Maximum Allowable Quantities (MAQ) of Hazardous Materials

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Maximum allowable quantities (MAQs) are the maximum amount of hazardous materials allowed to be stored or used within a control area in a building. These limits are established by the California Fire Code (CFC) and are broken down by hazard class. The MAQs are intended to ensure the quantities of hazardous materials in a building are within the safe operating levels for the fire and life safety elements to which the building is designed and operated. Adhering to these limits is essential for ensuring a building is safe for its occupants and first responders.
A control area is a space within a building where hazardous materials are stored, dispensed, used or handled. Control areas are constructed with features like fire rated walls that prevent the spread of fire to and from other areas in the building, allowing for safe emergency egress and fire department response. The number of control areas on a floor varies greatly across UCI buildings.

Determining MAQs is complex and relies on several structural and operational factors.

The most common factors that determine MAQs at UCI are:

► Which floor your lab is located (see Fig. 1 below)
► Whether a fire sprinkler system is installed throughout the building
► Use of approved storage cabinets

As emergency response and egress become increasingly difficult with building height, the quantity of hazardous materials that can be safely used and stored decreases. For example, the MAQs on floors 9th and above are 5% of those allowed on the 1st floor.

MAQ Table by Floor

On the other hand, if the entire building is equipped with a sprinkler system or approved storage cabinets, the MAQ may be increased if all fire code requirements are met.

Please contact EHS at 949-824-6200 or email for information about your MAQ status and whether you are compliant.

MAQs are set by the Fire Code to keep building occupants and first responders safe. Exceeding MAQs puts everyone at risk and is considered a serious offense. If your control area exceeds the MAQ, EHS will contact you with recommended corrective actions.

Examples of corrective actions include decreasing the quantities of hazardous materials you store and using approved storage cabinets. 

CiBR-Trac: The banded SOP report organizes all of the chemicals in the lab into the different hazard categories. (Note: it takes a few hours for the system to update after chemicals are added to the inventory.)

1. Click the Banded SOPs tab on the inventory homepage.


 2. Banded SOP Report.



CBIS (ChemInnovations): CBIS does not provide that information to users. Please use CiBR-Trac to obtain that information.

UC Chemicals: Searching your chemical inventory by hazard class will provide a list of chemicals that fall into that hazard.

1. Search your UC Chemicals inventory for the hazard category of interest.


2. Select Advanced Search


3. Select the “Classification” dropdown menu


4. Once the classification is selected the search will automatically update.


Strategies to reduce the chemicals you store include:

  • Purchase smaller quantities of chemicals (e.g. 1 L rather than 4 L)
  • Do not purchase duplicate chemicals or cases
  • Share chemicals where possible
  • Maintain an accurate inventory
    • Update your online inventory every time a chemical is purchased or discarded
    • Reconcile your inventory at least annually
  • Dispose of any expired or unneeded chemicals and update your inventory
  • Consolidate chemicals since each bottle counts as if it were full

MAQs are largely determined by building construction. Building construction (e.g. installing fire sprinklers and fire rated walls) can increase the limit; however it can be very costly.

MAQs can also be increased by storing all chemicals in approved storage cabinets (e.g. flammable storage cabinets, gas cabinets).  Due to their complexity, MAQ increases must be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

It is a major safety issue if a MAQ is exceeded and unable to be resolved.  The issue will be escalated to Campus leadership and enforcement will be determined on a case by case basis.

MAQs have always been enforced at UCI. However, this process is lengthy, expensive, and each individual control area needs to be evaluated.

UCI is in the process of implementing a new chemical inventory software (UC Chemicals) that allows facile and quick reports of MAQ compliance in real time.

As the campus grows, new PIs are added, and current PIs move into renovated spaces as MAQ issues are identified and evaluated.