Pallet Rack Permits: The Ultimate Guide

Pallet Rack Permits

We’ve all had to deal with pallet rack permits – Scrambling to get stamped calculations and construction drawings. Emailing back and forth with the jurisdiction. Hiring a local inspection agency last minute.

In this guide, we delve into the complexities of pallet rack permitting, everything from what they are to tools you can use to help expedite the process.

Using this information in this guide, you’ll know how to be more prepared to get through permits with ease.

What Are Pallet Rack Permits?

Pallet rack permits are official approvals granted by local jurisdictions, allowing the installation or modification of storage rack systems.

They may seem like mere formalities, but these permits serve as a safeguard, ensuring the rack design complies with safety standards, building codes, and various regulatory requirements. 

Differences in Permit Requirements Between Jurisdictions

It’s important to recognize that the requirements for obtaining pallet rack permits can differ significantly from one jurisdiction to another.

Some jurisdictions may demand all documents to be submitted with a wet stamp or raised seal and continuous inspections, while others may accept digitally sealed documents without the need for special inspections.

This means you should communicate with the jurisdiction about their specific requirements for permits before getting started with your permit package.

Building vs. Fire Permits

Distinguishing between building permits and fire permits is essential in the pallet rack permitting process.

A building permit is necessary when constructing or modifying a structure, often requiring structural calculations to ensure the stability and safety of the pallet rack system.

Conversely, a fire permit focuses on fire-related safety measures within the warehouse, such as egress paths and fire suppression systems.

For storage rack jobs, building permits are typically required, where fire permits are slightly less common.

You should still communicate with the authority holding jurisdiction to understand their requirements, so your permitting process is as efficient as possible. 

The Pallet Rack Permit Application Process: A Step-by-Step Guide

This step-by-step guide is designed to shed light on the particulars of the permit application process, offering a roadmap for pallet rack professionals seeking to obtain the necessary approvals for their projects.

Step 1: Preliminary Research and Documentation Gathering

Before diving into the permit application process, conduct thorough preliminary research.

Understand the requirements of the jurisdiction – Do they require building and fire permits? Inspections? Does the cover sheet of the drawing package need to include a table of contents, a site layout, occupancy classification? Does the package need an anchor and connection details sheet?

Knowing this information will set you up so you’re not flying in blind.

Step 2: Prerequisites and Requirements

Here you’ll implement the information attained in step one.

You may need to conduct a site survey, reach out to inspection agencies, and start to prepare your drawing package.

You may need to run prelims on your rack materials to ensure you don’t run into hurdles during the calculation report process in later steps.

OneRack can be a very useful and efficient tool for this.

Step 3: Complete Permit Application Forms

Obtain the official permit application forms from the local permitting authority. Carefully fill out all required information, ensuring accuracy and completeness.

Be prepared to provide details on the project scope, the intended use of the pallet rack system, and any other relevant information.

Step 4: Consultation with Structural Engineers

A structural engineer will be needed to supply the calculation report for your rack designs and to stamp your drawing package.

OneRack can help streamline this process by helping you seamlessly submit your prelims and final drawings to structural engineers for full calculations and stamping.

Structural engineers may also help by stamping egress drawings for fire permits, depending on their expertise.

Step 5: Compile Comprehensive Construction Documents

Assemble a comprehensive set of construction documents that encompass all aspects of the pallet rack system.

Include the rack layout, elevations, installation details, structural calculations, zoning approvals, and any other documentation specified by the local authority. 

Step 6: Submission of Permit Application

Submit the completed permit application along with the compiled construction documents to the local permitting authority.

Be aware of any specific submission requirements, such as the need for a wet stamp or raised seal, or the acceptance of digitally sealed documents.

Confirm the submission method and inquire about any associated fees.

Step 7: Application Review Process

Once the permit application is submitted, it undergoes a comprehensive review by the local permitting authority.

This stage involves an evaluation of the construction documents, zoning compliance, and adherence to local regulations.

The authority may request additional information or clarification during this review process.

Step 8: Addressing Review Comments (if any)

If the local permitting authority provides comments or requests additional information, promptly address and resolve these issues.

Collaborate with the structural engineer and other professionals involved in the project to ensure that any concerns raised during the review process are adequately resolved.

Step 9: Permit Approval or Denial

Following a thorough review, the local permitting authority will issue a decision on the permit application.

If the application meets all requirements and compliance standards, the permit will be approved. In the case of deficiencies or non-compliance, the authority may issue a denial or request further modifications to the project.

Step 10: Issuance of Permit and Compliance Monitoring

Upon approval, the local permitting authority will issue the pallet rack permit. Ensure that all conditions outlined in the permit are understood and complied with during the installation process.

Be prepared for potential inspections to verify that the rack system aligns with the approved plans and meets safety standards.

Realistic timelines for obtaining a permit can vary based on factors such as project complexity, the responsiveness of the local permitting authority, and the completeness of the submitted documents.

In some instances, the process may extend over several weeks or months, highlighting the importance of initiating the permitting process well in advance of the intended installation date.

Code Compliance: The Foundation of Pallet Rack Permitting

Adhering to governing codes is a fundamental part of the pallet rack permitting process.

The International Building Code (IBC) and the ANSI MH16.1 standard are frequently referenced in the context of pallet rack systems.

Compliance with these codes is paramount to ensure that the rack design meets established safety and structural integrity standards, safeguarding the well-being of personnel working in the warehouse, as well as avoiding potential delays in the permitting process.

Pallet rack professionals must adhere to these codes in their designs to streamline the permitting process.

Structural engineers play a pivotal role in this regard, providing the necessary structural calculations and stamping construction documents to validate that the design meets all applicable codes and regulations.

Different jurisdictions require adherence to different versions of codes. For example, one jurisdiction may require compliance with IBC 2021, while another may require compliance with the IBC 2018 with state-specific addendums.

You should communicate with the jurisdiction about which code they adhere to. OneRack can help with this, as it automatically adheres to the correct code for each state. 

FAQs: Answering Common Questions

Q: Why is obtaining a pallet rack permit necessary? Pallet rack permits are essential to ensure that the storage rack system meets safety standards, building codes, and other regulatory requirements. 

Q: What documents are typically required for a permit application? Permit applications often require comprehensive construction documents, including detailed rack designs, structural calculations, zoning approvals, and other pertinent information. The specific requirements will vary by jurisdiction.

Q: How long does it take to obtain a pallet rack permit? The timeline for obtaining a permit varies based on factors such as the complexity of the project, the responsiveness of the local permitting authority, and the completeness of the submitted documents. In some cases, the process may take weeks or months.

Q: Can digital documents be used for permit applications? The acceptance of digital documents varies by jurisdiction. Some may require documents to be submitted with a wet stamp or raised seal, while others may accept digitally sealed documents. It is crucial to research and comply with the specific requirements of the local permitting authority.

Preparedness and Using Available Tools Ensures a More Efficient Process

Pallet rack permitting isn’t just a bureaucratic hurdle, they ensure safety through compliance with the governing codes.

We all have to deal with this, but by using the information and tools set forth in this article, we hope your time dealing with them is a little less stressful.  

By the way, how would you like to streamline the permitting process?

OneRack is a powerful new storage rack design software that allows you to submit designs for calculations and stamped construction documents quickly. It solves the challenges posed by the bureaucratic details. 

You can check out OneRack’s free 30-day trial here.

Pallet rack permitting, when approached with diligence and the right tools, becomes not just a bureaucratic requirement but a critical aspect of creating a secure and efficient warehouse space.

Try OneRack’s Pro Version, Completely Free

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