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BUILDING AND FIRE CODE REQUIREMENTS
FOR STATIONARY STORAGE BATTERY SYSTEMS
Ronald Marts, AIA, CFM, PP
Program Manager, Fire Protection
Piscataway, New Jersey
Assigning a separate section of building and fire codes to stationary storage battery systems avoids unnecessary, complicated,
and costly requirements set forth in the hazardous materials chapters of the codes and presents best practices and national
consistency for manufacturers, designers, contractors, building officials, and users.
This presentation is a journey that will explore the history and evolution of stationary storage battery system requirements in
the building and fire codes of the United States. We’ll see how the telecommunications industry teamed with prominent
participants in the code industry to develop best practices for batteries and battery rooms.
The journey begins as recently as 1991, at a time when no requirements for batteries existed in any of the nation’s building or
fire codes. Over the next 14 years, the telecommunications and code industries worked hand in hand, one code at a time, until
all the codes had a section specific to identifying requirements for lead acid batteries. Toward the end of our journey, we see
building and fire codes becoming more fluid, memberships becoming more receptive to change, and building officials
becoming more conciliatory, as new battery technologies emerge and are folded into those new and kinetic sections of the
Prior to the 1994 editions of the then three existing Model Codes, there existed no building or fire related requirements for
lead acid batteries. For decades, three of the biggest users of lead acid batteries, telecommunications companies, power
companies, and Commercial UPS systems simply installed batteries in specifically assigned areas of their facilities with no
challenge from code officials. Other users did the same.