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Idle Pallets

Discussion in 'Commercial Fire Codes' started by cda, Feb 27, 2020.

  1. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    So what is the maximum height, indoor, for idle wood pallets?? Maximum stacks? Separation required?

    In a building with fire sprinklers?

    In a building with no sprinklers?
     
  2. e hilton

    e hilton Bronze Member

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    Why would it be any different than any stored material?
     
  3. ICE

    ICE Moderator

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    You couldn’t get a better arrangement for a bonfire.
     
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  4. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    The amount of exposed combustible surface.
     
  5. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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  6. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    NOTE: This is based on the 2019 CA Fire Code
    TABLE 3203.8
    Pallets and flats that are idle; combustible are a High-hazard
    TABLE 3206.2
    Depending on STORAGE AREA Fire detection and fire extinguishing systems
    20 to 30 feet
     
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  7. Builder Bob

    Builder Bob Sawhorse

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    Look at High Piled storage requirements of the fire code - I believe the pallet height is limited to 6 feet or it becomes a high piles storage commodity. Also, beware of plastic pallets vs wood pallets.

    upload_2020-2-28_12-54-2.png
     
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  8. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    So I could fill a place with wood pallets,,, in a 10000 sq ft building,

    Five feet high with no additional requirements ?

    And not be concerned about the fire load that creates.
     
  9. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    NOT TRUE Look at my post, area is a factor
     
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  10. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    But it is not chapter 32 till greater than six feet.

    My example was a warehouse full of five foot high wood pallets.


    HIGH-PILED COMBUSTIBLE STORAGE. Storage of combustible materials in closely packed piles or combustible materials on pallets, in racks or on shelves where the top of storage is greater than 12 feet (3658 mm) in height. Where required by the fire code official, high-piled combustible storage also includes certain high-hazard commodities, such as rubber tires, Group A plastics, flammable liquids, idle pallets and similar commodities, where the top of storage is greater than 6 feet (1829 mm) in height
     
  11. RBK

    RBK Bronze Member

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    And don't let the presence of sprinklers fool you. A lot of light industrial, manufacturing, mercantile, etc. is designed for Ordinary Hazard Group 2. Even with that level of sprinkler protection, you're limited to 6' height, and no more than 4 stacks per pile, with at least 8' of space between piles. If you put too many together into a single pile, even if it's under 6' high, you double the sprinkler demand. NFPA 13 section 12.12.1.2 if you want more detail.
     
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  12. FM William Burns

    FM William Burns Moderator

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    The hazard is due to the materials surface to mass ratio. Defined as a High Piled Combustible at >6’ stack Extremely high hazard as classified and defined in IFC world (3206.6) Separations required in (3206.3.2) and sprinklers when area is >500 s.f. (T3606.2).

    As mentioned the sprinkler protection is specific based on FM/UL testing for indoor and outdoor arrangements in accordance with Chapter 12 of NFPA 13. Required to be Control Mode or ESFR design based on material height and array (T12.12).

    I have dealt with a few manufacturing facilities in my previous municipal work and can state with confidence that your greatest issues is poor housekeeping. Such as maintaining Aisles, Flues, Heights and Building access. Not uncommon to have an issue out run the fire protection.
     
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  13. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    But how do you enforce the building full of pallets five feet high???

    And the fuel load that presents??


    I thought in one code or one code cycle there was direction, for non sprinkled building??
     
  14. FM William Burns

    FM William Burns Moderator

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    Which code does the jurisdiction use? Unfortunately < 6’ has to be treated as “general storage”. Typically in my experience what’s needed is use of administrative provisions of a code to create permit criteria for these unique types of facilities. In that, the IFC has the Unsafe Structure provision being a fire hazard due to defined conditions opening the door to create a permit (315.2) for such where the jurisdiction can regulate the conditions of the permit issuance such as eliminating or maintenance ignition sources in storage area(s), separation distances of stacks, means of egress access and delineated markings, illumination, signage and directional signage, etc. or an aggressive sprinkling criteria if you can get away with it.

    NFPA 1 (34.10.1) and it’s annex material offers some good language to substantiate the need for a regulatory function like conditional permit since it says “should not be permitted indoors....”. Since it can’t be prevented the next best thing is a means to regulate it to reduce the risk of a very large fire.
     
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  15. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Looks that way.

    But sometimes you don’t know the stack of pallets are there, till your eyes lite up!!

    Most of the time the pallets are kind of by product of the operation
     
  16. FM William Burns

    FM William Burns Moderator

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    Yea, but if you develop a mechanism and have it in place for situational discoveries like that it can be a game changer.
     
  17. ADAguy

    ADAguy Registered User

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    That is why annual inspections at a min. are necessary.
     
  18. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    NFPA-13, section 12.12.1.2 Pallets
    No higher than six feet, no more than four stacks, separated from other pallets by eight feet, OR 25 feet from commodity.
     
  19. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    What do you do about non sprinkled buildings five foot high and under

    When the while place is full of pallets???


    You make the call::;
     
  20. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    No, the fire marshal will.
    High Hazard.... No fly.
     

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