This is the first installment in our blog series Understanding Pallet Rack Systems from the Ground Up

Sitework – The First Element in Your Pallet Rack System

Quite simply, sitework is part of a construction project that is not part of a building’s physical structure. There are many things that go into preparing a site for construction, including excavation or land clearing, initial and final grading, septic and sewer systems, preparation of permits, driveway and walkway construction, water systems, and landscaping. Testing the soil bearing capacity is also a part of the sitework and factors into your pallet rack system.

Why You Should Care About Soil?

In a storage facility or warehouse environment, as weight is distributed down through the pallet rack storage system, it is ultimately distributed into the soil beneath your building. When constructing a building and/or when designing a pallet rack system, it is important to determine the soil bearing capacity to confirm that it will meet the load requirements of your racking system. Soil bearing capacity is tested by using plate load test or a CBR test.


Just knowing your soil bearing capacity is not the end of your “groundwork, so to speak. The actual flooring in the facility plays a role too. Floor slab thickness and concrete strength in pounds per square inch (PSI) are factors that will help decide the pallet racking system that will safely suit your material handling needs.
Because the ground and flooring will ultimately bear the brunt of whatever weight is within the building, it is vital to have a qualified engineer to help plan and prepare for your specific needs.

Seismic Concerns

Any pallet rack system that is in seismic zones 2A, 2B, 3, or 4 with loads above 8 ‘ must be designed to resist earthquakes.  To achieve compliance in your local municipalities, special requirements will have to be met.  Prior to designing a seismic zone pallet rack system, an analysis must be performed by a seismic engineer to determine the exact materials that will be required.
In our next post, we’ll be looking at steel characteristics and what you need to know about steel to reduce the chances of pallet rack failures. Stay tuned!