The information below will help guide you through the permitting process of installing pallet racking in your warehouse. This includes a building and safety or fire safety permit.
Please note, the process may vary in your municipality or county.
Warehouse Racking Permitting Guide
This guide is designed to explain, in close detail, the complicated process of permitting pallet racking. A check-list of the documents you will require is listed below. You will need this information to acquire a Building and Safety or Fire Safety permit:
Building and Safety (Fire Safety Permit)
1. Complete Project Address/Location.
2. Warehouse Building Drawings
a. Site Plans
b. Slab Construction Details
c. Roof Plans
d. Sprinkler Plans
3. Wet Stamped Warehouse Project Drawings
a. Layout Plan- AutoCAD Warehouse Design
b. Detail Elevation Drawings (from seismic engineer)
4. Seismic Structural Calculations for Pallet Rack
5. Pallet Rack Installation Contractor Information
c. Contractor License Number
d. Workers Compensation & Liability Insurance
e. Business License
6. Valuation of Total Project
a. Total $(dollar) Amount of Sale
7. City Permit Fees
a. Plan Check Fee for Building & Safety Permit Application
b. Plan Check Fee for Fire Safety Permit Application
c. Building & Safety Permit Fee.
d. Fire Safety Permit Fee.
8. Filing for a Pallet Rack Permit
You will need this information for the following reasons:
Determine Seismic Zone
1. Project address must be complete with the user name, street address, city, zip code and city plot number if available. This is required by the engineer to insert into the title block of the presentation drawings and calculation documents. The city will not process building or fire permits without this data. This information is required to determine, among other things, the seismic zone of the pallet rack being erected.
Floor Load Bearing Characteristics
2. Building drawings from original “as-built” constructions drawings at time of completion and any remodel of interior conditions of existing building. These include sub-floor compaction and concrete floor thickness. This information is required by the engineer when looking at the floor’s ability to hold a weighted load.
It is important to for the engineers to know if the project is in a new or older building. Your fire engineer will need to review the current sprinkler drawings showing mains and capacity on the lines and sprinkler head spacing with density.
Drawings must clearly indicate all egress exits, stairways, man doors, tunnels, elevators, and methods to exit the building. The seismic engineer will require this data for pre-calculations and final submittals.
Pallet Rack Aisle Spacing and Beam Level Heights
3. Drawings indicate each rack, shelving, mezzanine, conveyor, carousels or any new system layout and elevations. These will also show systems details, such as aisle spacing, beam level heights of the proposed rack system, for Mezzanine and Catwalk Systems the drawings will indicate type of flooring being used, elevations and indicate the “live deck loading” of the floor. The seismic engineer will require this data for the final calculations and to “wet stamp” the approved drawings.
Seismic Calculations from Seismic Engineer
4. Seismic calculations show the rack being provided is seismically safe and meets the required loads. The seismic engineer must be registered and licensed in the city and the state in which the project is to be installed. In most cases, your racking solution provider will prepare the drawing package containing the layout and elevations of the proposed system. The drawing package will then be sent to the seismic engineer for final calculations.
Pallet Rack Installer / Contractor Details
5. The permits must also show the Installer/Contractor being used for the project along with all their pertinent information.
a. It must show your contractor’s name and or full business name
b. The current business address of the contractor
c. A valid contractor’s license number. (Ask to see this from your racking solution provider before placing your racking order.)
d. Any pertinent insurance information as requested such as workers compensation & liability insurance coverage.
i. Any and all approved licensed installers must have maximum insurance coverage as stipulated by the city permitting agency and as governed under the racking solution provider’s contract documents for associated sub-contractors.
ii. Workman Compensation Insurance and property damage insurance form, a valid carrier naming all parties related to any specific liability for failure to comply within the spirit of the initial contract. Some insurance carriers underwrite installers for $1 Million and others up to $2 million. Check with racking solution provider’s business office for legal and liability considerations.
e. Current Business License filed with the city in which the installation or work is to be done. This is a tax assessed to the installer. He may wish to absorb this annual cost as part of the installation quote to racking solution provider, or he has the option to pass this tax along to your racking solution provider as part of the installation expense. He may very well find other business in that city using your contribution for his city license.
Project Valuation and Permit Fee
6. At time of permitting, it is required to stipulate the total valuation of the project (total dollar sale of entire project). For example, at the time you file for a permit with the city clerk you will be asked the total dollar amount of the job/project. If the material, installation, engineering, permit submittal fees, tax and freight amount to $90,437, this would be the “Valuation Total of Project”. Based on this figure the city will assess a percent of the value for costs to process the plan check and permit fees, additionally the high-pile storage fee and any inspection fees on top.
Call the City Building Department for Answers
7. In order to estimate the permit fees for your project, you can call the city building department in advance, give them an approximate valuation of the project and the city will give you the permit fee cost over the phone subject to the date of final permit application and actual valuation of project. Do not be coy; ask any questions you need or concerns you may have. The direct approach is best.
Some cities contract to counties, sister city building departments or outside permitting agencies for review and approval of permits. This can increase the permit cost.
Typical Cost For Permitting Pallet Rack Example
a. Hypothetical Sample
i. Valuation of Project: $90,437.00
ii. Plan Check Fee: $412.00 (Varies by city)
iii. Permit Fee: $518.00 (Varies by city)
iv. High Pile Permit Fee: $300.00 (Varies by city)
v. Fire Inspection Fee: $120.00 (Varies by city)
Approvals and Sign Off
8. Once all your information is gathered, you or your project manager will then proceed with filing for and obtaining the necessary building permits, approvals, and sign-off. This may include high pile storage permits if required.
a. With a complete set of approved drawings, seismic calculations, pre-printed check made payable to the city for the permitting fees, your project manager may then proceed with filing for permit. Your project manager will need to fill any necessary forms required by the city. It is important to have all the information of the installer/contractor being used. Make sure to keep copies of forms, receipts for fees paid, and plan check turn-around.
b. In most cases, you will now be sent to the city fire department. The fire Marshal will expect full set of drawings showing all the details as mentioned above along with fire code permitting fees. This is a separate fee, which in many cities requires a separate check. The fire department/marshal does not require seismic calculations for the proposed project. If the drawings are approved, the fire department/marshal will stamp the drawings. You must transmit the complete package back to the city building department for their final structural analysis. Note: Most city building departments will not process your drawings and permit until stamped by their respective fire department. If this is the case, nothing will happen until the fire department/marshal stamp and sign off on the drawings.
c. The application with the drawings (stamped by the fire dept.) is now back at the building department. With supporting calculations and the fire code resolved, in some cases you should have the city engineering approval within a few days. This will vary greatly from city to city and county to county. You should call ahead and ask the city department on their turn-around time for review and approval. It is also a good idea to ask if they have an expediting service.
d. You will now have a notice from the city that your permit is ready, drawings stamped, approved and fire coded approved. Pick up your drawings with the calculations, send one (1) set to the job site for city inspection, and be sure the you, the end user, has a set for future reference.
e. The final step is to schedule a field inspection after installation is completed. At this point, if approved, the rack can be loaded.
Permit information links in the LA area
For permitting help, contact a professional material handling company in your area.