Heads up: There are no amended sections in this chapter.
Chapter 34 shall not apply to the following:
- Storage of commodities that, with their packaging and storage aids, would be classified as noncombustible
- Unpackaged bulk materials such as grain, coal, or similar commodities but excluding wood chips and sawdust, which are addressed in Chapter 31
- Inside or outside storage of commodities covered by this Code, except where specifically mentioned herein (e.g., pyroxylin plastics)
- Storage of high-hazard materials covered by this Code, except where specifically mentioned herein
- Storage on plastic shelves on racks
- * Miscellaneous tire storage
- Combustible fiber storage, which is covered in Chapter 45
The protection requirements for the lower commodity class shall be permitted to be utilized where all of the following are met:
- Up to 10 pallet loads of a higher hazard commodity, as described in 34.2.5 and 34.2.6, shall be permitted to be present in an area not exceeding 40,000 ft2 (3720 m2).
- The higher hazard commodity shall be randomly dispersed with no adjacent loads in any direction (including diagonally).
- Where the ceiling protection is based on Class I or Class II commodities, the allowable number of pallet loads for Class IV or Group A plastics shall be reduced to five. [13:220.127.116.11.3]
The protection requirements for the lower commodity class shall be permitted to be utilized in the area of lower commodity class, where the higher hazard material is confined to a designated area and the area is protected to the higher hazard in accordance with the requirements of this Code. [13:18.104.22.168.4]
When loads are palletized, the use of wood or metal pallets, or listed pallets equivalent to wood, shall be assumed in the classification of commodities. [13:22.214.171.124]
Unreinforced polypropylene or unreinforced high-density polyethylene plastic pallets shall be marked with a permanent symbol to indicate that the pallet is unreinforced. [13:126.96.36.199.1]
For Class I through Class IV commodities, when reinforced polypropylene or reinforced high-density polyethylene plastic pallets are used, the classification of the commodity unit shall be increased two classes except for Class IV commodity, which shall be increased to a cartoned unexpanded Group A Plastic commodity. [13:188.8.131.52]
Pallets shall be assumed to be reinforced if no permanent marking or manufacturer's certification of nonreinforcement is provided. [13:184.108.40.206.1]
For Class I through Class IV commodities stored on plastic pallets, when other than wood, metal, or polypropylene or high-density polyethylene plastic pallets are used, the classification of the commodity unit shall be determined by specific testing conducted by a national testing laboratory or shall be increased two classes. [13:220.127.116.11]
A Class I commodity shall be defined as a noncombustible product that meets one of the following criteria:
- Placed directly on wood pallets
- Placed in single-layer corrugated cartons, with or without single-thickness cardboard dividers, with or without pallets
- Shrink-wrapped or paper-wrapped as a unit load with or without pallets [13:18.104.22.168]
Commodities containing a mix of both Group A expanded and unexpanded plastics shall comply with Figure 22.214.171.124.2. [13:126.96.36.199.3]
A Class IV commodity shall be defined as a product, with or without pallets, that meets one of the following criteria:
- Constructed partially or totally of Group B plastics
- Consists of free-flowing Group A plastic materials
- Contains within itself or its packaging an appreciable amount (greater than 5 to 15 percent by weight of Group A unexpanded plastic or greater than 5 percent to 25 percent by volume of expanded Group A plastic) of Group A plastics [13:188.8.131.52.1]
Commodities containing a mix of both Group A expanded and unexpanded plastics shall comply with Figure 184.108.40.206.2. [13:220.127.116.11.2]
FIGURE 18.104.22.168.2 Commodities Containing a Mixture of Expanded and Unexpanded Group A Plastics
Plastics, elastomers, and rubber shall be classified as Group A, Group B, or Group C. [13:5.6.4]
The following materials shall be classified as Group A:
- ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene copolymer)
- Acetal (polyformaldehyde)
- Acrylic (polymethyl methacrylate)
- Butyl rubber
- Cellulosics (cellulose acetate, cellulose acetate butyrate, ethyl cellulose)
- EPDM (ethylene-propylene rubber)
- FRP (fiberglass-reinforced polyester)
- Natural rubber
- Nitrile-rubber (acrylonitrile-butadiene-rubber)
