Rack Codes & StandardsRack Design & Installation

Why It’s Safest To Work With A Qualified Rack Engineer

Throughout RMI’s two published guidelines—Considerations for the Planning and Use of Industrial Steel Storage Racks and Guideline for the Assessment and Repair or Replacement of Damaged Rack—repeated references are made about the importance of using a qualified, experienced industrial steel storage rack engineer to confirm that the structure is designed or repaired properly.

Yet, there is no such thing as a professional storage rack engineering degree or certification. So how do you identify someone with these specific qualifications, and why should you bother?

The second part of that question is easy to answer: to ensure that the rack will perform as expected and keep personnel operating in and around the structure safe.

As for the first part, it’s important to ask for the engineer’s qualifications. How much experience does he or she have in creating storage rack designs—both in terms of years and number of projects? Also, ask about the type of rack design projects previously completed, as well as for references from customers. Unsure where to find a qualified rack engineer in your immediate area? Ask for referrals from other rack engineers.

Additionally, it might be helpful to understand how someone evolves from holding a professional engineering certification to becoming a qualified rack engineer. To gain that level of specialization, an engineering graduate trains under an expert rack engineer in an apprentice-type position. Not only does he or she learn from a senior level engineer who has extensive expertise in rack design, the engineer in training (and all other professional engineers seeking to maintain their certifications) takes additional continuing education courses in related areas. These might include the latest techniques in weld design or the newest design codes for steel structures.

Further, qualified rack engineers must stay up-to-date on the latest developments in RMI’s ANSI MH16.1-2012: Specification for the Design, Testing and Utilization of Industrial Steel Storage Racks, the standard for the safe design and installation of steel storage racks. They must also consistently demonstrate the ability to perform the calculations required to create a rack structure with components that correspond to a specific project’s load, intended usage and unique location. These include applicable seismic codes and state and local building requirements. All of these factors contribute to a rack engineer’s level of expertise—and the likelihood that the rack designs they create are safe.

Looking for independent validation that your industrial steel storage rack or welded wire rack decking manufacturer follows the RMI/ANSI specification? Those companies are R-Mark Certified, and a complete listing can be found here.