SDCI is pleased to announce that we will be supporting the Seattle Fire Department (SFD) with the addition of some new steps in our permitting process. These new steps will allow us to ensure all energy storage systems installed in Seattle will receive the proper permits and reviews needed to keep our buildings safe. We are making this change in response to new requirements in the state and international fire codes.
Starting January 11, 2024, our customers must indicate on their electrical plan review permit, construction intake, and phased intake application if work on an electrical storage system (ESS) is part of their project scope. An ESS stores electrical energy for a single building’s backup power or it can be part of a utility’s (Seattle City Light’s) larger power grid backup. They are most commonly large batteries, but they can also be a thermal or mechanical system and are frequently used with many residential photo-voltaic (solar panel) systems. These systems can create extreme life safety hazards to building occupants and first responders. The codes are adjusting to this and so are we by including this review in our work. There are many resources on the internet that provide more information about these systems.
When an applicant has an ESS on their project, SDCI will send the customer directions on how to access and fill out a new record called the Energy Storage System Questionnaire in the Seattle Services Portal. The purpose of the Energy Storage System Questionnaire is to collect information about any ESS being installed in Seattle.
The size and technology type of the ESS will make a difference in what permits you are required to get. All ESS installed in Seattle will require an electrical permit, but only certain systems will require an additional construction permit. These thresholds are established in the Seattle Fire Code. For the latest code information, view the ESS Info Sheet.
SFD fire fighters will use this ESS information to mitigate the hazards created by these systems when responding to buildings that have them.
If you want more information about Seattle Fire Departments ESS requirements, you can view the SFD ESS Application Checklist.