- Nylon (nylon 6, nylon 6/6)
- PET (thermoplastic polyester)
- Polyester elastomer
- PVC (polyvinyl chloride — highly plasticized, with plasticizer content greater than 20 percent) (rarely found)
- PVF (polyvinyl fluoride)
- SAN (styrene acrylonitrile)
- SBR (styrene-butadiene rubber) [13:22.214.171.124]
Group A plastics shall be further subdivided as either expanded or unexpanded. [13:126.96.36.199.1]
If a cartoned commodity is more than 40 percent (by volume) expanded plastic, it shall be protected as a cartoned expanded plastic. [13:188.8.131.52.1.1]
Exposed commodities containing greater than 25 percent by volume expanded plastic shall be protected as an exposed expanded plastic. [13:184.108.40.206.1.2]
The following materials shall be classified as Group B:
- Chloroprene rubber
- Fluoroplastics (ECTFE — ethylene-chlorotrifluoro-ethylene copolymer; ETFE — ethylene tetrafluoroethylene copolymer; FEP — fluorinated ethylene-propylene copolymer)
- Silicone rubber [13:220.127.116.11]
The following materials shall be classified as Group C:
- Fluoroplastics (PCTFE — polychlorotrifluoroethylene; PTFE — polytetrafluoroethylene)
- Melamine (melamine formaldehyde)
- PVC (polyvinyl chloride — flexible — PVCs with plasticizer content up to 20 percent)
- PVDC (polyvinylidene chloride)
- PVDF (polyvinylidene fluoride)
- Urea (urea formaldehyde) [13:18.104.22.168]
Heavyweight class shall be defined so as to include paperboard and paper stock having a basis weight [weight per 1000 ft2 (92.9 m2)] of 20 lb (9.1 kg). [13:22.214.171.124]
Mediumweight class shall be defined so as to include all the broad range of papers having a basis weight [weight per 1000 ft2 (92.9 m2)] of 10 lb to 20 lb (4.5 kg to 9.1 kg). [13:126.96.36.199]
Lightweight class shall be defined so as to include all papers having a basis weight [weight per 1000 ft2 (92.9 m2)] of less than 10 lb (4.5 kg). [13:188.8.131.52]
Tissue shall be defined so as to include the broad range of papers of characteristic gauzy texture, which, in some cases, are fairly transparent. [13:184.108.40.206.1]
For the purposes of this Code, tissue shall be defined as the soft, absorbent type, regardless of basis weight — specifically, crepe wadding and the sanitary class including facial tissue, paper napkins, bathroom tissue, and toweling. [13:220.127.116.11.2]
Access shall be provided to all portions of the premises for fire-fighting purposes.
Protection outlined in this chapter shall apply to buildings with or without smoke and heat vents.
Protection outlined in this chapter shall apply to buildings with or without draft curtains.
Where local codes require smoke and heat vents in buildings protected by early suppression fast response (ESFR) sprinklers, the vents shall be manually operated or have an operating mechanism with a standard response fusible element rated not less than 360°F (182°C).
Any commodities that are hazardous in combination with each other shall be stored so they cannot come into contact with each other.
Safe floor loads shall not be exceeded.
The clearance between stored materials and unit heaters, radiant space heaters, duct furnaces, and flues shall not be less than 3 ft (0.9 m) in all directions or shall be in accordance with the clearances shown on the approval agency label.
Clearance shall be maintained to lights or light fixtures to prevent ignition.
Clearance shall be maintained around the path of fire door travel to ensure the door's proper operation and inspection.
Operation and inspection clearance shall be maintained around fire-extinguishing and fire protection equipment.
Aisles shall be maintained to retard the transfer of fire from one pile to another and to allow convenient access for fire fighting, salvage, and removal of storage.
High-expansion foam systems installed in addition to automatic sprinklers shall be installed in accordance with NFPA 11 except where modified by other requirements in this chapter.
High-expansion foam used to protect idle pallets shall have a fill time of not more than 4 minutes.
Where 11/2 in. (38 mm) hose lines are available to reach all portions of areas with Class A fire loads, up to one-half of the portable fire extinguishers required by Section 13.6 shall be permitted to be omitted.
At locations without public hydrants, or where hydrants are not within 250 ft (75 m), private hydrants shall be installed in accordance with Section 13.5.
Arrangements shall be made to allow rapid entry into the premises by the municipal fire department, police department, or other authorized personnel in case of fire or other emergency.
