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What is Tiered Shelving?

A multi-tiered shelving structure is a raised platform rack or mounted shelf structure that introduces different floor levels to the warehouse and is independent of the rest of the building. The shelving is usually supported by pallet racking such as a robust longspan racking, or it can be standard shelving. Tiered systems are ideal for storage of high-density, non-palletised goods, and archival or small parts storage, that requires hand picking rather than being selected by forklift pallet load. It is effective for long-term storage scenarios, when direct access to goods may still be required. Tiered shelving structures are a great option to maximise the vertical space available, without sacrificing floor space or compromising on safety or efficiency. They can increase your space usage by up to 100%. It also enables parallel picking to occur across multiple tiers, which can enable faster job completion.

These additional floor levels are created by using a shelving system to support a mezzanine floor, with heavy-duty uprights carrying and distributing the loads from the floor above. The base of a multi-tier installation is the shelving itself, built of uprights made of 1.2 mm pre-galvanized steel. The uprights can be either full length, where they support both levels of shelves and the access walkway, or single, when they support the lower shelves and a mezzanine with free standing shelving units above. As when installing a typical mezzanine, it is important to consider the load bearing capacity of your warehouse floor to account for the extra weight bearing it will do, this may require concrete core testing. The multi-tier shelving solution offers a better storage capacity than having standard shelving with a mezzanine on top because the second floor is supported by static shelving units and does not require additional pillars. It is also created using thinner steel grid floors than a typical mezzanine which takes up less space and allows for the potential of an additional floor level on top. There is a very substantial cost saving on the construction costs for a multi-tier construction when compared to standard shelving on two floor levels plus a mezzanine floor, as a separate floor does not need to be purchased and the floor and shelving are all built as one, saving manpower and time.

Tiered shelving utilises stairways and raised walkways between aisles on multiple floor levels in order to provide easy access to stored goods. Walkways are constructed from wire or chipboard decking panels depending on desired use, and are completed with safety features such as handrails, security gates - hinged, sliding, or up and over - and fall-prevention mesh. The style of walkway you choose depends on your needs; standard deck board is a more cost effective solution and has a high load capacity, while wire grid shelves have added fire protection by allowing sprinkler systems to work effectively still, and in a cold storage environment will allow for a better circulation of air.

The use of accessible walkways and stairs is a significant advantage as it allows you to reach the higher floor levels of the warehouse racking without requiring the addition of automation, which can be both complex and costly, and is a requirement within traditional high-density systems. This does not, however, mean that the system cannot be created in conjunction with automatic elements in order to further streamline your operations. For example, you could install box conveyors running along the warehouse levels to the dispatch area. Due to the accessibility of each shelving unit, large handling equipment such as forklifts is also not necessarily needed, which again can decrease the cost of running your warehouse, and also reduce the risk of damage to your racking through collision. Forklifts and other material handling equipment can still be used if desired, walkways just require adaptation to ensure they are able to support the weight of the machines.

This storage design enables you to maximise the use of your vertical space while reducing your storage footprint. It also enables an increase in storage capacity and efficiency without needing to extend or relocate your entire warehouse. It is a system that can be integrated with different shelving types and solutions in order to fit your individual needs. It can be possible to convert a single-tier system into a multi-tier system depending on the capacity of your existing shelving. It is also a versatile system, allowing for shelf height to be quickly and easily adjusted in 25mm units if your storage requirements change suddenly. While this storage system prioritises a maximisation of space usage by increasing vertical height, due to its formation as a compact storage space it is only going to help optimise your warehouse space if you require hand picking and direct access to lower turnover items, rather than aiding the efficiency of a high density homogenous warehouse like other systems. It allows for a streamlining of operations and enables direct, hand-picking access to all stock keeping units. It is a very effective solution when working in a longer term, low turnover distribution centre.

Here at DC Space and Storage Solutions, we’re perfectly placed and accredited to offer you our bespoke warehouse design consultancy services, and help ensure you are choosing the right storage solution for your business’ needs, before then offering our SEMA approved installation services. With over 30 years’ experience in the racking and storage industry, we have huge expertise in delivering high quality, expert warehouse consultation services to businesses of all sizes. Whether you are looking to optimise your current operations, redesign your warehouse space or minimise your losses, warehouse design consultancy with our highly skilled experts is the cost-effective solution to make the most of your storage space.

Get in touch today to find out more and receive a free quote! Call 01392 927 096 or email

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