed in Section 414 and Tables 307.1(1) and 307.1(2). Clause 307.1.
  • Refer to Clause 307.1.1 for exemptions in Group H classification. Clause 307.1.1.
  • Buildings with materials that can detonate are classified as Group H-1. Clause 307.3.
  • Buildings with materials that pose deflagration hazards or can cause accelerated burning are classified as Group H-2. Clause 307.4.
  • Buildings with materials that readily support combustion and pose physical hazards are classified as Group H-3. Clause 307.5.
  • Buildings with materials that are health hazards are classified as Group H-4. Clause 307.6.
  • Semiconductor manufacturing facilities and similar research areas where large amounts of hazardous production materials (HPM) are used, exceeding the limits in Tables 307.1(1) and 307.1(2), are classified as Group H-5 and must be designed and built following Section 415.11. Clause 307.7.
  • Buildings with hazardous materials classified in one or more groups (H-1, H-2, H-3, and H-4) must follow the code requirements for each of those classified groups. Clause 307.8

Clause 308 Institutional Group I

  • Buildings that are used for taking care of or supervising people who need physical assistance for self-preservation or for holding people for legal or security reasons. These buildings are classified into Group I-1, I-2, I-3, or I-4, based on their specific use. Clause 308.1.
  • Institutional Group I-1 – Buildings with more than 16 people, not including staff, who are under supervision and receive care on a 24-hour basis. E.g. assisted living facilities, congregate care facilities etc. Clause 308.3.
  • Institutional Group I-2 – Buildings for medical care, operating 24 hours a day, for more than five people who are incapable of taking care of themselves. E.g. foster care facilities, detoxification facilities etc. Clause 308.4.
  • Institutional Group I-3 – Buildings that are inhabited by more than five persons who are under restraint or security. Persons who are generally incapable of self-preservation due to security measures not under the occupants’ control. E.g. correctional centres, detention centres etc. Clause 308.5.
  • Institutional Group I-4 – Buildings that are occupied by more than five persons of any age who receive custodial care for fewer than 24 hours per day by persons other than parents or relatives in a place that is their home. This includes adult and child daycare centres. Clause 308.6.

Clause 309 Mercantile Group M

  • Building for the display and sale of merchandise, involves stocks of goods, wares or merchandise incidental to such purposes and accessible to the public. E.g. department stores, medical stores etc. Clause 309.1.

Clause 310 Residential Group R

  • A building for sleeping purposes when not classified as an Institutional Group I or when not regulated by the SBC 1101. Clause 310.1.
  • Residential Group R-1 – Building containing sleeping units where the occupants are primarily transient in nature. E.g. boarding houses, hotels etc. Clause 310.3.
  • Residential Group R-2 – Building containing sleeping units or more than two dwelling units where the occupants are primarily permanent in nature. E.g. apartment houses, boarding houses etc. Clause 310.4.
  • Residential Group R-3 – Buildings where occupants are permanent in nature and not classified as Group R-1, R-2, R-4 or I. E.g. boarding houses (non-transient) with 16 or fewer occupants, boarding houses (transient) with 10 or fewer people etc. Clause 310.5.
  • Residential Group R-4 – Building with more than 5 but less than 16 persons, excluding staff, who reside on a 24-hour basis in a supervised residential environment and receive care. E.g. assisted living facilities, congregate care facilities etc. Clause 310.6.

Clause 311 Storage Group S

  • A building or portion of the building used for storage that is not classified as hazardous occupancy. Clause 311.1.
  • Moderate-hazard storage, Group S-1: Buildings used for storage and are not classified as Group S-2. E.g. aerosols, aircraft hangar etc. Clause 311.2.
  • Low-hazard storage, Group S-2: Buildings used for storage of noncombustible materials such as products on wood pallets or in paper cartons with or without single-thickness division or in paper wrapping. E.g. cement in bags, chalk etc. Clause 311.3.

Clause 312 Utility and Miscellaneous Group U

  • Buildings not classified in any specific occupancy shall be constructed, equipped and maintained to conform to the requirements of this code, based on the fire and safety risks related to their use. E.g. agricultural buildings, barns etc. Clause 312.1.