Places of Worship | Standards Michigan

Places of Worship

Keep in mind that places of worship have multiple functions apart from the setting for religious observance -- education, childcare, entertainment; even as community refuge centers.


Places of Worship

February 1, 2020
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Christ Chapel / Hillsdale College

In the International Code Council suite of consensus products, incorporated by reference into public safety legislation, and set the standard of care for building safety and sustainability, we find design requirements for places of worship tracking in the following sections of the International Building Code (IBC):

Section 303 Assembly Group A

“303.1.4:  Accessory religious educational rooms and religious auditoriums with occupant loads less than 100 per room or space are not considered separate occupancies.”   This informs how fire protection systems are designed.

Section 305 Educational Group E

“305.2.1: Rooms and spaces within places of worship proving such day care during religious functions shall be classified as part of the primary occupancy.”  This group includes building and structures or portions thereof occupied by more than five children older than 2-1/2 years of age who receive educational, supervision or personal care services for fewer than 24 hours per day.

Section 308 Institutional Group I

“308.5.2: Rooms and spaces within places of religious worship providing [Group I-4 Day Care Facilities] during religious functions shall be classified as part of the primary occupancy.   When [Group I-4 Day Care Facilities] includes buildings and structures occupied by more than five persons of any age who receive custodial care for fewer than 24 hours per day by persons other than parents or guardians, relatives by blood, marriage or adoption, and in a place other than the home of the person cared for.

Tricky stuff — and we haven’t even included conditions under which university-affiliated places of worship may expected to be used as community storm shelters.

The complete monograph of proposals for new building safety concepts for places of worship for the present Group B cycle are linked below (2919 pages):



A simple search on the word “worship” will reveal what ideas are in play.  With the Group B Public Comment Hearings now complete ICC administered committees are now curating the results for the Online Governmental Consensus Vote milestone in the ICC process that was completed December 6th.   Status reports are linked below:

2018/2019 Code Development: Group B

As always, we are happy to get down in the weeds with education facility managers any day at 11 AM Eastern time.  We also set aside at least one hour per month to I-Codes for Education Facilities.  See our CALENDAR for the next online meeting; open to everyone.

Issue: [Various]

Category: Chapels

Colleagues: Mike Anthony, Jack Janveja, Richard Robben, Larry Spielvogel



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