Working with a Systems Integrator on Catwalk Racking Project

General information about project


Flue Keepers, Lighting, Sprinklers


Installation, Permitting support


Taylor, MI

Contributing Authors: Lori Palmer and Dennis Tarnowski

Concern: Subcontractor needed for several aspects of a large rack system project

A material handling systems integrator was hired to design and build a three-level catwalk racking system. As an integrator, the company oversees the entire project, including hiring all subcontractors. The integrator reached out to RCS, a trusted partner, to help with several aspects of the project, including permitting support, lighting, sprinklers, flue keepers, and installation.

Solution: Permitting Support

During the planning phase of the project, RCS identified all necessary permits as dictated by the International Code Council (ICC), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and additional regulations specific to the company’s location. This process included conducting a life safety evaluation and high pile storage report. This is a detailed report often required by municipalities that includes all life safety information, such as egress requirements, fire alarm requirements, sprinkler system criteria, and exiting requirements. These requirements are based on the commodity classification of the items being stored and the layout of the facility, among other things.

Never miss a new article

Sign up and get notified when a new article goes posted.

Once this step was completed, RCS provided the integrator with all necessary drawings and documentation. This process is particularly complex for a catwalk system due to the multiple floors and the confined space where products are stored. Additionally, storing boxes of paper documents requires an elevated level of fire safety requirements. RCS is highly experienced with detailed requirements such as these, therefore ensuring this process was as efficient as possible for the integrator.

Learn more about our warehouse racking permit support services.

Solution: Sprinklers and Flue Keepers

Through the life safety evaluation, RCS identified where all sprinklers should be placed based on NFPA-13 fire safety standards. RCS sourced all sprinklers and installers through our network of trusted subcontractors. In-rack sprinklers were installed above each catwalk level. Overhead sprinklers were installed at the ceiling level. Additionally, RCS ensured that the sprinkler system was tested as dictated by NFPA-13 requirements.

In-rack sprinkler system installed on a catwalk rack system

Flue keepers are an important part of fire safety, especially within a catwalk system since it’s a dense rack system. Flue keepers leave space within each bay for the water to flow through the system in the event of a fire. RCS included where all flue keepers were required in the rack system so that the integrator could include it on their drawings, as well as include it on the drawings submitted for permitting. Additionally, RCS supplied and installed the flue keepers.

Learn more about our warehouse sprinkler systems.

Solution: Lighting

RCS identified all necessary lighting locations, including in-rack lighting, ceiling-mounted lighting, and emergency lighting. Additionally, RCS handled all aspects of the lighting permitting process for the integrator.

LED lighting was sourced and installed by RCS for all in-rack, ceiling-mounted, and emergency lighting. All lighting meets the UL 1598 and 2108 standards. To save the company energy and money, all in-rack and ceiling-mounted lights were installed with individual motion sensors.

Emergency exit lights included exit signs and lighting fixtures. The emergency lighting includes flame rated, UV stable thermoplastic housing. The lighting is built with a 90-minute battery backup and an extra lamp in each unit so that if one goes out, the other will continue to provide illumination.

Learn more about our warehouse lighting systems.

In-rack warehouse lighting on a catwalk racking system

Solution: Rack System Installation

A catwalk system has many components that need to be expertly installed. RCS sourced a qualified installer from our network to install the catwalk system. The installer worked onsite on behalf of the integrator.

Learn more about our rack installation services.

Warehouse catwalk system with in-rack lighting and sprinklers

Working with the Integrator

As a subcontractor of the integrator, RCS provided detailed communication to the integrator’s project manager during each step of involvement. When working in the facility with the customer, RCS acted as an extension of the integrator. This ensured a seamless line of interaction for both the integrator and the customer.

Need Support for Your Rack Project?

If you need lighting, sprinklers, installation, or permitting for your rack system project, consider RCS. Our team are experts in safety, fire, and lighting regulations and best practices applicable to each material handling system and will ensure these requirements are adhered to through our full project management services. We work with end users, manufacturers, dealers, system integrators, and general contractors.

We’d appreciate the opportunity to help you further. Fill out the contact form below or call us at (630) 247-6934 to get in touch with an RCS expert. 

About RCS

We are a team of experts that thoroughly understand the requirements of material handling systems.
Combined years of experience project managing material handling systems
Combined years of experience engineering material handling systems
Combined years of experience implementing material handling system safety regulations

Contact our Experts
to get more information

Other Case studies