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National Self Storage Association Successfully Impacts Changes to New International Building Code

The national Self Storage Association (SSA) reports that it has positively impacted changes to the 2021 International Building Code (IBC) and how they’ll affect storage facilities. Upcoming modifications include distance to restrooms, maximum allowable height of sprinklered buildings, and conditional exemptions from automatic-sprinkler installations, according to an e-mail newsletter sent to SSA members last week.

The SSA successfully lobbied for an exception to IBC Section 2902.3.3 addressing the location and distance of travel to restrooms. The exception will allow self-storage developers to avoid placing bathrooms on every other floor. It also allows travel distance to restrooms to be more than 500 feet. Exact location and distance must be approved by code officials, according to the SSA website.

The maximum allowable height of sprinklered facilities constructed from Type IIB (unprotected steel) and IIIB (noncombustible or fire-retardant-treated wood stud exterior walls and any interior construction) materials will increase from three to four stories. The code will continue to have limitations on total floor area and building square footage.

A modification to IBC Section 903.2.9 will allow self-storage facilities to be exempt from the automatic-sprinkler system requirement if the total fire area is no more than 12,000 square feet, the combined total fire areas don’t exceed 24,000 square feet, the facility has no more than one story above the grade plane, and all storage units are accessed directly from the exterior.

The changes will go into effect as they are adopted by local and state governments during the next few years. Prior to adoption, self-storage developers can request that code officials rely on the 2021 changes as an acceptable alternative to section 104.11 of the existing IBC, SSA officials said.

The IBC addresses building design and material installation to meet or exceed public health and safety goals. It’s in use or adopted in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Northern Marianas Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

The SSA represents more than 22,000 U.S. self-storage facilities and approximately 9,100 international facilities, according to its website. It’s affiliated with several state and international self-storage associations and currently has about 6,000 members.

Sources:
SSA Magazine Weekly 4/1/19, SSA Successfully Pursues Changes to International Building Code
International Code Council, Overview of the International Building Code

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