Years ago, warehouse managers would simply go to their nearest pallet rack supplier and order the quality and quantity of racking that they needed. These days there is a lot more to it, as Speedrack West explains. The Oregon-based supplier of pallet shelves and racks says that careful consideration must be given to regulations, both federal and state. Some of the more common pertain to seismic regulations. Speedrack West went on to say that it is best to seek out and speak to an expert before investing in any type of warehouse racking system.
Why Do Pallet Racks Require Permits?
Pallet racking is actually classed as an element of the building, meaning that it requires a permit. As mentioned above, pallet racks today must comply with regulations relating to seismic standards. So even if your building were not within a recognized seismic zone, the racking you choose must be strong and sturdy enough to withstand such forces.
A permit is required for racking higher than 5’9”. However, fire permits are also generally required. Storing your products on racking higher than 12’ is classed as High Pile Storage. This will mean a fire marshal will need to visit your facility to assess how flammable your products are. As an added bonus, your sprinkler system will also need to be assessed.
How to Get a Permit
Obtaining a permit requires a bit of work as there are a number of steps involved in the process. Note that there will usually be a fee attached to proceedings. Permit fees are typically a percentage (on average 10-30%) of the cost of the racking itself and the installation. Fortunately you do not need to figure this all out by yourself. Pallet racking suppliers have the knowledge and expertise required to ensure your warehouse racking system meets all required regulations. As well as supplying and installing the system, they can help with the permits as well.
The first thing that will need doing is CAD drawings. These drawings will show the layout of your site and the racking system you are proposing. Warehouse CAD layouts will show the plans in full detail and include everything from the racking system to the aisles and beam elevations.
Back to seismic regulations, almost every state has laws in place pertaining to seismic standards, so any system you install has to meet these standards. Once again, a reputable supplier of racking solutions should be able to help with this.
Once you have the required documentations, you will need to complete permit forms and submit them to your local government office. You will then have to liaise with a local government staff to progress your application for a permit.
After the Permit Has Been Granted
Upon receiving the permit, you can get started on the installation process. Your pallet rack supplier will ensure that all racking is installed in accordance with the approved plans and your own city/state code.
Be aware though that this is not the end of the process. Your local permit office will need to make sure that the installation was carried out correctly and will use an independent company to verify this. If the inspector is happy with the installation, your permit application will be finalized, and you can begin using your racking.
As you can see, installing a racking system in a warehouse is not as simple as it used to be in years gone by. There is a lot more to it than just buying shelves off the shelf, so to speak!