Last edited 26 Feb 2021


Racking is the term used for when buildings tilt as their structural components are forced out of plumb. This is most commonly caused by wind forces exerting horizontal pressure, but it can also be caused by seismic stress, thermal expansion or contraction, and so on.

A building’s resistance to racking is dependent on the general construction of the building as well as its size, shape and orientation to the prevailing winds.

To be able to resist the forces of high winds and safeguard against racking, a continuous load path is a construction method that secures a building from the roof to the foundation. This involves shear walls, fasteners (i.e. nails and screws), metal connectors, and framing materials. This method helps to redistribute the wind pressure from the exterior of the building to the frame and then down to the foundation.

NB Safety in the storage and handling of steel and other metal stock, second edition, published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in August 2016, defines racking as: ‘A skeleton framework of supports, of fixed or adjustable design, to support loads without the use of shelves.’

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