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Sdpaddler50 (Mechanical) (OP)
6 Mar 13 15:16
The brief scneario: Large (5x7x7ft) wood crates (called vaults in the moving industry) in an ESFR building, peak 40 ft. to be stored solid piled on the floor. The crates will have household furniture inside them, so i can consider the stuff inside, Group A, unexpanded. However, these are heavy wooden crates, and with a properly designed ESFR system, the fire involvement will be the crate exterior only, and it will not involve the interior household goods. I am having trouble calling this Class III (ESFR is ok for plastic, but i would like Class III for other reasons) per NFPA 13, A5633, because its these crates are not specifically listed there.

However, I found the following in a SFPE article:

Storage in Crates: If the same furniture is placed in substantial wood crates, as may be the case in a moving and storage company facility, with crates stacked two-to three-high, sprinkler protection indicated in NFPA 13 for solid piled/palletized storage would be appropriate. For palletized storage, Note A in Table indicates that when a Group A plastic ( expanded or unexpanded) is contained in cartons consisting of multiple layers of corrugation or equivalent outer material that would significantly delay fire involvement of the Group A plastic, it may be treated as a Class IV commodity. It seems clear that crated upholstered furniture may be treated as a Class IV commodity rather than a plastic commodity. Assuming that the wood crates are of substantial construction and that no furniture is located in the facility that is not crated, the fire development will primarily involve the outside of the wood crates where sprinkler water can reach the majority of surfaces. A case could be made that the fire development and heat release rates will be more like a Class III commodity.

I would like to reference the above SFPE article, but AHJ's normally wont take this type of info unless its in NFPA 13.

So my question; has anyone run in to this? What commodity did you call it?

Thanks in advance.
LCREP (Specifier/Regulator)
6 Mar 13 16:10
See NFPA 13, 2010

Table A.5.6 Examples of Commodities Not Addressed by
Classifications in Section 5.6
Boat Storage
- Stored on racks
Boxes, Crates
- Empty, wood slatted*
Lighters (butane)
- Loose in large containers (Level 3 aerosol)
Storage Container
- Large container storage of household goods
*Should be treated as idle pallets.

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LCREP (Specifier/Regulator)
6 Mar 13 16:38
Looks like you need to get a FPE involved since this storage is out of the scope of NFPA 13.

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Sdpaddler50 (Mechanical) (OP)
6 Mar 13 16:42
Thanks for the reference LCREP. I am working under the 2010 version, but i notice in the 2013 edition, they removed that asterik, and no longer say these need to be treated as idle wood pallets. It makes absolutely no sense to call these the same as idle wood pallets from a fire behaviorial standpoint, as the authors of that SFPE article point out. They probably realized that, and removed the reference in the 2013 version. I still believe a class III commodity class is appropriate.
Sdpaddler50 (Mechanical) (OP)
6 Mar 13 16:43
I is an FPE :)
Sdpaddler50 (Mechanical) (OP)
6 Mar 13 16:48
just got of the phone with the Fire Marshal. He agreed class 3 was appropriate, and has used that in the past. Figured i would let people know in the event you run it to this. Not saying everyone/ahj will agree with the logic, but i am good with it.
DRWeig (Electrical)
6 Mar 13 17:21
Thanks for following up to let us know the resolution, Sdpaddler50!

Best to you,

Goober Dave

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cdafd (Specifier/Regulator)
6 Mar 13 17:48
Only one high??

Is someone telling a fish story????

High piled stock???
stookeyfpe (Specifier/Regulator)
6 Mar 13 19:54
Too late to the party but I agree its a Class III commodity. Depending on the how the material handling system is set up, I've treated these as solid piles.

So why won't a code official accept a reference from a SFPE Journal? Do they not understand that the code gives the design professional the option of presenting a technical report which cites acceptable data as a basis for approving a design? Or is it the it's not in my book so I don't care mentality?
Sdpaddler50 (Mechanical) (OP)
6 Mar 13 20:06
"it's not in my book so I don't care mentality?" - yup.
Sdpaddler50 (Mechanical) (OP)
6 Mar 13 20:08
To clarify, this particular AHJ is very reasonable and open minded. The Class III will likely be accepted based on reasons previously noted. Time for a beer.

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