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The Definitive Guide to What is High Pile Storage.

What is High Pile Storage

What is High Pile Storage

High pile storage is a storage system where the products or materials are stored in vertical stacks with a height greater than 12 feet. High-pile storage can contain combustible materials packed in piles, pallets, racks, or shelves. Combustible materials may include high-hazard commodities that require certain safety measurements.

Rubber tires, flammable liquids, Group A plastics, idle pallets and other related commodities with similar properties are included in high hazard products. Some industries require storage in large quantities, therefore, they use high pile storage systems. There are rules and regulations for storing high pile storage that should be followed to avoid any accidents.

Let’s explore what exactly includes high pile storage and how the system works for such storage systems.

Introduction to High Pile Storage.

As businesses grow and expand, they often require more storage space to accommodate their increasing inventory. High pile storage is a popular solution in industrial facilities as it allows for the maximum use of vertical space. Also, it enables businesses to store large quantities of materials or products without the need for additional floor space.

By stacking items vertically, high-pile storage systems can increase storage capacity, making it easier to organize and manage inventory. This streamlined storage and retrieval process can enhance productivity, reduce labor costs, and optimize inventory management.

Moreover, high-pile storage is a cost-effective solution compared to other alternatives. For instance, renting additional warehouse space or investing in expensive automated storage and retrieval systems can cost you additionally and your overall expense will increase.

Despite its benefits, businesses must take into account the potential fire hazards that high pile storage can incur. Proper implementation of fire safety measures and adherence to regulatory requirements are crucial to mitigate these risks and ensure the safety of employees, equipment, and inventory. 

High pile storage is a valuable storage solution for industrial facilities that can help maximize storage capacity and streamline inventory management. However, businesses must also prioritize fire safety measures to ensure the safe and efficient operation of their storage systems.

High Pile Storage: Importance of Safety Permits Ahead of Time.

Before you store material in the warehouse, you need to require a high pile storage permit. When you have a building with storage above 12 feet high and in some cases 6 feet in an area over 500 square feet, then it is necessary to get a permit for your warehouse building.

Typically, the fire marshal for your jurisdiction is responsible for issuing these permits. To apply for a permit, you will likely need to provide detailed information about your storage system, such as:

Your local jurisdiction may have additional requirements that you will need to fulfill to obtain the permit.

The Fire Protection International Consortium, Inc. (FPI) checks the following areas for your drawing and reports:

Requirements for High-Piled Combustible Storage

High-piled combustible storage is the storage of combustible materials in pallets, racks, shelves, or piles. High pile combustible storage fire code is defined according to the class of the commodities with hazard level.

The requirement for high-pile combustible storage depends upon:

Hence, commodities have been categorized into five different classes. Where class I is the lowest hazard and V is the high hazard.

Types of High-Pile Storage.

High-pile storage systems come in various types to accommodate different materials and storage needs. So, here are the types of high-pile storage systems for you to choose wisely for your warehouse.

1. Static High Pile Storage

The most basic form of high pile storage is static storage, where materials are stacked vertically on the floor or on pallets. This is a simple and cost-effective method, but it may not be suitable for businesses with limited floor space or for storing materials that require special handling.

2. Rack-Supported High Pile Storage

Another type of high-pile storage is rack-supported storage. It uses vertical racks to support the stacked materials. This system allows for greater storage capacity and reduces the need for additional floor space. Rack-supported storage is ideal for storing items that are uniform in size and shape.

3. Automated High Pile Storage

Automated high-pile storage is another option, using conveyors, cranes, and robotics to move and stack materials. This system can increase efficiency and productivity. Also, it is generally more expensive to install and maintain as compared to other types.

4. Mobile High Pile Storage

Mobile high pile storage is a system where materials are stored on mobile racks or shelves that can be moved laterally to create aisles for access. This system is ideal for businesses with limited floor space or that require frequent access to stored items.

5. Shelving High Pile Storage

Finally, shelving high pile storage uses adjustable shelving units to support the stacked materials, allowing for flexibility in the height and arrangement of the stored items. This system is ideal for businesses with small or irregularly shaped items to store.

