Getting it right, first time… Negotiating the legal minefield of pallet racking consent, compliance

Believe it or not, you can’t just install pallet racking without a council consent says Pallet Racking Solutions (PRS). Pallet racking consenting and compliance regulations are numerous, specific and complicated.

The company says it is of no surprise that it hears, often: “Why are there so many pallet racking consenting and compliance regulations?”

“New Zealand is the Land of the Long White Cloud… and earthquakes,” says PRS. “The 2010/2011 Christchurch earthquakes brought to light the serious negligence with many installations, prompting calls for better regulation. During the quakes, many commercial warehouses suffered collapses, endangering staff and destroying stock.

“Legislation was brought in to ensure this didn’t happen again, and now all pallet racking installations require building consent, including documentation proving the components and installation both comply with the strict New Zealand Building Code.”

If you are considering building, reconfiguring, or refitting a warehouse in New Zealand, then to meet the consenting and compliance measures, you need to consider many things, including the following.

Shelving and racking systems

Part of the NZ Building Code is New Zealand Standard 4219: Seismic performance of engineering systems in buildings. This involves shelving and racking systems and their safety procedures. The standard states that systems should be designed to withstand the effects of an earthquake. It also has more practical day-to-day information such as regular checks to look for damaged beams, lockplates, missing bolts, screw anchors or damage from forklift impact.

Palletised goods

Most warehouses use pallets to move stock, so you would expect legislation to cover palletised goods. The law states that pallets should be in good condition (broken or damaged pallets should be removed) and that in frequently-occupied areas, palletised goods should be restrained to prevent them from falling. Shrink wrapping should extend around the base of the pallet so that the goods and the pallet form one unit.

Hazardous substances

When it comes to hazardous substances, obviously extra care needs to be taken when moving and storing. The Hazardous Substances and Processes building code explains where substances can be stored, how they are to be handled and how to prevent contamination.

This area, in particular, is a minefield, including topics such as restricting access, safe release of pressure and how to clean surfaces that are likely to be splashed with a dangerous substance.

Post-earthquake inspection

If an earthquake happens, post-quake inspections are carried out if a racking installation has collapsed or become damaged. This should occur even if the racking appears to be unaffected with a quick visual inspection.

The BRANZ Design Guide advises that the store should immediately close to the public and that an appropriately qualified person should carry out an assessment of the system.

The racking installation should be carefully inspected, and stored items need to be checked for stability.

The above is just a taste of the consenting and compliance regulations that are involved when installing a pallet racking system. If unaware of how it all works, it could take many months to be awarded consent from the council, costing not only time but a lot of money.

Pallet Racking Solutions offers a comprehensive consenting process, helping you navigate the application forms and documentation, walking you through each stage, explaining how it all works, what you need to do next and how much it’s going to cost.

PRS can handle your building consenting and compliance process from start to finish, ensuring everything is up to the NZ Building Code.

The PRS comprehensive consenting process walks you through seven stages:

• Structural calculations by registered racking design engineer (PS1)

• This evaluation is peer-reviewed (PS2)

• Fire report (specific to the addition of racking at the facility)

• Emergency lighting report (specific to the addition of racking at the facility)

• Lodgement of Consent Application to council

• As the installer, PRS signs off on the installations (PS3)

• Final inspection by the structural engineer (PS4)

“Avoid expensive mistakes and complicated red tape by letting PRS do all the work,” says PRS. “Contact Pallet Racking Solutions if you would like to know more about pallet racking consenting and compliance, and one of their friendly and professional experts will be more than happy to discuss.”

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