Due to the unique nature of storage fires and the hazards associated with fighting such fires, facility emergency personnel shall be trained to have knowledge of the following:
- Pile and building collapse potential during fire-fighting and mop-up operations due to sprinkler water absorption, use of hose streams, and the undermining of piles by fire that is likely to cause material or piles to fall (especially roll tissue paper), resulting in injury
- Operation of sprinkler systems and water supply equipment
- Location of the controlling sprinkler valves so that the correct sprinkler system can be turned on or off as necessary
- Correct operation of emergency smoke and heat vent systems where they have been provided
- Use of material-handling equipment while sprinklers are operating to effect final extinguishment
- Procedure for summoning outside aid immediately in an emergency
- Maintenance of the security features of the premises
- Operation of foam systems, evacuation procedures, and safety precautions during all foam operations
Local waterflow alarm service shall be permitted when recorded guard service also is provided.
Security service, where provided, shall comply with NFPA 601.
Power-operated industrial trucks and their use shall comply with NFPA 505.
Electrical equipment shall be installed in accordance with the provisions of Section 11.1.
Welding, soldering, brazing, and cutting shall be permitted to be performed on building components or contents that cannot be removed, provided that no storage is located below and within 25 ft (7.6 m) of the working area and flameproof tarpaulins enclose the area.
During any of the operations identified in 18.104.22.168, all of the following shall apply:
- The sprinkler system shall be in service.
- Extinguishers suitable for Class A fires with a minimum rating of 2-A shall be located in the working area.
- Where inside hose lines are available, charged and attended inside hose lines shall be located in the working area.
- A fire watch shall be maintained during the operations specified in 22.214.171.124 and for not less than 30 minutes following completion of open-flame operation.
Fire walls, fire doors, and floors shall be maintained in functional condition at all times.
All water-based fire protection systems and the water supplies shall be inspected, tested, and maintained in accordance with NFPA 25.
Refrigeration systems, if used, shall be in accordance with ASHRAE 15, Safety Code for Mechanical Refrigeration.
Where metal halide lighting is installed, it shall be selected, installed, and maintained such that catastrophic failure of the bulb shall not ignite materials below.
For sprinklered buildings with rack storage of over 15 ft (4.6 m) in height and only ceiling sprinklers installed, steel building columns within the rack structure and vertical rack members that support the building shall have a fire resistance rating not less than 1 hour, unless the installation meets the requirements of 16.1.4 of NFPA 13.
Where high-expansion foam systems are installed, they shall be automatic in operation and shall be in accordance with NFPA 11, except when modified by 126.96.36.199.
Detectors shall be listed and shall be installed in one of the following configurations:
- At one-half listed linear spacing [e.g., 15 ft × 15 ft (4.6 m × 4.6 m) rather than 30 ft × 30 ft (9.1 m × 9.1 m)] when the following conditions exist:
- At the ceiling at listed spacing and on racks at alternate levels
- Where listed for rack storage installation and installed in accordance with ceiling detector listing to provide response within 1 minute after ignition using an ignition source equivalent to that used in a rack storage testing program
The following requirements shall apply to storage of Class I, Class II, Class III, and Class IV commodities, as classified in Section 34.2, up to and including 25 ft (7.6 m) in height:
- * When high-expansion foam systems are used without sprinklers, the submergence time shall be not more than 5 minutes for Class I, Class II, or Class III commodities.
- When high-expansion foam systems are used without sprinklers, the submergence time shall be not more than 4 minutes for Class IV commodities.
- When high-expansion foam systems are used in combination with ceiling sprinklers, the submergence time shall be not more than 7 minutes for Class I, Class II, or Class III commodities.
- When high-expansion foam systems are used in combination with ceiling sprinklers, the submergence time shall be not more than 5 minutes for Class IV commodities.
The following requirements shall apply to storage of Class I, Class II, Class III, and Class IV commodities stored over 25 ft (7.6 m) high up to and including 35 ft (10.7 m) in height:
- Ceiling sprinklers shall be used in combination with the high-expansion foam system.
- The submergence time for the high-expansion foam shall be not more than 5 minutes for Class I, Class II, or Class III commodities.
- The submergence time for the high-expansion foam shall be not more than 4 minutes for Class IV commodities.
Steel columns shall be protected as follows unless protected in accordance with 16.1.4 of NFPA 13:
Fire walls shall be designed in accordance with NFPA 221.
