Navigating the Permit Application Process

Most lower mainland municipalities require tenant improvement permits to erect racking systems above 8' to the top shelf. Racking requires permits if you are using a forklift to load and unload the racks.

Permits are required by the City to ensure you are meeting the current safety standards in your company. Requirements and application processes vary across provinces and municipalities.

At Arpac, we understand that as a customer, it can be daunting to try and navigate through all that needs to be done to purchase and install racking, shelving or a mezzanine system into your facility. We have created a simple guide to help you understand what is required before submitting your application to most permit offices.

How to navigate the Permit Application Process

Step 1: Start designing your system

An Arpac salesperson will work with you to design and engineer the rack system to your loading requirements. To accomplish this, a site plan showing property dimension, building location and off-street loading layouts, including existing and proposed parking and location of road access to the property is required.

The original building plans may typically be obtained from your municipalities Building Department microfilm service. Written permission from the property owner is required to obtain copies of plans from microfilm.

Step 2: Get Authorization

An "Owner Authorization" form is required by the city for you to install racking in a leased or rented property. This form authorizes an agent to represent you in all matters relating to the development planning application including applying for a building permit and completion of the project within your city. This form can be picked up at your municipalities Building Permit Department.

If you are the property owner, this is not required.

Step 3: Get a Soils Site Classification

Since January 2007, a soils Site Class is required for the design of structures per the BC Building Code. The Site Class can be researched through the building department and should list the soils engineer (geotechnical engineer) on record for the building site. If there is insufficient data on file, further soils engineering may be required to determine the Site Class. Geotechnical engineers charge for this service and pricing depends on complexity.

Step 4: Get a Slab Certification Letter

A slab certification letter may be required by the building department to complete the building permit application. The slab designer can be researched through the building department.

Arpac will provide the loading criteria to the slab designer to obtain approval for the proposed loads. Slab engineers charge for the certification of the slab. If you cannot get a Slab Certification Letter, Arpac can provide one through our Engineering Department for a fee.

Please note that professional fees related to site plan, site class and slab certification are your responsibility.

Step 5:  Have a Fire Code Review

As pallet racking may increase the height and density of storage, a “Fire Code Review” by a Fire Code Consultant will likely be required by the municipality. This review is to confirm that the sprinkler system design in use is adequate for the commodity classification of goods you store in the building.

Step 6:  Hire a Code Consultant

If you are planning a major change to your warehouse or rack system you should consider retaining a code consultant. They would be responsible for ensuring your compliance with access and egress to your building as well as the fire code. Note when you apply for a permit, associated building inspections may occur such as electrical, plumbing and/or the Fire Marshall.

Some sample documents required: (vary by cities)

With over 40 years of material handling expertise in Western Canada, we understand how important the permit approval process is for our customers. At Arpac, we have the experience and knowledge to facilitate your permit application process and submit it correctly. We will assist you in obtaining a permit with the understanding that you will provide the necessary information identified above.

If you have questions about how to apply for a permit, or need the documents necessary for your application, your Arpac Sales Representative is willing to assist you with the process. Please call 604-940-4000, or email sales@arpac.ca and ask for your local Racking Sales Representative.

Your permit can take 3-12 weeks for your local building department to process….so plan accordingly.