When you’re building a warehouse, safety doesn’t stop after you’ve bought your pallet racking. In many states, Illinois being one of them, a high pile storage permit is required. But what exactly is it, and why does your business need it?

Simply put, the high pile storage permit is needed for businesses and warehouses that stock inventory over a predetermined height, usually in excess of 12 feet for an area greater than 500 square feet. In order to submit an application for this permit, you’ll need to provide the city with a site plan and a floor plan. The site plan usually consists of a scaled plan showing the entire building, including the exits, fire access lanes, fire hydrants, and fire sprinkler risers. A scaled floor plan will show the location and dimensions of the high-piled storage area, locations of the racks, and access door locations. You’ll also need to provide two emergency contact numbers at the time of application.

Generally, these permits require renewal biannually. They also need to be resubmitted if any substantial changes influence the stock arrangement, or changes to the warehouse itself. Sometimes a letter of intent explaining warehouse procedures, products stored, or the evacuation plan for your company is required as well. A good rule of thumb is if anything changes at your warehouse, you’ll probably need to resubmit. If you’re not sure, call the city and ask them to go over the details on the phone or send them to you in writing.