Piles that are not adjacent to or located along a wall shall be not more than 50 ft (15 m) in width.
Tires stored adjacent to or along one wall shall not extend more than 25 ft (7.6 m) from the wall.
Where tires are stored on-tread, the dimension of the pile in the direction of the wheel hole shall be not more than 50 ft (15 m).
The width of the main aisles between piles shall be not less than 8 ft (2.4 m).
Storage clearance from roof structures shall be not less than 18 in. (470 mm) in all directions.
A clearance of not less than 24 in. (610 mm) shall be maintained around the path of fire door travel unless a barricade is provided.
Section 34.9 shall apply to new facilities with indoor storage of roll paper, and to existing facilities being converted to the indoor storage of roll paper, except for the following types of roll paper:
Idle pallets stored outside shall be stored in accordance with Table 188.8.131.52(a) and Table 184.108.40.206(b).
|Pile Size||Minimum Distance|
|Under 50 pallets||20||6|
|Over 200 pallets||50||15|
|Wall Construction||Minimum Distance of Wall from Storage|
|Under 50 Pallets||50 to 200 Pallets||Over 200 Pallets|
|Masonry with no openings||0||0||0||0||15||4.6|
|Masonry with wired glass in openings, outside sprinklers, and 1-hour doors||0||0||10||3||20||6|
|Masonry with wired or plain glass, outside sprinklers, and 3/4-hour doors||10||3||20||6||30||9|
|Wood or metal with outside sprinklers||10||3||20||6||30||9|
|Wood, metal, or other||20||6||30||9||50||15|
Idle pallet stacks shall not exceed 15 ft (4.6 m) in height nor shall cover an area of greater than 400 ft2 (37 m2). Pallet stacks shall be arranged to form stable piles. A distance of not less than 8 ft (2.4 m) shall separate stacks. Piles shall be no closer than 8 ft (2.4 m) to any property line.
Each site shall maintain a current site plan. The site plan shall be submitted to the authority having jurisdiction for review and approval and shall include all of the following:
- Lot lines
- Size, location, and type of construction of the buildings on the property
- Presence of fire protection systems
- Water supply sources for fire-fighting purposes
- Locations of hazardous material storage areas
- Location of pallet storage
- Equipment protected with a dust collection system
- Fire department access routes
- Designated smoking areas
- Locations of fire alarm control panels
The owner or designated representative shall submit a fire prevention plan for review and approval by the authority having jurisdiction that includes all of the following:
- Frequency of walk-through inspections to verify compliance with the approved fire prevention plan
- Hot work permit process in accordance with Chapter 41
- Preventive maintenance program for equipment associated with the pallet activities
- Inspection, testing, and maintenance of fire protection systems in accordance with Chapter 13
- Frequency of walk-through inspections to verify pallet stack height, area, and setbacks are in compliance with 34.10.4
The owner or designated representative shall prepare a security management plan based on a security risk assessment and shall make the plan and assessment available to the AHJ upon request.
Unless permitted by 220.127.116.11, stacks of pallets shall not be stored within 0.75 times the stack height or 8 ft (2.4 m), whichever is greater, of any property line.
Pallet stacks shall not exceed 20 ft (6 m) in height.
The size of pallet arrays shall comply with one of the following:
- Where the access to the pallet array is less than 20 ft (6 m) in width but at least 8 ft (2.4 m) in width, the nearest edge of any individual pallet stack shall be no more than 30 ft (9 m) from the access.
- Where the access to the pallet array is by a fire department access route complying with Section 18.2, the nearest edge of any individual pallet stack shall be no more than 50 ft (15 m) from the access.
- The individual pallet stack depth from access within pallet arrays at existing facilities that exceed 18.104.22.168(1) or 22.214.171.124(2) shall be as approved by the AHJ.
Portable fire extinguishers shall be selected, installed, and maintained in accordance with Section 13.6.
The AHJ shall be permitted to allow pallet stacks closer to a property line or structure on site where additional fire protection is provided, including, but not limited to, the following:
- The storage yard areas and materials-handling equipment selection, design, and arrangement are based upon an approved risk assessment.
- Automatic fire detection transmits an alarm signal to a supervising station in accordance with NFPA 72.
- Fire department access roads are provided around all storage areas.