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Health Department Order Mandates Protective Measures

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Health Department Order Mandates Protective Measures

The Pennsylvania Secretary of Health issued an order that mandates self storage operators and other essential businesses implement protective measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The order took effect on April 19.

Pennsylvania operators are strongly encouraged to read the full text of the order here. The order requires businesses that have maintained in-person operations to do the following, in addition to several other requirements:

Provide a mask to each employee and mandate that each employee wear a mask while on the work site. The employee may wear his or her own mask if meets Department of Health guidance.

  1. Require customers to wear masks while within a building or defined area and turn away customers that refuse to do so, unless due to a medical condition.
  2. Place signage throughout the site explaining the social distancing mandates.
  3. Establish protocols to address the business’ response if it is discovered that the business has been exposed to a person with a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19. The order further explains several steps that the business must take in the event of an exposure.

Please email Joe Doherty with any questions. Please visit the SSA News page for the latest national news affecting the self storage industry, including the new federal leave law and the Paycheck Protection Program.


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Changes to the International Building Code Affect Self Storage - April 2019

With the support of its Code Committee, the Self Storage Association successfully pursued several key changes to the 2021 International Building Code. 

1.       An exception has been added to IBC Section 2902.3.3 to permit an increase in the location (to greater than every other floor) and maximum distance of travel (to greater than 500 ft) for restrooms.  The location and travel distance must be approved by the code official.

2.       The maximum allowable height of sprinklered facilities made of Type IIB materials (unprotected steel) and Type IIIB materials (noncombustible or fire-retardant-treated wood stud exterior walls and any interior construction) has been increased from 3 stories to 4 stories.  The Code continues to have total floor and building square footage limits. 

3.       Pursuant to modified IBC Section 903.2.9, storage facilities are exempt from the automatic sprinkler system requirement if: (1) the total fire area is 12,000 sq. ft. or less; (2) the combined total fire areas are 24,000 sq. ft. or less; (3) the facility is no greater than one story above grade plane; and (4) all storage spaces are accessed directly from the exterior. 

These changes go into effect as they are adopted by local and state governments over the next several years.  Prior to the adoption on the local and state level, storage developers can request that the code official rely on the 2021 changes as acceptable alternative methods of construction pursuant to section 104.11 of the existing International Building Code.

Please email Joe Doherty at the National SSA with any questions or to receive supporting documentation for these changes.


In 2018, the Pennsylvania Self Storage Association supported HB 504.

HB504 was signed into law by Governor Wolf and became effective in December 2018.

The law enables self storage operators to sell property insurance to their tenants.  Generally, the insurance covers the loss of or damage to property put into storage by the individual renter or while the property is transit during the rental agreement. The operator has to obtain a limited insurance license to sell this insurance.

The full text of the law, codified as of Act 97 of 2018, is available here


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