The State Building Code Council of Washington State (SBCC) has extended a previously approved emergency rule to allow fire code officials to utilize the 2023 edition of NFPA 855 for the Installation of Energy Storage Systems. This emergency rule had support from regulatory agencies and industry when it was first introduced in November of 2022 to the SBCC. The existing emergency rule expired in May of 2023 and with the delay of the implementation of the 2021 Washington State Codes it was necessary to create an extension.
An amended Chapter 12 of the 2021 International Fire Code (IFC) was also approved by the SBCC for Off-Cycle Rule making. This chapter is particularly relevant for the installation and maintenance of batteries and energy storage systems (ESS). The proposed changes bring forward the latest code language from the 2024 IFC into the Washington State 2021 Fire Code.
The 2021 WA State Fire Code also has two new sections addressing Lithium-ion batteries and powered mobility devices such as electric scooters and bikes. Section 322 Lithium-Ion and Lithium Metal Batteries and section 323 Powered Micromobility Devices and Powered Industrial Trucks were developed to help address the hazards associated with the use of lithium-ion batteries. The new code language is from the 2024 IFC (International Fire Code) and was brought forward early in Washington State to assist in regulating this industry. The first printing of the State’s insert pages are a good source for Chapter 3 modifications. The 2021 Washington Fire Code with these amendments is expected to take effect no earlier than October 29, 2023.