>You need to know the weight of the shelving, plus
> the weight of the items to be stored at full capacity.   Add all the
> weight of shelving, boxes, desks etc and divide by the total square
> footage.  Older buildings were built with higher floor load capacities,
> but newer buildings often reinforce the floors only where they know
> there will be heavy weight loads.

One way of getting the higher floor load capacities in new buildings
it to place rooms that will have heavy loads adjacent to the core of
the floor, preferably on the side of the wall where the elevator shaft
is.  The ability of that portion of a floor to stand shear loads is

> A typical full 12x15x10" box will weigh approximately 25-30 lbs. but
> you can verify this by weighing a few samples that are typical of your
> storage boxes.  Next you need to determine the weight of the shelving.
> You mentioned shelving sections of 15 x 42" and 7 shelves - what is the
> actual height, 84 or 96"?

I generally use a figure of 37 pounds for a normally filled 1 cubic
foot box.  If you want to be real anal about it, you should also
calculate the potential wet weight of the boxes, because this is what
the shelving manufacturer is SUPPOSED to take into account when they
design the shelving.  In the event of a fire (or an accidental
discharge of the sprinklers), these boxes will likely get wet and the
weight goes up tremendously.  You might also want to discuss the
possibility of open mesh shelving versus solid deck, as it allows
water to pass through and provide greater protection to the assets in
the event of an incident, and there is no loss in structural stability
because the shelves have a solid frame, so they stand up to twisting
just fine.

You should also ensure there is a minimum of 3" of clearance from the
bottom of the shelving to the floor, that there is a minimum of 18"
clearance from the bottoms of your sprinkler heads to the top of the

> Are you designing the shelving layout?  Be sure to include good aisle
> space.

More importantly ensure the lighting and sprinkler arrangement is
appropriate and adequate for the shelving as installed.  Sprinklers in
most office environments are on 10' centers and that's fine if you're
in open office space, but if you place your shelving in a pattern that
defeats the spread of the fire protection (installing an after the
fact wall too close to a sprinkler head or one that results in the
sprinkler being just outside the wall) then you've got a problem.
This happens all the time in reconstruction/re-purposing of a facility
for record storage that was not originally designed for it.

You also may need to be mindful of the number of exits and the
placement of aisles with respect to the shelving to ensure there are
enough exits in the event of a fire, and that your aisles are ADA
(Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant.


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