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How do I handle permitting?

Everyday we encounter potential customers who ask the question: “Do we need a permit for this project?” It’s a good question since to the layman the lines are blurry. But to the licensed contractor who understands the process, it’s pretty clear cut.

In this blog I’m not going to cite codes or bore you with the minutiae of governmental requirements. Instead let us look logically at some of the merits of what a permit provides.

In terms of the rack, has it been reviewed and approved by a structural engineer that it will safely hold the materials you have? Does the rack meet the seismic requirements for the geographic area? Are there active fault lines that could cause a problem? Also, does the layout of the rack give the employees the ability to evacuate quickly and safely in the event of an emergency?

With respect to fire safety, how sufficient is the sprinkler system - does it have the capacity to quench a fire on all of the products you’re storing? Understandably, there are different classifications of materials that are stored. Knowing how they’re classified is fundamental to safety. Once we’ve matched you with the right sprinkler, you can be confident that it’ll work.

And finally the lights. When we optimize a warehouse, we try to use as much of the “cube” as possible. This can mean that you can stack products within 18-36” of the sprinkler system...pretty high. However, if the lighting and exit signs aren’t visible from within the aisle, wouldn’t that be problematic for forklift operators? Being sure that we’re safe will further our ability to maximize efficiency.

Sure the cost of permitting can surprise customers, we see it everyday. But when you view permitting as a vehicle for safety and efficiency, and a hedge against catastrophy, it’s worth the investment in any application. So, are you required to get one?

Stay tuned...

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