Mixed Use Construction Requirements Tennessee

Mixed Use buildings have strict construction requirements based on Use and Occupancy. CMArchitects reviews the building requirements in the International Building Code for Mixed Use buildings.

Mixed Use Design Basics


Mixed use buildings are complicated to design, plan and build. To help understand this process, CMArchitects researched the basic requirements of a mixed use building:

  1. Determine the Occupancy Classification and Use of your space. Local zoning codes dictate what classifications are allowed on your property – so knowing how the space will be used it VERY IMPORTANT. Examples included Assembly (theaters, restaurants, art galleries), Business (offices), Educational, Institutional (hospitals and assisted living), Residential, etc. These are listed in CHAPTER 3 of the IBC.
  2. Use the Occupancy Classification to see allowable floor areas and heights based on the Construction Type, AND whether the building is sprinkled or non-sprinkled. These are listed in CHAPTER 5 of the IBC – TABLE 504.3 for height and TABLE 506.2 for area.
  3. When multiple Occupancy Classifications are desired under one roof, you have a mixed use building. The required fire separation of occupancy’s is based on each adjoining Occupancy Use AND whether it is sprinkled or non-sprinkled. These are listed in CHAPTER 5 – TABLE 508.4
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Table 504.3 – Allowable Height per Occupancy and Sprinkler System

Occupancy Classification and Building Use determine the maximum floor areas and heights of a building.

Determine Construction Type and Occupancy


Compare the different Construction Types allowed with the need to have a sprinkler system or not. The Construction Type will determine the Fire-Resistance Rating required for the building elements. Building elements include walls, floors and roofs. All have DIFFERENT fire-resistance rating requirements depending on Type of Construction and proximity to other Occupancy Classifications. These are listed in CHAPTER 6 – TABLE 601 and TABLE 602.

By now you can see that there is a long list of possible separations for a mixed use building, and how those required separations fit together can dramatically affect the cost of construction.

At CMArchitects, we are familiar with fire-resistant assemblies and what materials are common to our region. We help clients make decisions that are smart and economical for the lifespan of the building.

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Table 508.4 – Fire Separation Requirements between Use and Occupancy Types

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Mixed Use Zoning Analysis and Design for ASTYLAR Development Group in Germantown, Nashville, Tennessee. Renderings by CMArchitects PLLC

Check out PART 2 | Fire Resistance and Separating Walls

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