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Rack-Supported Buildings

Is your company a good candidate for investing in a rack-supported building?

Before you answer, it’s important to understand exactly what a rack-supported building is and what it is not. The definition of a rack-supported building is “a complete independent storage rack system which is the basic structural system of a building.” In other words, the rack system is the building and the building, the rack system.

The rack connects the roof with the walls. There is no other building structure.

A rack-supported building is an excellent rack system in the proper application. Such applications are those in which maximum storage density is a must. These buildings also are better than traditional storage facilities in areas where wind, heavy snow and earthquakes are common.

Examples of rack supported buildings

There are many examples of rack-supported buildings helping companies work more efficiently. The most common is the automated storage/retrieval system (ASRS). ASRS facilities typically have a multi-story profile containing a heavy concentration of automation. These structures have very technical and precise picking equipment and conveyors designed to maximize vertical storage space in a very small footprint.

ASRS buildings function mostly without a large human workforce.

While the ASRS system is most often associated with a rack supported building, it is not the only rack supported building design available to users. Rack systems including drive-in and pushback (single and doublewide rack) racks are used in the construction of this type of structure. These rack supported building types do not come with a comparable level of automation like ASRS systems. As a result, the maximum height of rack supported buildings using pushback and similar rack systems is dependent upon the vertical range of its forklifts.


There are many benefits associated with rack supported buildings. This type of structure maximizes storage density on a small footprint. Costs associated with design are less, as there is no need for creating an internal structure. This also translates into lower cost for engineering. Because the amount of steel used (again, the rack structure eliminates the need for a separate structure) for items such as vertical and other support beams, construction costs are less. Construction time is significantly less than traditional storage facilities.

But that’s not all. This turnkey solution has other financial benefits over traditional warehousing. Many states offer additional tax benefits with this type of structure. Consult your tax professional for specifics.

Rack supported buildings are not the best choice for many. However, there are other challenges potential users should consider. Companies with a large number of SKUs will not benefit from this type of building. Furthermore, the rack is the building’s support structure. So, any attempts to change the rack will cause changes to the building’s structural integrity AND be very costly.

It is better to have a growth plan in place, plotting out storage needs and goals prior to investing in a rack supported building.

Is a rack supported building the right structure for your application? It offers many benefits, but there are also enough challenges that it is not the best option for everyone. Contact us today and learn more.


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