Skip to Content


A maximum capacity must be defined for the venue and, if necessary, its areas. In this context, ‘capacity’ refers to the maximum number of persons allowed to be present at the same time. Calculation of capacity takes into account all persons present in the area, such as the audience, staff, performers, providers of ancillary services and contestants.

The maximum capacity of a space depends on, for example, the fire class of the building, its floor area and the width of the escape routes. The maximum capacity permitted in assembly facilities is specified in the building permit and cannot be exceeded. Depending on the nature of the event, the maximum capacity may be smaller than specified in the building permit.

In the case of outdoor events, as a rule, the maximum capacity is calculated by reserving 1 m² of space per person. Space occupied by stages or similar structures, toilets, cloakrooms or storage facilities is not included in the area used in the calculation. The width of the available escape routes may limit the maximum capacity of the event area.

At temporary outdoor events, the maximum capacity can also be determined according to what is specified in the guidelines for determining the capacity in outdoor events. The factors influencing the determination of capacity include the characteristics of the event and the venue, the risks related to the event, the acceptable evacuation time, the evacuation arrangements, the floor area and the competence of the personnel. The guidelines do not apply to fixed venues or events that require a permit from the building control authority or for which the building control authority has established a maximum capacity.

The number of persons must be monitored throughout the event by tracking the number the people entering and leaving the event area and by monitoring movements within the event area. If the maximum capacity of the event area is reached, entry into it must be prevented.

Evacuation arrangements

It must be possible to evacuate the building and the event area safely in the event of a fire or other emergency. The escape routes must be kept accessible and unobstructed. There must be at least two separate and appropriately located escape routes from each area of the building and event area. As a rule, escape routes must not be longer than 45 metres.

The evacuation arrangements of an assembly facility are specified in the building permit. In outdoor events in an enclosed or fenced area, the total width of escape routes is mainly determined based on the Ministry of the Environment Decree on the Fire Safety of Buildings. The minimum width of an escape route is 1,200 mm. If the capacity exceeds 120 persons, the minimum width of escape routes is calculated by adding to 400 mm to 1,200 mm for each additional 60 persons.

Escape routes must be marked with exit signs. Exit signs must be clear and, as a rule, illuminated. The signs must be noticeable and easy to understand. If the visibility of exit signs is reduced by, for example, temporary structures or furnishings, more signs must be added as needed. The appearance and general characteristics of exit signs must comply with the Government Decree on Workplace Safety Signs and Their Minimum Requirements. Exit signs must be at least 100 mm high and wide. The size of the sign is determined on the basis of the viewing distance in accordance with standard SFS-EN 1838.

Read more:

Ministry of the Environment Decree on the Fire Safety of Buildings (in Finnish)
Ministry of the Interior Decree on Marking and Illuminating the Exit Routes of Buildings (in Finnish)
Government Decree on Workplace Safety Signs and Their Minimum Requirements (in Finnish)