Architecture clients often ask how tall can I make my building?

The allowable height of a building is determined by a number of factors:

  • Use and Occupancy Classification not Occupant Load (International Building Code (see IBC Ch.3 Use and Classification and Ch.5 General Building Heights and areas))
  • Type of construction dictates height and area limits (IBC Ch. 5 and Ch.6 Types of Construction)
  • Fire suppression and street frontage can increase that allowable height
  • Local zoning (AHJ) may restrict the height allowed by IBC.
  • Views that are gained and views that restrict a neighbor may influence height.
  • Cost may also be a factor (floor to ceiling or total amount of floors)
  • Clearances for specialty equipment
  • Structural concerns as well as material limits and assembly type play an important role here too

These factors along with many others play important roles in how tall you can build your next building. When one of these factors change often it affects the other variables so it is often important to keep a balance between these various factors.