Rack Codes & StandardsRack Design & Installation

How Do Building Codes Impact Rack Design and Installation?

Although a rack structure may look like a standalone installation within a building, the safety of its design and installation are governed similarly to that of the facility itself.

In fact, the 2015 International Building Code (IBC)—developed by the International Code Council and adopted for use as a base code standard by the majority of jurisdictions in the U.S.—references RMI’s ANSI MH16.1-2012: Specification for the Design, Testing and Utilization of Industrial Steel Storage Racks in section 2209.1 as the standard for safe design and installation of steel storage racks. Likewise, the same specification is referenced by the National Fire Protection Association’s NFPA 5000 Building Construction and Safety Code.

That’s because the safe design, manufacture and installation of a rack structure depend on a variety of building-specific factors, including: flooring, soils, anchoring, load type to be stored, handling equipment, and more. The building’s geographic location also impacts rack design, as seismic considerations vary depending upon the potential for earthquakes in a region.

Rack system design is subject to a building code review and may require permitting at the jurisdictional level (state, county and/or municipality). The IBC always applies to the design and manufacture of racking systems.

The following design specifications are part of the IBC code:

  • American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI)
  • American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC)
  • American Concrete Institute (ACI)
  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
  • National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program (NEHRP)
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Want more information? RMI’s publication “Considerations for the Planning and Use of Industrial Steel Storage Racks” offers more detail in Chapter 1, “Storage Rack References and Information Sources.”