Auditorium Seating Standards

Updated April 17, 2017

Auditorium seating plans must take a number of factors into account, including space requirements, relevant codes and standards. A set of standards governing auditorium seating standards has been developed by the Whole Building Design Guide under the auspices of the National Institute of Building Sciences.

Whole Building Design Guide

The Whole Building Design Guide, a program of the National Institute of Building Sciences, is a web-based portal that provides information to government and private organisations on a range of issues related to building construction, including design guidance, project management, and operations and maintenance.


The National Institute of Building Sciences makes a number of recommendations for auditorium seating plans. A short list includes: sloped floors to ensure spectators can see the stage; fixed seats that provide sufficient space for spectators to move in and out of rows; and step lights to ensure spectators can find their seats without injury.

Codes and Standards

Codes and standards relevant to auditorium seating plans include the Americans with Disabilities Act; the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities; and the International Building Code.

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About the Author

Mike Evans has written policies and press releases since 2008. He is particularly interested in writing on politics, law, ethics, church-state separation and science. Evans holds a Master of Arts in philosophy from York University and an Honors Bachelor of Arts with a double-major in philosophy and law and society.