The answer to that questions may vary depending on where your warehouse pallet shelving is located. Each municipality has their own requirements and these requirements are often dictated by OSHA or fire codes. What we can tell you is that in many municipalities (especially those located in Southern California) are now requiring extra precautions: back stop beams that maintain a 6” flue space between rack rows. We have had a sharp increase in customers asking us for pallet load stop beams, block pallet stops, wire partition rack guard (AKA RackBack) and solid steel decking.
Flue Space Protectors are an ideal solution to protecting flue spaces
In storage racks a flue spaces of at least 6 inches should be maintained. The longitudinal flue space is the space between the rows of back-to-back rack. The requirement for longitudinal flue space can vary based on rack height, depth and transverse flue space. For example, for warehouse pallet shelving under 25-feet in height, you may not be required to 6-inches of transverse flue space (rather than 3”).
It is important to note that the transverse flue space is measured as the distance between the loads, not the distance between the racks. In a standard pallet rack configuration you will usually have 3 inches of pallet overhang, calculating this into the flue space would require the rows of rack to be at least 12 inches apart. 12’ row spacers also happen to be our most popular size.
The primary objective is to increase fire safety but also to help keep products from falling off the racks and into the aisle ways. These increased regulations and fire codes are coming from Fire Marshalls. It is important that you check with your local building officials to determine their requirements. The best place to start is calling your local fire station and asking to speak with the Fire Marshall or contact city hall and speak to someone in the planning and zoning department.
Fire Marshall’s are following National codes that have been set. The International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO), Southern Building Code Congress international, Inc. (SBCCI) and The Building Officials and Code Administrators International, Inc (BOCA) got together and formed the International Code Council (ICC). This new organization put out the 2000 International Fire Code (2003 International Fire Code) in an effort to standardize the fire codes.
The main governing fire code for shelving is either the International Fire Code Chapter 23 High-Piled Combustible Storage, or NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 13 Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems. Also be aware that states may have their own fire codes that override the NFPA for instance California has the California Fire Code, CFC. Requirements for flue spaces within the rack storage are provided in CFC Table 3208.3.
It’s time to stop operating from an ignorance is bliss attitude toward fire safety. You’re not knowing about or following the fire codes will not prevent the repercussions.
For over 30 years Warehouse Rack & Shelf LLC has been supplying material handling and custom shipping racks and containers to the nation’s largest original equipment manufacturers (O.E.M), distributors and retailers. They specialize in storage racks and storage containers. Check out their new website at www.warehouserack.wpengine.com or talk with one of their experts at 1-800-763-9020.