# How many people fit in 1 square meter

## Calculation of the number of visitors

The calculation of the maximum number of visitors or people permitted for a meeting place is an essential prerequisite for the feasibility and safety of an event. At least the operator of a meeting place, the organizer and the security service should be able to calculate this.

For a calculation, I recommend the following four-step procedure, whereby the lowest number always applies in the end:

• Specification by the authority / requirement,
• Individual examination of whether the given or mathematically calculated numbers need to be further reduced due to the circumstances of the specific event.

One might think that the calculation according to § 1 MVStättVO only plays a role for the question of the applicability of the MVStättVO, and that for the maximum number of visitors "only" depends on the width of the escape route according to § 7 MVStättVO.

### Wording of the regulation

In fact, Section 1 (2) MVStättVO is about the applicability. There it says: “The number of Visitor is to be measured as follows: ... "

In paragraph 1 it says: “The provisions of this ordinance apply to the construction and operation of 1. Assembly venues with assembly rooms that individually have more than 200 Visitor grasp ... "

In § 7 paragraph 4 it says: “The width of the escape routes is according to the greatest possible peoplenumber to measure. The clear width of each part of the escape route must be at least 1.20 m. The clear width of each part of the escape route must be for those dependent on it people be at least at

1. Outdoor meeting places and sports stadiums: 1.20 m each 600 people,
2. other meeting places: 1.20 m per 200 people. (…)“

It is noticeable:

Section 1 (2) speaks of “visitors”, while Section 7 (4) speaks of “people”. Applicability depends on the number of visitors, while the width of the escape route depends on visitors + employees + contributors = people.

In the justification of the ARGE Bau on § 1 Abs. 2 MVStättVO it says:

“The suggestions received during the hearing on the draft of the MVStättVO regarding number 1, based on the measurement of four people per m² of floor space, were not complied with because this would result in overcrowding of the assembly rooms and over-dimensioning of the escape routes. Only in the case of standing places on rows of steps, e.g. in sports stadiums, was the organizers allowed a greater density, with the result that the escape routes must be dimensioned correspondingly larger. For interior rooms, however, an occupancy of four people per m² is neither practical nor justifiable in terms of security law. The purpose of the regulation is to limit the number of people to a level that is unobjectionable under safety law.

The calculation formula is important

• for checking whether a meeting place falls under the scope of the MVStättVO,
• for dimensioning the clear width of the escape routes in all their parts,
• for the opening of the scope of a special regulation of the MVStättVO. "

### The logic of the MVStättVO

A meeting place is to be built with a capacity of 500 visitors. How wide the escape routes have to be built for this results from the total of 500 visitors + (participants + employees). This sum is the number of people.

Since the inaccessible areas (e.g. catering area, stage) are not included in the calculation of the number of visitors and the participants and employees are also there, there is usually no overcrowding. Let's say we have 100 contributors and employees.

This results in a total of 600 people as an example.

Escape routes with a (total) width of 3.60 meters are then required for this meeting place.

Back to the question of whether the calculation formula according to § 1 Paragraph 2 must be included in the calculation of the permitted number of people in the meeting place:

To do this, it is necessary to play through various constellations of facts:

### a.) The meeting place is being built from scratch

See above: The escape routes must be built in such a way that all potentially possible people are taken into account.

### b.) A room later becomes a meeting place

Let us assume that a production hall has a net area of ​​500 square meters. There are three exit gates, each 3.60 meters wide.

If only the calculation formula according to Section 7 (4) were decisive, 1,800 people would be allowed into the hall. If only a few participants are present, this means an occupancy of 3.6 visitors per square meter.

However, this not only actually means “full” or “narrow”, but also contradicts the idea behind the calculation formula according to Section 1, Paragraph 2: “For interior rooms, however, an occupancy of four people per m² is neither practical nor justifiable in terms of security law.” ( see justification for MVStättVO).

An appropriate solution must therefore also be found for such a constructed situation:

From a purely legal point of view, the operator must not limit himself to the purely mathematical results anyway. It is necessary and reasonable that, taking this mathematical result into account, it is checked whether the circumstances require this result to be reduced even further.

In the example, this would be the case as seen (3.6 visitors per square meter).

Before the operator (or the organizer as part of his traffic safety obligations) blindly pokes around in the thick fog, it makes sense to use the calculation formula according to § 1 (2) as an additional corrective. This also results from the conclusion on the above-cited justification for the MVStättVO.

