frequently asked questions
- I am
planning to lease a new building that was designed for High
Pile Storage. Are there any changes to the sprinklers or
building needed since the building has already been designed
for High Pile Storage?
- There will
probably be some additions like Fire Hose Stations and
possibly draft curtains. In addition your specific use,
storage and commodity will need to be reviewed to verify
that the design of the building (ie. Sprinkler density,
smoke vent ratios, access doors and building access) matches
your situation. Not all buildings designed for High Pile
Storage are created equal.
- I have a
small warehouse in my building and the fire department says
that since I have storage over 12’-0" I have High Pile
Storage. My building does not have fire sprinklers. Do I have
to install a fire sprinkler system?
necessarily, you may have an area that is small enough that
meeting the criteria for Smoke Vents, Draft Stops, Fire
Hose, Access and Alarms may allow you to avoid the
installation of a Fire Sprinkler System.
- We store
cosmetics in our warehouse and have more Class I-B Flammable
Liquids than the exempt amount allowed in the Uniform Fire
Code. Is there any way that we can store more than 60 gallons
without building an H-Room?
- Yes, the
code allows for the exempt amount to be doubled if the
building is equipped with Fire Sprinklers. The code also
allows that the amount can be doubled again if the Liquid is
stored in approved cabinets. And finally the building can
have more than one control area, up to four in a warehouse.
- I have
High Pile Storage on Pallet Racks. We receive pallets of all
sizes and some do not fit well on our racks. We have installed
plywood on the racks to hold all of the pallets. The Fire
Department has stated that we need In-Rack Sprinklers because
of the plywood. Is there any way to avoid the In-Rack
Sprinklers and keep the plywood.
- In general
No. There are some specific exceptions to solid shelving but
for most uses each level of storage would require In-Rack
Fire Sprinklers. The intent of the code is to allow water to
get from the roof sprinklers down through the commodities to
the lower levels of the racks, solid shelving prevents the
water from reaching a fire in the lower rack levels.
- Are all
plastics High Hazard Commodities?
- No, some
plastics are Class III and Class IV Commodities. There are
some conditions where even the plastics that are High Hazard
are not protected as if they are High Hazard.
should I have a Quarterly Inspection of my Fire Sprinkler
- First many
Jurisdictions and Insurance Agencies require that the
Systems have a Quarterly Inspections. Secondly if the
inspections include operation of the valves, lubrication of
the valves, painting and ringing of the bells, you will not
only insure the functioning of the system in the event of a
fire but your Five Year Certification will involve much less
repair due to parts rusting shut. In the event of a fire you
will have made every effort to maintain your systems.
advantage is there in having our Fire Sprinkler Plans
pre-designed for bidding? Don’t the fire sprinkler contractors
have to sprinkler the building according to its size and water
advantage is having one set of specifications, design
criteria and layout for quotations. This eliminates most, if
not all, of the bid qualifications that come in at the last
second at bid time. If you have ever tried to decide if .45
for 4000 is equivalent to .60 for 3000, you can understand
the confusion. In addition with the use of ESFR and ESFR
Ready Systems, prior to the General Bid, many decisions have
had to be made to the structure to accommodate a system that
has some very specific criteria in design.
- The Fire
Department has told me to lower my empty pallet storage. I
thought that wood was a Class III Commodity, why can’t I store
- Just like
some Plastics that are High Hazard may be treated like other
commodities some configurations of lesser commodities may be
treated like High Hazard. Stacking idle pallets creates not
only a chimney but also plenty of dry wood for the fire.
- Is there
one Fire Sprinkler System that can be designed for a building
that will cover all conditions and storage?
- No. The
building height, access and potential tenant base can be
used for a good sprinkler system planning.
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