Setting up the Calculator

The UpCodes Code Calculator is a project-specific tool that checks design information for compliance with the construction codes (specifically the Building Code and the Plumbing Code) of the jurisdiction that the project is located in. The jurisdiction and the code year for a project can be selected when setting up the project, or after a project has been set up, on the Settings page of the project. See Projects for more information.

Calculator Modules

The calculator is broken down into multiple parts or Modules.

Each Module requires inputs in order to perform calculations.  You may analyze modules one at a time, or all together.  Inputs in one module will be reflected in the others so that is not necessary to re-enter project inputs. 

Note that project collaborators can add, modify, or delete information from any field simultaneously. 

Module 1: Heights and Areas

Checks the following for compliance:

Building Areas

Building Height (Feet)

Building Height (Stories)

Module 3: Fire Ratings
Provides you code requirements for:

Interior Building Element Ratings

Minimum Fire Wall Ratings

Minimum Fire Area Separation Ratings

Minimum Corridor Fire-Resistance Ratings

Required Occupancy Separations

Module 2: Egress

Provides you code requirements for:

Minimum Exits per Space  

Minimum Exits per Storey

Maximum Exit Access Travel Distance

Maximum Dead-end Corridor Length

Minimum Corridor Width

Minimum Stairway Width

Module 4: Plumbing Fixtures

Provides you code requirements for:

Minimum Plumbing Fixture Counts

Module 1: Heights/Areas

Heights/Areas contains questions requiring answers for a compliance check with building heights and areas. 

Module 2: Egress

Egress builds on the information provided in the Heights/Areas module. New questions that appear need to be answered to generate a list of code requirements for the egress design.

Module 3: Fire Ratings

Fire Ratings build on top of the information that was provided in the Heights/Areas and Egress module. New questions that show up need to be answered to generate a list of code requirements for building element ratings, minimum firewall ratings, minimum corridor fire-resistance ratings, and required occupancy separations.

Module 4: Plumbing

Plumbing builds on top of the information that was provided in the Heights/Areas and Egress module. New questions that show up need to be answered to generate a list of code requirements for egress design.

Inputting information

There are 2 ways by which you can populate the code calculator with design information. 

Manual Inputs

Type information into the inputs for the code calculator on the Inputs page.

  1. Open the Project you want to work in from the Projects home page in your account.

  2. Click on the Code Calculator button on the project toolbar on the left, and then click on Heights/Areas under Inputs.

  1. Begin typing information into the inputs fields based on your design. A description of each part within the modules has been provided below for your reference.

CSV Import Tool

Use the CSV Import tool to import a CSV file that contains the information. 

Click here for a guide to use this tool.

Module Sections

Each module contains sections of questions. Each section may contain more than one field that needs to be populated, or more than one question that needs to be answered.

Section 1 : Building Composition

The building composition inputs contain information about the number of storeys in the building, storey heights, the spaces within each storey, their occupancies and areas, and their relationship to each other. It also allows you to add corridors, exits and stairs as components of egress in the building.

See below a keyed screenshot of the building composition section.


Occupant Load Factors

Based on the jurisdiction your project is located in, you can select the adopted building code or the adopted life safety code as the basis for occupant load factors by selecting the appropriate code from the dropdown menu on the right.



View the storey number and input the storey height here. 

  1. Click here to view the definition of story height that the calculator uses

  2. If the floor plate is repetitive, you can click Repeat Story to add the number of times the story is repeated. The calculator will factor all the additional floors in its calculations

  3. To remove a story, click Remove story. Note that this will remove all stories if the story is repeated multiple times



Input information about the spaces in your design here. 

  1. Name

Space names can be customized per your standards. There is no requirement to add room numbers in the Name field.

  1. Occupancy

If you are unsure about what occupancy to assign a space, click the dropdown menu under Occupancy and click Occupancy Type Guide. See details about the Occupancy Type Guide at the bottom of this article.

  1. Function of Space

Function of Space is required to calculate the Occupant load based on the Occupant Load Factor (OLF) for the space. If you have selected a function of space that does not use the Gross area to calculate occupant loads, the Net area field allows you to input an area that will then be used to calculate the Occupant load.

  1. Occupant load

Calculated occupant loads can be manually overridden. Once overridden, you can click the Reset button that appears below it to go back to the originally calculated value.


Egress Components

Input information about the corridors, stairs and exits in your design here. 

Once entered, connect them to the appropriate spaces by selecting the component from the dropdown menu under the column Occupants egress to.

  1. Corridors

The code calculator treats corridors as spaces that define and provide a path of egress travel. Occupancy, function of space and square footage inputs are required. The calculated occupant load for a corridor can be overridden.

  1. Stairways

Add any stairways here. Occupancy, function of space and square footage inputs are required. 

  1. Exits

The code calculator considers any component between exit access and exit discharge or public right of way. This would include doors on the exterior facade of the building.


Add story

Input information about upper floors here. 

The calculator does not currently support roofs as a story.


Below grade story

Input information about the basements or cellars here.


Horizontal Building Separations

UpCodes supports horizontal building separations and can identify impacts to building heights and areas if they are a part of the design.

  1. Click Add Horizontal Building Separation to add one to your project. 

  2. Click the dropdown menu under Horizontal Separation Provision to select the appropriate code provision based on your design.

  3. Select a Type of Construction and Sprinkler System for the portion of the building below and above the separation. 

  4. If you are exploring design options and would like to understand the compliance of different construction types with your design parameters, click on the Construction Type Guide at the bottom of the list of construction types.

  1. Using the Construction Type Guide

    1. On opening the guide, you will see a list of construction types along with non compliant conditions identified. In the example below, Type IIB and IIIB construction are both non compliant in terms of Number of Stories.

  1. Modify the parameters at the selections of the sliders at the top of the page to get updated results. Note that changes made on this page will not reflect automatically in your inputs. If you’d like to move forward with the updated parameters and selections you’ve generated, close the window and update your inputs.

Section 2 : General Building Information

Answers to questions in this section are required for the calculator to compute code requirements on the heights and areas of the project. Questions may vary based on the jurisdiction that the project is set up under.

Section 3 : Building Perimeter and Site Information

Add information for each exterior perimeter wall of your building in this section. This information is used to compute allowable area, fire resistance rating requirements, and other code requirements.

Section 4 : Building Uses

These questions help determine specific requirements or exemptions for allowable areas, egress, and fire ratings.  They may also help determine proper plumbing ratios for calculations.  Some questions serve multiple purposes.

Section 5 : Parking Details

These questions help determine specific requirements or exemptions for allowable areas, egress, and fire ratings. Some questions serve multiple purposes.

Next steps

After completing all the sections under a module, there are 2 options to proceed:


Save and View Requirements

This will run a compliance check for the module you are in, even if you haven’t filled in information in every field, or answered every question.


Next Module

This will move you to the next module, where you will be asked additional questions that need to be answered for compliance with egress requirements.