The brief scneario: Large (5x7x7ft) wood crates (called vaults in the moving industry) in an ESFR building, peak 40 ft. to be stored solid piled on the floor. The crates will have household furniture inside them, so i can consider the stuff inside, Group A, unexpanded. However, these are heavy wooden crates, and with a properly designed ESFR system, the fire involvement will be the crate exterior only, and it will not involve the interior household goods. I am having trouble calling this Class III (ESFR is ok for plastic, but i would like Class III for other reasons) per NFPA 13, A5633, because its these crates are not specifically listed there.
However, I found the following in a SFPE article:
Storage in Crates: If the same furniture is placed in substantial wood crates, as may be the case in a moving and storage company facility, with crates stacked two-to three-high, sprinkler protection indicated in NFPA 13 for solid piled/palletized storage would be appropriate. For palletized storage, Note A in Table 188.8.131.52.1 indicates that when a Group A plastic ( expanded or unexpanded) is contained in cartons consisting of multiple layers of corrugation or equivalent outer material that would significantly delay fire involvement of the Group A plastic, it may be treated as a Class IV commodity. It seems clear that crated upholstered furniture may be treated as a Class IV commodity rather than a plastic commodity. Assuming that the wood crates are of substantial construction and that no furniture is located in the facility that is not crated, the fire development will primarily involve the outside of the wood crates where sprinkler water can reach the majority of surfaces. A case could be made that the fire development and heat release rates will be more like a Class III commodity.
I would like to reference the above SFPE article, but AHJ's normally wont take this type of info unless its in NFPA 13.
So my question; has anyone run in to this? What commodity did you call it?
Thanks in advance.