As a result of rising real estate costs and a shortage of space, "high-piled combustible storage" buildings such as warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and retail buildings are getting taller to take up the least amount of square footage possible. However, taller spaces need increased fire protection, and new storage methods present engineers with challenges they may not have previously encountered.
Most codes require that an operational permit is obtained when more than 500 sq ft of high-piled storage is present in a building. These permits are most often regulated by fire departments and are not transferable to new tenants or building owners. The reason for the prerequisite is that the required protection features are dependent on the proposed storage commodity, height, and method of storage, thus ensuring that each individual case be reviewed for compliance. Quite often, the existing protection (if present at all) is inadequate.