Clear passage is the amount of space between the front of the chair to the back of the chair in front of it. It’s an important aspect of patron safety and comfort. This space can be calculated using formulas from the International Building Code (IBC). Currently, per the IBC, clear passage starts at 12 inches for each row of 7 chairs with access to one aisle and each row of 14 chairs with access to two aisles. For rows greater than 7 or 14 chairs, clear passage is calculated as follows:
Rows greater than 7 chairs with access to one aisle:
Number of Chairs Greater than 7 X 0.6” + 12” = Minimum Clear Passage
Rows greater than 14 chairs with access to two aisles:
Number of Chairs Greater than 14 X 0.3” + 12” = Minimum Clear Passage
For example, if you were planning on rows of 25 chairs with access to an aisle on each side, clear passage would be calculated as such:
Number of Chair Greater than 14: 25 - 14 = 1
11 X 0.3" + 12 = clear passage minimum of 15.3 inches
If you're unsure about clear passage for your space, your seating provider can help determine the distance you need.
Whether you’re working in a completely new space or have preexisting fixtures to work with, your seating provider’s layout engineers can help make the most of your seating configuration. Understanding the requirements for the space from a safety and accommodations perspective as well as a patron experience perspective allows you to create a space that doesn’t just work, but that patrons want to come back to.