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Can You Fix Pallet Racking to a Building?

Pallet racking systems are comprised of uprights, beams, struts, baseplates, rails and other supports, they form a storage system capable of bearing load capacities in the tons, so proper anchoring is critical not only for effective use, but also to ensure the safety of your warehouse and its employees. The installation of pallet racking is a complex task that should only be undertaken by trained and approved SEMA professionals. SEMA is the Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association and promotes and extends the safe design, installation, and use of storage equipment. They offer established codes of practice that must be adhered to in order to ensure that your pallet racking is compliant with health and safety legislation and recommendations. Here at DC Space and Storage Solutions, we are one of the only companies in the UK to have received approval as both a SEMA distributor and a SEMA installation company.

The questions of fixing pallet racking to a building can be raised in regard to whether racking is being bolted to the floor, or fixed to a wall, and have very different answers.

Can, and should pallet racking be bolted to the floor?

The SEMA recommendations in regard to bolting racking to the floor is that yes, pallet racking should be bolted to the floor. Specifically, any and all racking that can be approached by material handling equipment, such as forklifts, is bolted down with at least a single fixing bolt. This is in order to prevent it from moving, becoming unstable, or even collapsing due to impact upon it. Pallet racking should only be fixed to the floor after the racks have been aligned and levelled to ensure they will maintain their correct structural integrity once loaded, and should be fixed in accordance with instructions specified by the racking manufacturer. Their instructions will take into account; the rack application and use, the rack’s height to width ratio, the style of baseplate in use, and the number of fixings required by each baseplate. Due to the integral significance of base plate fixings, manufacturer’s recommendations should never be substituted for anything else.

Base plates are located at the base of a column and increase the pallet rack stability and weight bearing capacity. They come pre-drilled with two or more holes in order to allow them to be easily fixed to the floor and anchor the column. Base plate sizes vary depending on the requirements of the surface area and stability requirements of the pallet racking.

To properly secure them, each base plate should have at least one anchor. The quantity, brand, and size of these anchors is specified by an engineer when racking is designed. In most cases only one anchor is used, which allows the extra holes in the baseplate to be used for re-anchoring when adjusting racking or repairing damage.

Can, and should pallet racking be fixed to the wall?

Fixing pallet racking to a wall is, however, never recommended. In order to safely fix pallet racking to a wall, the connection must be designed and approved not only by the racking manufacturer, but also the building designers. Building designers and regulators are unlikely to approve additional forces being placed on the walls or other structures. Buildings can move under loading which may damage the racking fixed to it, but more significantly the racking may impart forces and weight upon the building that it has not been designed for, and may negatively impact its structural integrity. Fixing racking to walls ties them together and causes both entities to become susceptible to damage from shifts and impacts that would not typically necessarily impact both and has the potential to cause much greater damage in the event of any accident. Racking is a self supporting structure usually fixed into place only by bolting onto floor slabs. If the floor slabs are deemed unsuitable for this weight bearing, then fixing racking to the walls instead is not a suitable alternative.

Any racking should be inspected by an expert ‘competent person’ at least once a year, and this person should be SEMA approved and have undertaken racking inspection training. This is particularly important in regard to the anchoring of racking as any damage to these anchoring facilities, or any excessive amount of twist on the base plates will affect the structural integrity of the pallet racking. This means it will become less stable in its fixation to the floor, meaning further impact could compromise it entirely and result in collapse. For this reason, it is important to be aware of any damage to racking, but particularly base plates and anchors, and replace any damaged or missing anchors immediately. The risk to not only your stock and operation but also your employees is too great to have poorly anchored racking in operation. The significance of this only serves to further emphasise why your pallet racking should only be fixed to the floor and not to the walls.

Correctly installing and fixing your pallet racking can be a complicated process with significant consequences, and that’s why here at DC Space and Storage Solutions, we will support you through all aspects of the design and installation process. We are SEMA approved both in terms of installation and distribution, and hold numerous other accreditations including; the ISO45001 - the world’s international standard for occupational health and safety; the ISO14001 which recognises the efficient and sustainable use and disposal of natural resources; the ISO9001 - the criteria for quality management; the Altius Assured Award - for complying with the highest supply chain standards; and the Alcumus SafeContractor Accreditation - recognising our capabilities for health and safety assurance. These ensure our designs and installations are safe, efficient, and effective across every stage of the process, and we’ll install you your safest and most optimised warehouse. Get in touch today for more information or a free consultation, email, call 01392 927 096, or fill out the form on our website!

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