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|Issue Brief: ICC Outdoor Pallet Storage Fire Code|
History & Background
In 2013, the NWPCA learned a 'simple' proposal was submitted to modify the international fire code developed by the International Fire Code Council (ICC). The document proposed a new section that would cover the outdoor storage of pallets.
Unfortunately, that proposal wasn’t simple, and it would have severe negative implications for our industry. The ICC is one of two major organizations that develops building and fire codes that are enforced by state, county, and city officials and fire marshals. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is the other leading code development organization.
Pallet Proposal Near Completion
NWPCA has been working with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) since 2015 on new safety code language for outdoor pallet storage. An NFPA committee met in Milwaukee, Wisconsin late 2016, where NWPCA’s proposed language was reviewed and approved. Assuming continued support, it is expected the language would officially get adopted into the code in 2017.
The previous NFPA requirement for outdoor pallet storage had a maximum storage limit of 400 square feet for all facilities storing pallets. The new code language distinguishes between pallet manufacturers and recyclers and other facilities, and prioritizes best operating practices. In doing so, storage limits will be expanded- the width (but not length) of a pallet array to 60’ or 100’, depending on spacing provided from the pallet array (8’ or 20’ respectively).
On a separate track, the International Code Council (ICC) considered outdoor pallet storage code proposals. Late last year an ICC committee approved our proposal that similarly focuses on best operating practices. After a period of open public comment, no contrary public comments were submitted against our proposal. The ICC membership in the end accepted our language, and NWPCA provided a summary of their action, along with that of the NFPA, at the NWPCA 2017 Annual Leadership Conference in Tucson, Arizona.
A number of companies and organizations continue their hard and intensive work through this long and involved process and deserve our appreciation. NWPCA’s Fire Code Task Force, chaired by Jordan Piland, Atlas Pallets, along with our consultant Bill Koffel, and CHEP, and their consultant Bob Davidson, have all done an outstanding job helping the industry effectively communicate and advocate for code language that advances best practices, improves fire safety, and better protects first responders.
NWPCA’s work with consultants on fire codes and safety concerns achieved great success in 2016, and expands in 2017. NWPCA has plans to work with both code organizations in 2017 and beyond, and is developing code compliance resource materials for 2017 as part of our continued vigilance on fire safety.