Construction Site Storage of Oxygen and Acetylene

Many construction sites require the overnight storage of flammable and compressed gasses/liquids to accommodate welding and other operations. This is not permitted in many jurisdictions without a permit from the authority having jurisdiction. Specifically in Boston, this necessitates a BFD General Permit to allow for overnight storage. This general permit is in addition to the hot work permit, which allows for the operations to be performed by the applicant.  The General Permit should be sought by either the general contractor or subcontractor. As part of the application, supplemental information justifying the quantity, location, proposed mitigation, and reasonableness of the proposed storage arrangement is required.

One commonly sought approach is to store gas cylinders and liquid containers in “stalls” overnight as to reasonably protect the noncompatible materials and separate those materials from each other, adjacent properties, and the building under construction.  The minimum recommended arrangement is as follows:

  • Cylinders/containers will be stored in “stalls,” that extend at least 18-inches above and beyond the tallest cylinders on the sides. The partitions will be 1-hour fire rated, though there will not be a front or ceiling to the “stall.” The cylinders will be kept upright and secure by means of chains or other approved means;
  • Incompatible materials will be located within separate stalls:
    • Acetylene
    • Oxygen
    • Propane
    • Gasoline/Diesel
  • The stalls will be located in an area that allows for ventilation such that the buildup of flammable gas is less likely, and if stored within a building mechanical ventilation may be necessary;
  • Said cylinders will not be located closer than 35-feet from any combustible materials;
  • The cylinders will be located in a manner where they are less likely to be affected by construction operations.

If you require assistance in developing a fire safety plan to accompany your fuel storage permit or are interested in learning more, email peterh@crcfire.com .