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CEBA's Construction Codes Committee has identified a code issue related to smoke venting in refrigerated facilities. The Construction Codes Committee has established a Task Force to review smoke and heat ventilation code provisions of Section 910 within the International Fire Code. The Task Force is now considering a code change that aligns with current practices while maintaining a fire safe refrigerated facility. The Task Force seeks to understand field experiences when contractors and facility owners are challenged with this IFC code provision. These would include, but not be limited to, condensation, icing, thermal loss, or other issues with smoke and heat vents. Therefore, if there is experience with complying with these provisions or your project was cited by the authority having jurisdiction, we would like to hear about it. You can send the information you have to Jeff Greenwald (email@example.com). We'd appreciate any feedback in the June timeframe.
The current International Fire Code, section 910.1, provides requirements and exceptions for smoke and heat removal. The Task Force has concluded that Section 910.1 causes obstacles when applied to existing and new refrigerated buildings and operating methods. For example:
- Within an exception in Section 910.1, the definition of "Frozen Food Warehouses" is not provided and is outdated. Cold Storage operators provide various temperature zones in their facilities from well below zero and up to 55 degrees. Many facilities are convertible from higher temperatures to lower temperatures based on stored products. We are proposing to change to language to “Refrigerated Facilities and Spaces” or similar.
- The same exception only applies to Class I and II commodities. There are only minor fire differences from Class II to Class III concerning heat release and smoke development that should allow Class III commodities to be added to the exception.
- Section 910.1 states smoke and heat removal shall not be required in areas of buildings equipped with early suppression fast response (ESFR) sprinklers. Facility operators provide various temperature zones from well below zero and up to 55 degrees in their facilities. The facility's temperature has little impact on smoke release, so temperature-controlled/refrigerated warehouses that cannot be protected with ESFR should allow other protection - such as Dry Type systems or other densities/sprinkler head types - to be allowed under this exception.
The Task Force and Construction Codes Committee is very interested in your experiences and appreciates the effort to provide GCCA with this information. Thank you, and please let Jeff Greenwald (firstname.lastname@example.org) know of any questions.