Our first question this month asks about the Installation of Beams and our second relates to Tolerances.

Installation of Beams

Q. Can you send me SEMA’s guidance notes on installing beams into bays of racking that is fully loaded please?

A. SEMA do not have any formal guidance notes on inserting beams into loaded racking. Any change to the bay configuration will however affect the overall loading capacity and must be checked out with the manufacturer/supplier to ensure that the proposed changes are acceptable (also get written confirmation of this). If the change is acceptable, it should only be carried out with any beam levels above the insertion point being completely unloaded. On completion, a new load sign must be provided to confirm the revised configuration.

Tolerances relating to floor and levelness of racking

Q. We have recently had some pallet racking relocated and erected by a competent racking firm. We have used them in the past and they were the same company that erected it in its first location. The problem we now have is that the racking is not level and we want to know what the regulations state with regards to the tolerance for levelling, accepting that no concrete floor will ever be perfectly level. I cannot get an answer from the racking company.

A. ‘The SEMA Guideline to Erection Tolerances for Static Racking’ will give you some idea as to what would be expected of racking when measured in the unloaded condition as first built. However, as your racking has been rebuilt these guidelines can only be taken as a rough guide.

We would comment as follows:

1.When building a low rise, wide aisle racking most suppliers will allow the racking to “follow the floor” on reasonable quality floors as long as uprights do not ‘float’. If this happens metal shims are inserted to ensure that each footplate has a firm foundation and fixings are inserted to ensure the shims cannot slide out. This will accommodate a small degree of floor unevenness and ensure that you do not end up with other problems due to the rack being precisely vertical and the mast of the truck leaning due to the truck running on this uneven floor.

2.If the unevenness is great then it is perfectly possible to totally level the rack. However, there may then be operational problems due to the truck running out of level. In the extreme, some form of floor levelling by either screeding over the existing floor in the aisle areas or by grinding off the high spots may be necessary.

3.On very rare occasions we are aware of rack designs which allow the rack to lean so that it remains at right angles to the floor enabling equipment to operate satisfactorily. However, in this situation the rack is specially designed for this purpose and the standard carrying capacity is likely to be reduced to account for the extra forces due to the lean in the structure. This normally only occurs when there is a consistent slope to the floor.

SEMA Annual Safety Conference 2019 – a date for your diary

The 2019 SEMA Safety Conference has been scheduled for Thursday, 31 October; the venue will be the National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull. For full details and a booking form contact SEMA at enquiry@sema.org.uk

SEMA Technical Enquiries

We hope you find the above articles, and those in previous editions, interesting. If you have a query send it to us by fax or email and we will do our best to have it answered by one of our technical experts.

SEMA Rack Safety Awareness and Inspection Courses

SEMA runs a one-day safety course on Rack Safety Awareness and Inspection. These courses are aimed at end users, giving an in-depth look at the need for inspections, how to conduct an assessment and what actions to take when this is completed. These courses are normally held at the SEMA headquarters but arrangements can be made to hold them at the delegates’ premises.

SEMA Approved Rack

Inspectors Qualification This qualification is aimed at professionals who conduct rack surveys as an integral and significant part of their duties. It involves delegates in undertaking an in-depth SEMA Course, together with an examination and practical assessment. CPD will be an important part of the qualification, demonstrating to end users that SEMA Approved Inspectors maintain a high professional standard.

SEMA Publications

SEMA has 26 publications in stock – Codes of Practice, ‘Guides’ and European documents – all of which are available from our Offices. For further information on these documents contact SEMA or visit our website, www.sema.org.uk. and click on ‘Codes of Practice’.


SEMA runs a USERS Club designed to be of benefit to purchasers and users of storage equipment. Members receive newsletters, access to specialised events and discounted rates on publications and codes of practice.



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