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Thread: Fire Code Violation -HELP

  1. #1

    Fire Code Violation -HELP

    can anyone tell me what size the dust partilces are for cutting melamine on a cnc router? i need a general idea. i know it depends on speed and feed but i've been hit with a fire code violation that will require me to separate my space with fire walls.


    The rule is 420 microns or less requires a fire wall. can anyone tell me how big that is? i need some technical date to provide.


    We are shut down until i can fix this. Please help if you have anywhere i can turn. Thanks.


    Mike

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Were you shut down by a local code compliance inspector? If so, wouldn't the citation include measurable evidence of a violation?
    Scott Vroom

    If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

    Bernard Baruch

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Need more info. Dust size is not enough unless you have local/state specific codes I am not aware of.

    How many square feet is your shop? How large is your building? Sprinkler system—guessing not?

    Do you own or rent? If own, what year did you set up shop?

    What state? Did they specifically state what section of fire code you violate?
    Last edited by Gregory Stahl; 08-08-2018 at 5:31 PM. Reason: More questions

  4. #4
    Here's one reference:

    Search for : A Study on Dust Emission, Particle Size Distribution and Formaldehyde Concentration During Machining of Medium Density Fibreboard

    (I tried posting a link but it was stupid long and didn't work)

    The article is for MDF and sawing and sanding, not routing, but the mean particle sizes for sawing with a circular saw were down in the 10-20 micron area, so I think it is highly likely that you are well below 420 microns.
    A human hair is in the range of 20-180 microns, so 420 is huge, relatively....
    Last edited by Paul F Franklin; 08-08-2018 at 4:48 PM.

  5. #5
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    The only firecode requirement I can recall is if your building/shop is above approx 2500 square feet, you need sprinklers or firewall separation within the shop. Woodworking shops need a firewall to separate from other types of occupancies as well. Melamine is considered a wood product, so NFPA 664 applies regardless of dust size.
    Last edited by Gregory Stahl; 08-08-2018 at 5:33 PM.

  6. #6
    thanks for the responses. i guess i'm stuck then. our shop is about 8000 sf. We're in NC. i know that there can't be many shops with firewalls. i've never seen one. we rent and just moved to this new location. building inspector got wind of our move and came over.

  7. #7
    420 microns is 0.0165354"

    Pretty sure particles that big fall to the ground.

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Toronto Ontario
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo Graywacz View Post
    420 microns is 0.0165354"

    Pretty sure particles that big fall to the ground.
    Agreed, the OP's particle size will be far smaller than that, which is why he's in violation.

    Where I live you also require an engineer to certify the dust collection system for a shop of his size...............Rod.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Too bad. Renting is one way to get around the codes as the inspector never comes around unless he has a reason. I was in code violation for 12-years until I built my present shop! If the shops are old, they get grandfathered into whatever the requirement was when they built. Leasing a building kind of throws this out though. I have several neighboring shops that are not compliant--but I won't tattle on them.

    If you are the sole occupant of the building, you could look at installing sprinklers instead--it would keep the building open (as in space). Sprinklers would cost too much for me though--extremely high water price for the service size I would need. I have four firewalls instead, segmenting the building. $16k in fire rated garage doors and $4k in passage doors!

    Also, I am told the wall separation provision is going away if not already removed in the newest versions of code. Most states are several years behind in their adoption of NFPA codes. I decided we would go for full compliance of anything questionable. It is easier to throw the book at the inspectors when they are bickering amongst themselves! I look good when the insurance inspector comes through too.

    I studied NFPA 664 in depth. I suggest the same. The fire department has walked through my shops several times. It helps to clarify anything on the spot and the inspectors think I am on my game when I can discuss any concerns with them. Chapter 8 is the most important. It is here that most shops fail.

    Good luck,

    Greg
    Last edited by Gregory Stahl; 08-08-2018 at 6:18 PM.

  10. #10
    The old being nosey and while I am here routine.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Piedmont Triad, NC
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    I had a client who moved a shop from in the county (Guilford) to the city (GSO) new construction 10,000 sqft. He had to either sprinkle or built two firewalls, his choice. He opted for firewalls said it was cheaper. Fire rated sheetrock 2 or 3 layers both sides of wall. The automatic fire doors(2 rollups) killed him on budget. In the end it would have been a wash. They really put him through the wringer, city inspector and contractor clique. He could only used their "approved" contractors. Good luck.

    Tony
    "Only those who have the patience to do simple things perfectly will acquire the skill to do difficult things easily. Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805)

    Woodworking since 1972

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