Designing a loading dock: the approach area

One of the most crucial factors to consider in the design phase of a loading dock is determined by the slope of the approach area. Incorrect projection of the loading dock or insufficient dimensions of the door can result in strong collisions of the truck’s upper part with the building facade. How to avoid it?

Loading dock approach area

Sloped or inclined approach areas are constructed to equalize the levels of the truck’s loading surface and the floor of the warehouse when it is either below or above the loading dock. This achieves an adequate dock height for truck loading or unloading operations while preventing the accumulation of water and debris.

What inconveniences can this inclination cause?

As the truck approaches the loading dock, the upper part of the vehicle gets closer to the building wall than the lower part, leading to a collision with the facade or the dock shelter (if present).

What would be the solution?

Since the thickness of the protective stops does not vary (around 10cm), there are two possible solutions that should be considered in the design phase:

The first solution involves establishing a slope suitable for the characteristics of the loading area, or setting back the loading dock lip to the outside enough to prevent the trailer’s upper part from impacting the building wall.

The safe projection length will be determined by the percentage of the slope converted to cm plus 10 (considering that the upper part of the truck should never approach less than 10 cm from the facade. This dimension may vary, considering the dimensions of the dock shelter).

The second solution lies in the dimensions of the door. With wider measurements, the vehicle would not impact the facade, as it would be at a higher height than that of the truck.

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