Commodity Classification Testing


When insurance companies underwrite risks for stored commodities, they depend on precise tests that evaluate whether sprinkler systems will control or suppress specific fire challenges.

As a global expert in fire safety science, UL provides an independent assessment of the fire risks associated with various types of stored commodities protected by sprinklers. As a part of commodity classification testing, UL examines many factors including sprinkler activation temperature, sprinkler response time index (RTI), the radial distance from the sprinkler to the center of the fire, the distance between the ceiling and the top of the commodity, and the number of storage tiers.


UL tests the combustion characteristics of a broad range of commodities in various packaging configurations and assigns a commodity hazard classification referenced in NFPA 13, the Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems. Tests are conducted under a specialized calorimeter hood that collects burning gases during flaming combustion. UL’s detailed reports give insurers all the information they need to assess risk comprehensively and accurately.


Hazard ratings depend on a number of factors relating to the storage and shipping of commodities. Product and packaging composition is ever-changing, driven by raw material availabilities, product designs and packaging advances. Commodity classification helps to safeguard against the unknown by identifying risks and enabling the development of relevant protection schemes that support insurance requirements.

UL engineers work closely with manufacturers and packaging engineers to review packaging and transportation solutions and ensure safe transportation while reducing fire risk. Upfront planning can help manufacturers optimize their commodity classification while meeting the requirements of their retail customers.

With state-of-the-art testing facilities, extensive technical expertise and more than a century of experience in safety science, UL is an invaluable resource for performance analysis related to critical fire safety of stored commodities.



Sprinklers, warehouse storage


NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems