Floor-Loading Capacity for High-Density Shelving

Designing Buildings with Room to Grow

Planning for Future High-Density Storage Systems

Although no one can predict the future, it’s safe to assume that your business or institution will need more storage space as time goes by. Businesses need to meet increasing demand, museums’ and libraries’ collections grow and change, and criminal evidence accumulates in law enforcement storerooms.

High-density mobile systems are a great way to increase capacity in existing buildings, but they can only store as much weight as the building was designed to bear. Building in adequate floor-loading capacity for high-density shelving will open up a wider range of renovation options later.

“The structural requirement for compact shelving [in libraries] is [up to] 300 pounds per square foot, versus 150 for standard shelving. This adds a relatively small increase in the [construction] cost per square foot, but it gives you the potential of two to two-and-a-half times the capacity in the long term.”

– Michael Cohen, AIA

See how planning ahead helped these clients save time, save money, and optimize space for years to come

Adding Capacity During Construction

College of Charleston
This library was originally designed to accommodate compact shelving, even though it wasn’t needed at the time of construction. Ten years later, new Spacesaver high-density mobile systems allow the library to hold twice as many volumes, add 200 more seats for students, and create a “smart” classroom.

floor loading planning university flexible student space

floor loading planning university library collection

A Library Built for Future Flexibility

Mount Royal University
This university library wanted ultimate flexibility. The design team opted for static shelving, but they asked the architect to design the structure to bear double the weight. Depending on the library’s needs in the future, the static Spacesaver shelving can be relocated or mounted on high-density systems.

Expanding Upward in a Vertical Cannabis Grow

Galenas Medical Cannabis Growing Facility
An Ohio medical cannabis cultivation facility built in extra vertical capacity right from the start. Its state-issued license limited its growing area to 3,000 square feet, so the owner worked with the architect and the local Spacesaver consultant to create a vertical racking system that eliminated wasted aisle space and took full advantage of the facility’s height. Even though the business would only need to use two tiers when it first opened, the owner planned to add plants on the third tier to keep pace with consumer demand.

floor loading planning indoor cannabis growing

floor loading planning long term evidence storage

Ramping Up Police Records Storage

Carbondale Police Department
The police chief at the Carbondale Police Department worked with the architect and the local Spacesaver consultant to design a records area that could add capacity over time. The Spacesaver crew installed complete rail systems during the building’s construction, even though only a few carriages were needed at first. More shelving and carriages can be added as needed, and in the meantime, rail covers create a comfortable walking surface.

Increasing Archival Capacity Over Time

State Archives
This archival facility also added rails during construction in anticipation of future growth. Although rails can be added to the floors of existing buildings, it’s simpler and more cost effective to build them in right from the start. As the facility’s collections grow, Spacesaver will provide additional carriages and shelving.

floor loading planning museum archive storage

Connect with the Storage Planning Experts

Plan for smart storage, right from the start! Contact us to get connected with your local Spacesaver consultant, who can provide expert insights into floor loading capacity and other design considerations. There’s no cost and no obligation, so get started today.

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