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State of Nebraska Board of Engineers and Architects


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What is Occupancy Classification?

Occupancy Classification is used in the State Building Code and categorizes structures based on their primary usage, such as a home’s main purpose is Residential (R) or a hospital’s main purpose is Healthcare (I-2). Other examples of Occupancy Classification are Assembly (A), Business (B), and Factory (F). 

Knowing a project’s Occupancy Classification is a vital step toward determining if an architect or professional engineer is required. If you know a structure’s classification, use the chart in Rule 10.3 to determine if a project is exempt or not, based on square footage.

If a structure contains more than one Occupancy Classification, use the most restrictive occupancy for determining if a licensee must be involved.

How do you calculate the square footage of a structure?

The square footage is defined using the "building area" definition in the state building code.

What is "above-grade finished space?"

On a single-family through four-family dwelling, this includes all enclosed, potentially-habitable space on any level, up to a maximum of three levels.

Do agricultural buildings require a licensee?

The provisions of The Nebraska Engineers and Architects Regulation Act regulating the practice of engineering and architecture do not apply to the construction, remodeling, alteration or renovation of farm buildings, including barns, silos, sheds or housing for farm equipment and machinery, livestock, poultry or storage, if the structures are designed to be occupied by no more than twenty persons.

Reference Neb. Rev. Stat. §81-3449 and §81-3453

If my project has two occupancy classifications (such as storage and business) what occupancy classification does my project fall under?

A structure with two or more occupancy classifications is governed by the exemption limits for the most restrictive occupancy.

For example, assume a project consists of both Storage and Business occupancies. According to Rule 10.3, Storage occupancy classifications do not require licensees if the project consists of less than 5,000 square feet; Business occupancy classifications do not require licensees if the project consists of less than 3,000 square feet. As the Business classification is the most restrictive, the entire project would be classified as a Business occupancy for purposes of The Nebraska Engineers and Architects Regulation Act. A building with a Business occupancy classification of 3,000 square feet or more would require the involvement of licensees.