To: Head of Fire Departments
From: Stephen D. Coan, State Fire Marshal
Date: August 28, 2000
Re: Automatic Sprinkler Plans Rack Storage & General Storage

It has come to the attention of our office that there are questions regarding automatic sprinkler protection and storage arrangements. In particular, when is National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 231 or NFPA 231C (or others) applied to a storage arrangement and when does NFPA 13 cover storage?

The State Building Code governs the installation of sprinkler systems and since it has adopted the 1996 edition of NFPA 13 all references and information will be based upon this edition. Below is a list of types of sprinkler systems that provide coverage under NFPA 13 without the need to apply additional requirements. These requirements are covered in section 5- of NFPA 13 - 1996 edition. The table below is for your future reference.

Commodity Classes I through IV
Commodity ClassificationPalletized and Bin Box StorageRack Storage
Class IOH -1OH-1
Class II (up to 8 ft.)OH-1OH-1
Class II (over 8 ft. up to 12 ft.)OH-2OH-2
Class IIIOH-2OH-2
Class IV (up to 10 ft.)OH-2OH-2
Class IV(over 10 ft. up to 12ft.)OH-2EH-1

Table reprinted with permission from NFPA.

OH-1: Ordinary Hazard Group 1
OH-2: Ordinary Hazard Group 2
EH-1: Extra Hazard Group 1
As defined by NFPA 13-1996, Figure 5-2.3 and Section 1- through 1-
See NFPA 231C for commodity classifications.

Further, Table 1- covers the protection by various classifications of miscellaneous storage, which is defined by NFPA 13- 1996 in section 1-4, Definitions. The miscellaneous storage covered by this table is generally limited to 5 ft. without the need to increase the overall protection through another NFPA standard. The table must be reviewed for heights and protection limits (generally covers: plastics, tires, roll paper storage).

If anyone has further questions regarding this table or how it applies to storage, please contact our Code Compliance and Enforcement Unit or Fire Protection Engineers at 978/567-3300 or our Western Mass. office at 413/587-3181.