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ANSI MH16.3-2016: Specification for the Design, Testing & Utilization of Industrial Steel Cantilevered Storage Racks

“Until 2016 there was not an RMI standard that pertained to the design of cantilevered storage racks. The creation of this standard assists Steel King, and other members of the RMI that manufacture cantilevered storage racks, in the design of it. The standard is referenced by the building codes.”

Steel King Industries, Inc., 800-826-0203,

Cantilever racks are customizable storage solutions that can accommodate materials of different sizes and types and heavy loads, like pipes, lumber and furniture. Whether light- or heavy-duty, single-sided or two-sided, cantilever racks give warehouse, distribution center and other facilities managers options that can help them store goods effectively and maximize their available space, both indoors and out. Naturally, these racks must be strong, stable and durable.

ANSI MH16.3-2016 was developed by MHI’s Rack Manufacturers Institute (RMI), which is comprised of companies that supply industrial steel storage racks and related structural systems. It is intended to provide useful information and guidance for owners, users, designers, purchasers or specifiers of material handling equipment or systems. It which was developed under the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Canvass method and approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) on Oct. 8, 2015 and represents suggested design practices and operational requirements for cantilevered storage racks.

According to ANSI, the standard is “advisory only and should only be regarded as a simple tool that its intended audience may or may not choose to follow, adopt, modify or reject.” As with all ANSI standards, this one does not constitute a comprehensive safety program and should not be relied upon as such.

What the Standard Covers

ANSI MH16.3-2016 applies to free-standing and top-tied cantilevered storage racks made of cold-formed or hot-rolled structural steel members. It also covers cantilevered storage racks with accessories, such as decked shelves, shed roofs and canopies. Applicability to cantilevered storage racks made from either hot-rolled or cold-formed steel is limited.

Included in the Standard

  • General – ANSI MH16.3-2016 provides information and recommendations about applicable design specifications; integrity of rack installations (owner maintenance: plaque: conformance: load application and rack configuration drawings: multiple configurations: small installations: column base plates, column base, column-base beams and anchor bolts: rack damage: racks connected to the building structure: plumbness tolerance: vertical tolerance of arm positions).
  • Loading – Load combinations for the ASD Method; load factors and combinations for the LRFD Method; vertical loads (free-standing cantilevered columns and top-tied cantilevered columns); impact loads (impact downward, impact upward); horizontal forces; wind loads; earthquake forces (general, equivalent lateral force method, displacement-based method: concurrent forces): snow loads: and other loads.
  • Design Procedures
  • Design Of Steel Elements And Members – Cold-formed steel columns (properties of sections; design for flexure; design for compression; built-up members from cold-formed sections; truss-type members from cold-formed sections); hot-rolled steel columns (built-up members from hot-rolled sections and truss-type members from hot-rolled sections); combined compression and bending; and column splices. Splices.
  • Cantilever Arm Design – General; analysis; bending moments; deflection and connection design.
  • Cantilever Column Design – General; effective length design method; non-top tied cross-aisle direction; top tied cross-aisle direction; down-aisle direction; alternate design method; direct analysis method; application of the direct analysis method; capacity; compression flange bracing; cross-aisle deflection; free-standing cantilevered columns; top-tied cantilevered columns; torsional restraint.
  • Cantilever Bracing Design – Brace members in the down-aisle direction and their connection to the columns.
  • Column-to-base Connections, Column Bases And Base Plates – General; connections; column base and base plates; slab and subgrade evaluation; anchor bolts (anchor bolt design and periodic inspection of anchor bolt installation).
  • Special Rack Design Provisions – Overturning
  • Test Methods – General testing procedures (Test procedure, test results evaluation); perforated stub-column test (test specimen and procedure, evaluation of test results); column-to-base connection test (strength and stiffness, test setup); cyclic test of column-to-base beam connections (general, definitions, test subassemblage requirements, essential test variables, testing procedure, material testing requirements, test reporting requirements, acceptance criteria; evaluation of test results; arm connection test (strength and stiffness, test setup; test procedure, and evaluation of test results).

For More Information

  • ANSI MH16.3-2016; Specification for the Design, Testing and Utilization of Industrial Steel Cantilevered Storage Racks can be ordered from:
  • For information about MHI’s Rack Manufacturers Institute (RMI), visit
  • Questions or suggestions intended to improve ANSI MH16.3-2016 can be sent to: MH16.3 Committee, MHI, 8720 Red Oak Blvd., Suite 201, Charlotte, NC 28217 or emailed to

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