Each type of high-pile storage has its advantages and limitations, and businesses should carefully consider their specific needs and requirements when selecting a storage system.

Fire Hazards Associated with High Pile Storage.

There are lots of things associated with high pile storage. One of which is fire hazards, therefore, you need to be extra cautious about daily ongoing activities in your warehouse. Some of the reasons are mentioned below:

1. Common Causes of Fire in High-Pile Storage

Fires in high-pile storage areas can be caused by a variety of factors, including electrical issues, smoking, arson, spontaneous combustion, poor housekeeping, improper storage, and flammable liquids and gases. Let’s explain these causes now:

It is important to implement fire safety measures beforehand and have them checked on a regular basis. To prevent fires in high-pile storage areas, regular maintenance of equipment is also important. Proper storage practices, good housekeeping, and adherence to regulatory requirements should be met accordingly.

2. Consequences of a Fire in High Pile Storage

3. Regulatory Requirements for High Pile Storage

The general fire protection requirements for the high pile storage are as follows.

Some of the main and important requirements will be discussed ahead in this article.

Factors That Influence High Pile Storage Safety.

High pile storage safety should be a priority for any business. There are factors that influence the safety of high pile storage, like structural considerations, fire suppression systems, material handling equipment, and training and procedures.

Ensuring the safety of high-pile storage requires consideration of several factors that can influence the risk of fire and the safety of employees and property. Building design plays a critical role in high-pile storage safety, and the design should include adequate clearance between storage racks, adequate aisle space, and proper ceiling height. In addition, the presence of effective fire suppression systems, such as sprinkler systems, can significantly reduce the risk of a high-pile storage fire.

High-pile storage of hazardous materials requires special consideration to ensure safety. Hazardous materials should be stored in areas with proper ventilation, and employees should be trained on the proper handling and storage of hazardous materials. Adherence to regulatory requirements related to fire safety, hazardous materials handling, and environmental protection is crucial in maintaining high-pile storage safety.

The safety of high-pile storage depends on several factors, including building design, fire suppression systems, employee training, housekeeping, hazardous materials handling, and regulatory compliance. By taking these factors into account and implementing appropriate safety measures, businesses can reduce the risk of high-pile storage fires and protect their employees, property, and the environment.

Protection Required for High Pile Storage.

There are six main categories of protection required for high-piled storage areas, which include automatic fire-extinguishing systems, fire detection systems, building access, curtain boards, smoke and heat removal, small hose valves and stations, and storage limitations.

Will Your Warehouse Meet the Requirement for High-Pile Storage?

Determining whether your building meets the requirements for high-piled storage can be done by asking four key questions that provide a comprehensive understanding of the building’s condition and contents.

  1. The age of the building is a critical factor, as newer buildings are more likely to pass permit applications than older ones. However, if an older building has undergone recent documented updates, it is likely to be up to code and therefore pass the application process.
  2. Another crucial factor is the quality of the sprinklers. If an older building has recently had new sprinklers installed, it is in a much better position to pass the application process than one with original sprinklers. In the absence of sprinklers, passing the application is unlikely unless the stored products are non-flammable.
  3. The flammability of the stored products is another important consideration. While storing non-flammable products, such as metal screws, is less likely to raise red flags, highly flammable products, such as cotton balls or batteries, require compensatory measures in other areas.
  4. The height at which products are stored is also a crucial factor, with taller storage necessitating more requirements. It is advisable to store highly flammable products on the ground and under 6ft to minimize the requirements for high-piled storage.


Ensuring the safety of people and property is crucial when it comes to protecting high-piled storage areas. Implementing measures such as automatic fire-extinguishing systems, fire detection systems, building access, curtain boards, smoke and heat removal, small hose valves and stations, and storage limitations are essential for mitigating the risk of fire in these areas. Although the sprinkler system can be a challenging and costly aspect of protection design, it offers the most protection for investment. Overall, these safety measures can significantly reduce the likelihood of catastrophic fire and safeguard businesses that rely on high-piled storage areas.

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