Space is limited in California, so it is also a premium. And schools are always looking for ways to add space. One of those methods is adding lockers to hallways, corridors and other passageways. We often get the question – can we just install lockers in the hallways for our students?
Well, the answer is yes and no. Risk Managers typically point to Title 19, Section 3.11 (State Fire Marshall) and say that the mention of “metal lockers” in this code is permissive in allowing “metal lockers” to be installed in these areas without regard to the minimum required egress width of the hallway or passageway. And that’s were the catch in this section of code comes in to play.
Section 3.11 is about combustible materials and not necessarily about installing lockers in hallways. The issue is that there is an exception in this section of code stating that if “personal combustible materials” are stored in “metal lockers” then it is allowed in Group B and Group E (educational) facilities. This exception does not give you the authority to reduce the minimum required aisle width. All it does is allow you to place non-combustible lockers (metal) in hallways where the passageway width (after installation of metal lockers) meets the minimum required width for that area.
If you happen to have enough width and metal lockers are located there, then your students may place their combustible materials inside the lockers with violating Section 3.11. If the employer (district) stored combustible materials in those same lockers, then the district would be in violation of Section 3.11.
So, the short answer is ‘don’t be fooled by Section 3.11 – it’s about combustible materials and not about metal lockers. Again, under no circumstance are you allowed to reduce the minimum required egress width of the area…..
Section 3.11 Exits, Aisles, Ramps, Corridors and Passageways.
(a) no person shall install, place or permit the installation or placement of any bed, chair, equipment, concession, turnstile, ticket office or anything whatsoever, in any manner which would block or obstruct the required width of any exit.
(b) no person shall install, place or permit the installation or placement of any combustible material or equipment in or exposed to any exit.