In practice, there is also the following risk: If an operator / organizer were to calculate the maximum number of visitors only calculated in accordance with Section 7 (4), there may be places of assembly where there are many visitors in a small area (see the example above). If the event is a concert, experience has shown that 4 visitors jostle in front of the stage on one square meter. According to the calculation I prefer (= taking into account the calculation formula in accordance with § 1 Paragraph 2) there would then be a “compensation area” on which the visitors can switch to “empty” / unused square meters.

If, as we have seen, only the calculation according to Section 7 (4) would be decisive, it could happen that all available square meters are occupied by 4 or more visitors. However, this is then no longer justifiable in terms of security law.

Calculation by area

The net area accessible to visitors is decisive, i.e. areas for counters and the like are not included in the calculation.

Is it allowed to inflate the area artificially in order to attract a higher number of visitors?

So can you say, for example, that the toilet areas and corridors are included in order to have a larger net area?

That is not excluded, but then the number and arrangement of the necessary escape routes will also increase.

Conversely, however, areas cannot be artificially reduced in order to fall outside the scope of the regulation. It is not enough, for example, to set up a mobile wall in order to thereby to get a lower number of visitors (it is of course not forbidden to put up such a wall, but it does not affect the scope of the regulation).

In some federal states, there is an important sub-clause in Section 1 (2): “Unless otherwise stated in the building plans,…”. The consequence: In these federal states it is permissible to use the objective, formalistic calculation of § 1 paragraph 2 to deviate. In the justification of the MVStättVO it says:

"If the number of visitors in the building plans is above the standard values ​​or the minimum number of standing places, it must be ensured that the greater the density of people - even with the width of the escape route according to Section 7 (4) - the potential risk in the assembly rooms and therefore the permitted number of visitors are to be limited accordingly. According to Section 44, Paragraph 1, Clause 2, the fire protection concept must also be supplemented in these cases. For assembly rooms with a higher number of visitors, the quick and safe accessibility of the exits to the outside and the implementation of effective extinguishing and rescue measures must be shown separately. The measures to be taken depend on the size of the meeting room, the number of people and the type of events for which the room is intended; they can be of an organizational, safety-related and structural nature, such as the arrangement of aisles, barriers and additional exits, separate entrances and exits, separate attack routes for the fire brigade. "

### Calculation according to escape route widths

Before the question of the width: The escape routes, the width of which is included, must meet the structural requirements of §§ 6 and 7 MVStättVO. The widest escape route in a hall is therefore of no use if it is 100 meters long.

For example, if the area calculation results in a number of 1,000 people, escape routes are necessary for this number. The relevant calculation formula can be found in Section 7 (4):

1. For outdoor meeting places and sports stadiums, a clear width of 1.20 m per 600 people.
2. At other meeting places, a clear width of 1.20 m per 200 people.

Intermediate values ​​are permitted in some federal states.

The minimum clear width of each part of escape routes must be 1.20 m.

There are also the following exceptions:

1. A clear width of 0.90 m is sufficient for escape routes in assembly rooms with no more than 200 visitor spaces and for escape routes in the stage building.
2. A width of 0.80 m is sufficient for escape routes from work galleries.

This also applies to locations that were not originally built as a meeting place (e.g. the factory hall): Then you ultimately have to calculate the area and the escape route widths - and the smaller of the two numbers is then decisive.

### Condition of the authorities

The competent authority can limit the number of people; The operator may not simply ignore such a restriction, even if he has calculated a different number. If a clarifying discussion does not help, the administrative court would have to decide if necessary. But one thing is clear: the authority may have good reasons to limit the number that the operator may not even see.

You can find more information on the subject in our Permits category »

### Individual "calculation"

The principle always applies: It is the responsibility of the person responsible to check whether the legal provisions are sufficient for their individual location. It may therefore be that the purely mathematical calculation results in a higher number, but the specific circumstances of the location or the temporary event lead to a reduction.

Such criteria could be, for example:

• Complexity of the location,
• tight "seams",
• the maximum permitted values ​​can “just about” be adhered to, or
• Peculiarities of the operating concept, etc.

I recommend documenting such considerations and their results in writing.

### Comparison with calculation for block formation

A further look at the justification for the MVStättVO confirms the use of the calculation formula according to square meters: When asked how to calculate the number of visitors in a block in accordance with Section 29 (2) MVStättVO, the reasoning expressly refers to the calculation formula in Section 1 Paragraph 2.

### Do escape routes have to be kept clear?

An interesting question is whether areas of the escape routes may be included in the calculation of the number of visitors, or whether they should be removed from the calculation: With the argument that escape routes must be kept free and that more visitors would be in the meeting place than intended.

I have already written various statements and reports on this, and in each case I came to the conclusion that escape route areas can be included in the assessment basis.