Q: What is the required width for an exit access corridor in an office building?
A: That depends on the occupancy classification of the building. If the building is classified as business occupancy, then sections 38/188.8.131.52 of the 2000 Life Safety Code (LSC) would apply. The clear width of an exit access corridor in a business occupancy (office building) serving an occupant load of 50 or more, is 44 inches. But for occupant loads less than 50 persons, section 184.108.40.206 of the LSC would apply and the clear width is lowered to 36 inches.
When the Life Safety Code talks about the occupant load of a room or area, it is always calculated per section 7.3. Table 220.127.116.11 has occupant load factors that are used along with the gross area to determine the number of persons allowed. For a building classified as business occupancy the occupant load factor is 100 square feet per person. This means in order to have an occupant load of 50 persons you need 5,000 square feet of area.
If the office building is classified as an ambulatory health care occupancy, then according to section 20/18.104.22.168, the required width of the corridor is limited to just 44 inches. There are no deviations for less than 50 occupants.