Every good warehouse is full of racking and storage solutions of many different varieties. This is great for the storage and organization of your products and materials, but putting up racking isn’t as simple as installing the system. There are a lot of legal forms and restrictions you need to follow to put in your racking. Here’s a deeper look at what you need to know about warehouse racking permits.
What’s a Warehouse Racking Permit?
The first thing you should understand is what exactly is a warehouse racking permit. Simply put, it’s a legal requirement and permission from the city to install and use racking in your warehouse. There’s a whole application process you need to go through when you put in new racking or change an existing system.
Why Do Cities Require Permits?
There are many reasons cities require permits for racking, but the biggest one is for the safety of workers. Warehouse work is one of the most dangerous jobs out there, with frequent injuries from improper racking designs. These permits are to force companies to use safe practices in their design and improves the working condition of employees.
What Permits Do You Need?
There are only two permits you need to consider when looking to put in racking in your warehouse. The main one’s a building permit, which is necessary for any place that uses racks over a certain height (typically 5’ 9”), depending on your city. You’ll also need a fire permit for storing products above 12’ or flammable items above 6’. This often includes a high-piled storage permit at the same time.
How To Get a Permit
This section will cover more in-depth detail about the process of applying for and receiving your permit. This is pretty standard across the country, but some cities, counties, or states may have different requirements. You should start this process before you set up any racking and wait until you’re midway through the application process before you set anything up.
Prepare CAD Drawings
The first step in applying for a permit is developing your plan for your new racking layout. There are countless ways you can develop your layout, so contacting an expert for design tips will spare you a lot of issues and problematic designs. CAD drawings should include the entire floor and site plans for your warehouse, including everything possible and all your new plans in great detail. From racking dimensions to sprinkler placement, your CAD drawings shouldn’t miss a single thing.
The next part of your permit application process will likely include seismic calculations, which is a set of calculations from engineers on the racking you plan on using. This is important, as these calculations factor in your location’s seismic zone, potential load weight, and racking specifications to determine the capacity of your racking. This should inform you about what your racking is capable of and can have a lot of impact on your designs.
Apply for a Permit
After you gather all the necessary documentation and designs, it’s time to apply for the permit. You need to contact your local government to start the process. This often means you’re contacting the nearest city to start the process. They’ll require you to do a few things to complete the application on your end and move on to the next steps of the process.
Fees for Application
The city will first require funds for applying in the first place, which varies wildly depending on your location and the city you’re applying to. However, standard practice means the fee is a percentage of the value of the racking project, which is somewhere between 10 and 30%, depending on the city’s policy. You can find permit estimators online in some cities, making it easier to plan.
Fill Out Forms
When you go apply to the city, you will have a lot of forms to fill out for the permit process. This is how the city records what you’re doing, and all the paperwork is necessary for the permit. You’ll need to fill out more paperwork for high-piled storage permits if you’ve racking above 12’ tall. The forms will ask a lot of specific questions of you, such as what product you’re storing and the specifics of your warehouse.
Set Up Your Racks
Once you finish applying to the city, they’ll give you a permit to install the racking in your building. After this, you can finally install and change everything in your warehouse, but you need to follow the plans exactly. If they deviate from the original plan, you might lose your permit, which is why you should use professional pallet rack installation services to follow your plans and local codes. Don’t start using the racking even after you set it up until you receive the final permit, or the city may fine you and cancel your permit.
After you finish your installation, the city will require a special inspection from an independent company to verify everything follows the plan. This is important, as something done incorrectly can cost you the permit, or at least delay you as you fix your racking. This is typically discovered through an inspection of your racking’s anchors, but other mistakes can still cost you.
Final Permit Inspection
Once the city receives good news from the special inspection company, they’ll then require one final inspection before giving you the permit. This final inspection will check everything against your plans and ensure that everything meets the requirements. Once you’re done with this inspection, you should soon receive the permit to fully use your racking.
Time To Get the Permits
Not including the planning stage, as that can take as long as you need, the process of applying for the permit to receiving it can take quite a while. Although it can be quicker, it generally takes at least 2-3 months to get everything done and ready—and that timeline doesn’t take into account any delays from installation or other issues when applying. Sadly, you can’t do much to speed up this process, other than preemptively have all your information ready when the city asks for it.
This is everything you need to know for applying and receiving your warehouse racking permits. Although the process can seem tedious, it’s well worth it, as getting a permit can help you avoid larger problems down the line, such as fines or full shutdowns.