Un-sprinklered, Detached Barrel Storage Buildings

NFPA 30 (2015 edition mentioned here), the “Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code” Offers a route for buildings containing large volumes of flammable liquid to be non – sprinklered.

Normally, when exceeding the MAQ’s of 120 gallons, sprinklers would be required, but chapter 13 of NFPA 30 provides an exception to allow for an unprotected (non sprinklered) barrel storage building, given that certain restrictions are in place for building separation, storage heights, pile sizes, etc.

The most notable requirements are summarized as:

  • 200 ft separation from property line that can be built on for businesses, industrial, mercantile, and storage adjacent occupancies (13.3.1)
  • 1,000 ft separation from property line that can be built on for all other adjacent occupancies (13.3.12), such as a hospital, or residences
  • 4 ft wide aisles between piles(13.3.4)
  • 5 ft maximum storage height (13.6.2 , referring to Table
  • 20 ft maximum pile sizes for palletized storage (13.3.5)
  • There is no max. allowable quantity if following the requirements of this chapter (13.6)
  • 1 Story max. (13.9.1)
  • Ventilation per 18.6 (13.14)
    • Only applies to dispensing operations, therefore would not apply for barrel storage only. Normal ventilation per mech code may still be required.
  • Explosion control (13.16)
    • Easily achieved via a minimal amount of ventilation


This section can be a valuable tool for barrel warehouses proposed in remote areas where automatic fire sprinklers is challenging or infeasible.

Perhaps the most notable/ limiting requirements of this are the 5 ft maximum storage height, building separations, and 20 ft maximum pile size. This may limit the number of barrels drastically as compared the potential barrel storage capability of a sprinklered building.

Nonetheless, this code path offers some barrel storage capability in a non sprinklered building where without out, per the remainder of the codes, would be not possible.

Subscribe for our Latest updates