Skip to main content


NC Building Mechanical and Fire Prevention Codes


This design guide applies to the storage of hazardous materials. As noted in the introduction, the use of hazardous materials has direct bearing on the design of the laboratory; hence the research operations should be well understood in the planning phases when designing the laboratory’s hazardous materials storage.


Laboratory design shall include spill control and secondary containment for the storage of hazardous materials liquids in accordance with the requirements of the NC Building Code, NC Fire Prevention Code and NFPA 45.

Notes: Design must allow for substances which, when mixed, react violently, or evolve toxic vapors or gasses, or which in combination become hazardous by reason of toxicity, oxidizing power, flammability, explosibility, or other properties, to be separated from each other in storage by distance, by partition, or otherwise, so as to preclude accidental contact between them.

Explosion control shall be provided for storage of non-exempt quantities of the following materials:

  1. Highly toxic flammable or toxic flammable gases when not stored in gas cabinets, exhausted enclosures or gas rooms.
  2. Combustible dusts.
  3. Class 4 oxidizers.
  4. Unclassified detonable and Class 1 organic peroxides.
  5. Pyrophoric gases.
  6. Class 3 and 4 unstable (reactive) materials.
  7. Class 2 and 3 water-reactive solids and liquids.

When the hazardous materials stored in a control area are not in excess of the amounts specified in the International Building and Fire codes, such storage shall conform to the Building Code requirements for Group B Occupancy. (See Building and Fire Codes)

When the hazardous materials stored in a control area exceed the amounts specified such storage shall conform to the Building Code requirements for Group H, Occupancy.

When the hazardous materials stored in laboratories and similar areas used for scientific experimentation or research are not in excess of the table below and are not otherwise classified as Group B Occupancies, shall conform to the Building Code requirements for Group H.

Permitting and Reporting Procedures

NC Building Code Chemical Inventory Report Procedure

As noted in this and other sections, the quantity of hazardous chemicals planned for use and storage within a project area has a direct impact on how the project is designed. The project architect is responsible for ensuring the necessary data is collected from the future building occupants and is assessed by a qualified individual (firm) before the Design Development Drawings are submitted to the State Department of Insurance (DOI). This review must be completed using standard Microsoft software (or other approved by the EHS Department). The end result of the procedure is a summarized report showing the quantities of hazard classes planned for designated control areas as compared to the NC Building Limits. For unassigned spaces, the assumptions made for these areas must be specified. A copy of the final report and all supporting information must be provided to the EHS Office on a Read Only optical disk as a permanent record of this analysis.

Hazardous Waste Generator “permit” for “off campus” facilities

Projects within five campus sites are covered by the University’s existing Hazardous Waste Generator permits (Horace Williams Airport, Cogen, HMF, Main Campus and Marine Sciences). Projects that are outside of these 5 areas must contact the Environmental Section of the UNC-Chapel Hill EHS Department for guidance and assistance.

City Water Quality Control

All projects must be reviewed by the UNC Facilities Department if a new connection is made to the sanitary sewer. The University holds a comprehensive permit for the main campus. Sewer connections cannot be made until the building permit documentation has been submitted to the UNC Facilities Department.

Decommissioning of Existing Facilities

Prior to completion of construction documents, contact the UNC-EHS Environmental Office to coordinate the preparation of a decommissioning plan.

Chemical removal and cleaning of surfaces must be completed before demolition can begin. Decontamination of concealed areas such as pipes, and under cabinets etc. must be coordinated with demolition activity.

All chemical waste and contaminated debris must be assessed by the UNC-EHS for hazard determination.

The Environmental Office will assist in identifying appropriate waste handling methods.

Hazardous waste must be managed according to all State and Federal regulations. All hazardous waste manifests must be signed by the Hazardous Waste Manager and shipped to UNC-approved waste facilities.