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Traffic areas

What to consider for optimal circulation

aire circulation patio

Why are traffic areas important?

Whether inside or outside your home, in a business or at your workplace, all spaces are designed and arranged according to circulation areas. What is a traffic area? And above all, what is it for? The more space we have, the more things we can put in there! Not necessarily…

A circulation area is a clearance provided in the area to be developed which mainly serves to leave a free space in order to be able to move around without hindrance. The width is planned according to the nature of the premises and the use which will be made of them. For example, the circulation area of ​​a grocery aisle will optimally be 6' wide or more, because in a store, we anticipate that two people can pass each other in opposite directions in the same aisle and that it takes them ideally 3' wide each to feel comfortable.

At home, circulation areas are not as wide. There are far fewer people in the same place at the same time. A reasonable circulation area for a residential location, whether indoors or outdoors, is approximately 3' wide . This space allows you to move easily without being stuck when moving from one room to another. It also ensures the safety of occupants in the event of rapid evacuation of the premises.

When it comes to the layout and dimensions of the rooms in the house, an architect or designer has undoubtedly already done the exercise of thinking about it for you. However, when it comes to the arrangement of your furniture in your different living areas, it is up to you to do this exercise to create pleasant places to live. It doesn't matter whether it's for your living room, your bedroom or even your terrace, the questions you need to ask yourself remain the same: What will I use this space for? What furniture and decoration elements do I want to put there? How will I move around and use this space?

Let's do the exercise together, take your terrace for example:

What will I use this space for?
To barbecue, eat outside and relax.

What furniture and decoration elements do I want to put there?
A barbecue, a table with 4 chairs, a corner sofa with a small table, a fireplace and flower pots.

How will I move around and use this space?
I'll go out and cook on the barbecue, I'll bring the food to the table to serve the meal. When I finish my meal, I'll go on the sofa to relax, but I want to be able to chat with the people at the table and have everyone enjoy the fireplace at the same time.

To be as optimal as possible, here is what your terrace layout should look like according to the answers provided to the questions.

Image: Patio plan indicating the circulation areas to leave between the zones.

aire circulation patio

Well-designed spaces!

In this example, the circulation areas are optimal because they leave sufficient clearance around each area . The barbecue is right next to the patio door to allow easy access from the kitchen and has sufficient clearance with the 3' table to allow someone to cook without obstructing the passage behind them. The table is located right next to the barbecue to facilitate the serving of meals and around the table there is space, minimum 2' all around so that the occupants are not trapped. The relaxation area is also nearby, but without cluttering anything, because it is positioned in a corner of the patio and the fireplace is placed between the sofa and the table.

Note that in the center of the patio , where there is the spire, we kept a 6' wide circulation space between the patio door and the step that leads to the courtyard. This space is important because it is the main circulation area of ​​the development . It allows easy access to the land and to the entrance to the backyard. This corridor is where you are most likely to have two or more people moving at a time, so it needs to be wider. It is also designed to help evacuate the building in the event of an emergency. We are also required by law to keep all exits clear at all times , even in winter. It is then your duty to clear this traffic space and ensure that you can evacuate and move far enough away from the building without incident.

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