ICEFAT Member: Museum Complex

In December 2022, a large fire in a storage unit destroyed hundreds of canvases by an Arizona-based artist. The artist had chosen the storage facility specifically because it was temperature controlled, but this was of no use as the inferno took hold, reducing all the units and their contents to rubble.

This devastating incident demonstrates the importance of due diligence, beyond temperature control alone, for art logistics companies. It also reinforces the value and importance of ICEFAT’s Standards, which set best practise across the global art logistics sector.

Let’s look further at disaster planning and why this situation would not have arisen at an ICEFAT member’s facility.

Foiling the fire risk
Fire safety is the first, and arguably the most important, issue addressed by ICEFAT’s Standards. Construction, safety, security and maintenance are central to the service we collectively provide, and which go further than the bricks and mortar, encompassing equipment, materials and technology.

From a location perspective, the Standards require storage locations to be separate from other buildings and not located adjacent to high-risk facilities such as military or fuel dispensary. Buildings must be constructed using fire resistant or non-combustible materials and storage rooms or packing workshops should be separated from main corridors. Furthermore, the Standards encourage members to build facilities that are up to four-hour fire rated, which acts to slow the pace of a fire significantly, preventing it spreading to other areas.

ICEFAT Member: IAS Fine Art Logistics

Global standards, local adaptation
Of course, fire is not the only disaster for which our members must be prepared. ICEFAT’s international presence means that our global network of members face different levels of threat from extreme weather or natural disaster. Our members in Hong Kong, for example, take additional precautions against cyclones whilst over on the US West Coast, the growing frequency of forest fires have seen members invest in ever greater protection.

Maintenance and investment
ICEFAT’s Standards may be the industry benchmark, but without a robust approach to regular maintenance, checks and procedural testing, they could easily be interpreted as a just another policy. This is why ICEFAT members are subject to regular audits, overseen by EY, the multi-national professional services partnership, to assess risk and resilience. Thanks to this thorough, on-going appraisal, our clients can be confident that ICEFAT Standards hold our members across the globe to account, setting a high bar for the logistics industry as a whole.