Guide to... Measuring Pallet Racking


When you require pallet racking, you may not require a site visit. But requesting a quotation over the phone or via email can be difficult, as terminology between manufacturers differs and you might not know how to specify what you require! Well, that's why we've created our 6 Steps to Measuring & Specifying your Pallet Racking.


Our 6 Steps to Measuring & Specifying your Pallet Racking will help you get a quick and easy pallet racking quote whether you require a new installation, reconfiguration of your existing or repairs! From identifying your racking to beams, frames and bay configuration, this will help you!



6 Steps to Measuring & Specifying your Pallet Racking

Step 1 - Identify Your Pallet Racking

Step 2 - Beam Clear Entry

Step 3 - Beam Size & Duty

Step 4 - Frame Height & Depth

Step 5 - Bay Configuration

Step 6 - Pallet Racking Configuration 

BONUS TIP - Load Notice!

Ready? Get a Quote for your Pallet Racking!


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Step 1 - Identify Your Pallet Racking

Before we can provide a quotation for your pallet racking, particularly if this is to match an existing installation, we need to identify the manufacturer of your racking installation. The best way to do this is to provide an image of the beam connecting to the upright. All racking manufacturers have a different beam connector and racking safety pins.


Step 1 - Identify your pallet racking


As an independent distributor of racking systems, we're able to work with all major UK and European manufacturers, including new installations, drive in pallet racking setups, reconfigurations, repairs and spares!


Even if you don't know the manufacturer, we will, so once you've got an image, head to Step 2.


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Step 2 - Beam Clear Entry

One of the most common replacements of pallet racking is pallet racking beams. The width of the beams is also known as "clear entry" or "bay width." Unfortunately, different manufacturers measure their clear entry differently, which is why it is important you know your racking manufacturer!


The clear entry is generally measured from the inside of the upright to inside of the upright!

Step 2 - Measure your beam entry clear

If you require a new installation of pallet racking system, the beam clear entry will be primarily determined by your pallet sizes. We can help with that!


These are some of the common beam clear entries but they can come in any size required, from 1200mm to 3900mm:

  • 2625mm clear entry
  • 2700mm clear entry
  • 3300mm clear entry


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Step 3 - Beam Size & Duty

Pallet racking beams can be designed to take varying loads. It is important that beam duty is specified correctly to take the appropriate load, which is often referred to as Universally Distributed Load (UDL) or Safe Working Load (SWL). This figure is measured as the total load per pair of beams. For example, if you have 2 pallets per beam and your pallets weigh 1000kgs each, your UDL/SWL will be 2000kgs!


When specifying new racking, by providing this information, we can determine the appropriate specification of the beam.


When providing beams for an existing installation, repairs or reconfigurations, it can be more problematic, as the configuration can affect the beam duty.


The best way to determine the beam duty is to measure the height and depth.


Step 3 - determine your beam duty


  • Height is the measurement of the front face of the beam.
  • Depth is the measurement of the top of the beam i.e. the section that the pallet sits on. 
  • Plus, we'll need to know if this is a "box section" or "open section" beam - just say if there is a gap in the bottom of the beam!


Beam duty can be from as little as 50kgs up to in excess of 5,000kgs UDL/SWL!


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Step 4 - Frame Height & Depth

Your pallet racking beams (unless for an existing installation) will be useless unless they are paired with pallet racking frames. A frame is made up of two uprights (or posts) and bracing. Your beams will connect to the frame. The frame essentially runs from front to back, whereas beams are from left to right.


Again, different manufacturers have different ways of measuring their frame depth and height. Plus, have different increments of height. The most common is multiples of 50mm or 75mm.


Your frame height is measured from the top of the base plate (what the frame sits on) to the top of the frame. The depth is measured from the outside of the post to the outside of the post.


Step 4 - measure your frame details


Your depth will be determined by the pallets used and the Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) Guidelines for pallet overhang. The depth of your racking can range from 450mm to over 1500mm in 50mm increments. The most common depths are:

  • 900mm
  • 1100mm


A useful dimension to know is the Bracing Node Pitch. This is sometimes different depending on manufacturer and the load of the racking, determined by the Bay Configuration (see Step 5).


We may also need to know the upright or post duty. Similar to beam duty this is the specification of the upright which is dependent on the load imposed. Your existing racking should have this marked on it, for example, T12, T16, M or H, depending on the manufacturer. To determine this fully, we'll need to look at your Bay Configuration in Step 5.


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Step 5 - Bay Configuration

Once we know your beam clear entry, duty and frame dimensions we now need to know how your bays are going to be configured. Depending on the UDL/SWL of your beams, the number of beam levels and depth, this will determine the duty of the upright.


A bay is defined as 2 frames plus a number of beams. A bay will then have a number of beam levels, each capable of carrying a number of pallets.


The most critical dimension of your bay configuration is the height to the first beam level. The height can affect the stability of your racking system and will, therefore, impact on the duty of the upright/post.


Step 5 - decided on your bay configuration


We then need to know the beam pitch or height to each beam level. This will be determined by your pallet height and materials handling equipment. If you let us know these details, we can help.


Alternatively, if your racking is to match an existing installation, a tape measure will be your best friend!


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Step 6 - Pallet Racking Configuration 

How your pallet racking bays are configured can impact on the specification of your racking and there are set dimensions which have to be adhered to, both with racking manufacturers and SEMA. Pallet racking can, of course, be configured as a single bay, which includes two frames and a number of beams.


Starting from a single bay, you can add additional bays in any length - as long as it doesn't exceed the length of your warehouse! You, therefore, have a Starter Bay and Add-on Bay:


Starter Bay: Consists of 2 frames and a set number of beams.

Add-on Bay: Consists of 1 frame and a set number of beams (the beams of the Add-on bay will connect to the second frame of the Starter Bay).



Confused? Read on and see the images!


When you have a single run of pallet racking bays for health and safety compliance should only be accessed from one side and is therefore common to be against a perimeter wall. This would be described as a single faced run. The image below shows a single faced run of pallet racking consisting of 3 bays (1 Start Bay and 2 Add-on Bays).


Step 6 - pallet racking configuration - single faced run of pallet racking


One of the most common configurations in a warehouse is to have two single faced runs back to back. As this can technically be accessed from either side, it would be termed as a double-faced run. The image below shows a double-faced run of 3 bays of pallet racking, which is a total of 6 bays of pallet racking.


1 double faced run of three bays of pallet racking - each bay with 3 beam levels


This may all sound confusing, and is why we offer a complimentary and free of charge space planning & design service! But we do know some customers know what they require, which is why we produced this blog to guide you through the information and dimensions we need to know! Want a quote? Click here!


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BONUS TIP - Load Notice!

To comply with SEMA Guidelines & Codes you should have a racking load notice installed on each single faced or double faced run. This gives vital information including beam & bay loading, your beam pitch and also the original installation date!


Racking Load Notice - provide this information for us to quote


This will help us identify your racking specification! By sending us an image of your load notice or providing the information on it, it will help us to provide an accurate quotation for storage systems to match your existing installations!


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