Residential occupant density distributions derived from English Housing Survey data

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Assessing the evacuation of residential buildings in the event of a fire requires the number of occupants in the building to be determined. The English Housing Survey (EHS) provides a means of determining occupant density by including data on the number of residents and the total floor area of dwellings. From this it has been found that occupant density can be approximated as being lognormally distributed, with a mean for all dwellings of 44.6 m2/person and a standard deviation of 29.5 m2/person. When considering apartments separately from houses, it is found that apartments were in general more densely occupied with a mean of 38.7 m2/person and a standard deviation of 20.9 m2/person. The occupancy has also been determined with respect to the number of bedrooms per dwelling, with an overall mean of 0.97 occupants per bedroom and a standard deviation of 0.49 occupants. When considering the EHS occupant density distributions in the context of exemplar single-stair residential buildings, it has been found that the design capacity of the stair is unlikely to be exceeded, where for a typical 10-storey residential building the stair design capacity is 580 while the equivalent EHS 99.9th percentile is 165 or 528, depending on whether distributions are applied to each apartment independently or consistently across the full building.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalFire Safety Journal
Early online date23 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019