Sprinkler Design Criteria for the Protection of Compact Mobile Shelving Systems

Fire Protection Research Foundation report: "Sprinkler Design Criteria for the Protection of Compact Mobile Shelving Systems" (PDF, 1 MB)
Author: Garner A. Palenske, P.E., Jonathan Perricone, E.I.T., Schirmer Engineering Corp.
Date of issue: January 2007 


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 2002 edition (current) of NFPA 13 does not provide specific design criteria for compact storage arrangements. As a result, designing 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.

This report presents a review of available fire test data for these systems, identifies gaps, and makes recommendations for future testing to develop rational fire protection criteria for this storage system.

The Research Foundation expresses gratitude to the report authors Garner Palenske and Jonathan Perricone of Schirmer Engineering Corporation; Project Technical Panelists Kerry Bell, Edward Budnick, Christian Dubay, Morgan Hurley, Kenneth Linder, Joe Noble, John O'Neill and Rich Pehrson; and to the National Fire Protection Association for sponsoring the project.

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