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SEC-017: Attic Storage

Date: 07/25/2005 Status: Final
Last Revised: 01/13/2023
Policy Type: University
Oversight Executive: Vice President for Research
Applies To:

Academic Division and the Medical Center.

Reason for Policy:

To reduce fire risks posed to University buildings and occupants by the improper storage of materials in the attics of University buildings. Most attic spaces are not designed for storage and do not have adequate fire protection.

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • Terms:There are no terms that require definition.
Policy Statement:

To protect life and property, storage of any material in the attic space of any University building is prohibited. These spaces, in most cases, were neither designed nor built to meet building code requirements as storage spaces and as such do not have the necessary fire detection or suppression systems installed. Access to these spaces is generally limited which will greatly inhibit the ability to fight a fire. Departments or individuals requiring storage space should seek space that is specifically designed for storage (e.g., leasing storage space off-grounds).

  1. Exceptions:
    Exceptions to this policy must be approved by EHS and will only be made when ALL of the following conditions are met:

    1. The space used for storage has been designed and built or renovated for use as a storage space. This space must meet all building codes and requirements; and be structurally sound as determined by a professional engineer from Facilities Management.

    2. The storage space must be equipped with fire suppression and detection systems that are interfaced with Systems Control.

    3. To prevent unauthorized use, access to the space must be controlled by a locked door. The entry door to the space must be clearly marked as “Authorized Personnel Only,” and include the name and phone number of the individual in charge of the space.

    4. The space must pass a yearly fire inspection by a Virginia Certified Fire Safety Inspector with the Office of Environmental Health & Safety.

    5. The storage space must be placed under the control of one individual, preferably in that building. This individual will be responsible for ensuring that the space is kept in a neat and orderly fashion; the materials stored there do not represent an unreasonable fire safety or other hazard; and all other constraints listed above are adhered to.

In the event that a space does not meet with the Attic Storage Policy, the removal of all stored materials from an attic space is the responsibility of the owner of the material first and the occupant of the building second. Owners/Occupants are responsible for all costs associated with removing the stored material and for arranging for the removal and alternate storage space when needed.

If it is desirable and possible to modify an attic to accommodate storage, the cost of upgrading attic space to meet storage requirements is the responsibility of the occupant and storage space users.

Compliance with Policy:
Failure to comply with the requirements of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination or expulsion in accordance with relevant University policies and may result in prosecution in accordance with state and federal law. This includes complying with the applicable adopted version of the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code along with the associated legal proceedings to restrain, correct, or abate such alleged violation.

Questions about this policy should be directed to Environmental Health & Safety.

Major Category:
Safety, Security and Environmental Quality
Next Scheduled Review:
Approved By, Date:
Policy Review Committee, 07/25/2005
Revision History:
Confirmed 1/13/23; Confirmed 10/25/19.
Supersedes (previous policy):

Attic Storage XIV.C.1.