Compact Mobile Shelving System Fire testing Project

Fire Protection Research Foundation report: "Compact Mobile Shelving Systems Fire testing Project" (PDF, 3 MB)
Author: Schirmer Engineering Corporation
Date of issue: June 2008 


Compact mobile shelving systems are commonly found in healthcare, office, library, and numerous other occupancies. The advantage to the use of these systems is that aisles are eliminated, with the exception of one moveable aisle, in most cases saving up to 50% of floor area.

The 2007 edition (current) of NFPA 13 does not provide specific design criteria for compact storage arrangements. As a result, design engineers are required to utilize protection criteria for either rack storage (storage depth 30 inches or deeper) or shelf storage (storage depth less than 30 inches), depending on the dimensions of the compact storage array. This is problematic because the fire protection design challenges presented by compact mobile shelving units are fundamentally different than those presented by stationary shelf and/or rack storage.

In 2007, the Foundation conducted a review of available fire test data for these systems, identified gaps, and made recommendations for future testing to develop rational fire protection criteria for this storage system. This report presents the result of that test program: a filing survey, bench scale and two large scale fire tests were conducted.

The content, opinions and conclusions contained in this report are solely those of the authors.