Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to know about high-piled storage?

Got Questions?  We've Got Answers.

High-piled storage can be confusing, so there are lot's of questions out there.  Here are a few of them and their answers.

Q:  Do I need a high-piled storage permit?  A:  A building permit for high-piled storage is required if your storage area is greater than 500 ft2 and your Class I-IV commodities are stored higher than 12' and your plastic and high-hazard commodities are stored higher than 6'.  This includes both rack storage and floor piled storage.  Important note - the storage height is measured from the top of storage, not the top of the racks.  There is also an operational permit required.  This varies by jurisdiction, so be sure to find out.

Q:  What is a high-piled storage permit?  A:  There are two permits involved with high-piled storage.  One is a building permit that involves plans that describe how your space complies with high-piled storage.  The other permit is an operational permit that allows the fire marshal to keep track of what is stored in the building and the ability to inspect the building on a regular basis.

Q:  How hard is it to get a high-piled storage permit?  A:  It varies.  For many jurisdictions, it is extremely complicated for a business to obtain a permit.  It takes a varied team of professionals, normally, to manage the project.  AIFP has integrated the process.  However, a standard business will most likely find the project difficult because it is time consuming, and some of the requirements can seem disjointed and arbitrary.

Q:  Will the fire marshal shut down my business?  A:  Although this is well within the rights and duties of the fire marshal, they understand the difficulties with the process, and as long as you are cooperating with the City, they will cooperate with you.  If there is a pressing fire or life safety issue, then they will likely request that you lower your stock or institute a fire-watch according to NFPA standards.  So, while you should take this very seriously, please understand the fire marshal is on your side and wants to work with you for a positive outcome.

Q:  The fire marshal just issued me a notice of violation.  Now what?  A:  Don't panic.  Notice of violations are very common, and they are very detailed.  The violations detail exactly what the fire marshal is looking for regarding compliance issues.  At this point, it is best to seek the services of an engineer or consultant to assist you with tackling the compliance issues.  That is what we are here for.

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