Purchasing the correct rack, such as cantilever rack, pallet rack or a push back rack, for your warehouse is only one of many steps that should be taken to keep your warehouse and employees safe.
If you are storing combustible inventory that exceeds a certain height, you may be required to obtain a high pile storage permit. This permit is required when a building, warehouse, or a portion of a building stores items above 12 ft. for an area greater than 500 sq. ft. Height limits may vary by city and state.
The overall goal in the regulation of a high pile storage permit is to ensure your racks are not blocking the fire sprinklers or creating a fire hazard. It also ensures if you are storing hazardous materials, you are doing so in a way that reduces the risk of explosion or fire.
What is a high pile storage permit?
A high pile storage permit is designed to increase the safety of warehouses and is a legal requirement that can help prevent damage or injuries, especially if you are storing high hazard materials. Any authority having jurisdiction, typically the municipality fire marshal can dictate this requirement of Section 105.6 of the International Fire Code (IFC).
Certain municipalities require you to submit a written report that includes all the required information in Section 105.6 as well as drawings of your floor plan. In some cases, your report may have to be stamped by a registered engineer.
These permits are non-transferrable to new building owners or tenants.
Your local building department and fire marshal have a stake in the high piled storage permit. The correct process for completing an occupancy permit application is to include any high piled storage as part of the initial plans. The fire marshal regulates the high pile storage permit.
Fire protection requirements for structures or buildings containing high-piled storage is usually determined by the commodity type, height, quantity, and method of storage.
A majority of states and municipalities require details on your storage system as part of the licensing requirement. Two of the key requirements are the floor plan and the site plan.
A floor plan shows the dimensions and location of the storage area, how to find the location of the doors, and where the racks are located.
A site plan is a sheet showing the entirety of the building. This includes the exits, fire lanes, fire hydrates, and automatic fire sprinklers.
Most cities require three copies of the floor and site plans along with the application.
High pile storage permits must be renewed twice a year, or when you make changes to your storage arrangements. It is important you read through your local permit regulations, and guidelines as some cities may not only have shorter or longer renewal dates but may also have more specific requirements depending on the commodity you are storing.
For many facility managers, the high pile permit process can be confusing and overwhelming at first, but it is necessary to ensure the safety of the building and its occupants.
Ultimately you want all these things to come together, so your operation is not suspended for lack of compliance. You can also be assessed hefty fines if you are found to be non-compliant.
Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc has the code knowledge and expertise to help you design your racking system per all the state and local codes. Call toll free on 1-800-589-7225 (RACK) to speak with a member of our team.