Loading dock design and Planing / Loading dock design guide :

Loading dock design and planing


Dor Dok Systems, offers full service to our architect, developer, and design build customers. Our strength is knowing the application and optimizing the loading dock. Our planning standards cover the most in depth criteria of the customers business, environment, and traffic conditions to utilize the proper loading dock and door equipment. Our Priority One Specified Equipment Program allows you, the customer to have a hands on effort in specifying the design and selection of theLoading dock equipment and specialty doors for your project. We assist you in determining the needed specifications to get the best equipment for your specialized application. We start by focusing on the basics: Proper planning saves time, reduces capital costs and eliminates the need for future retrofits or upgrades. And proactive maintenance plan can be scheduled and predictable so downtime is minimal.

  • Volume
  • Weights
  • Traffic Type
  • Safety Preferences/Requirements
  • Approach
  • Industry
  • Affiliations/Inspections

Enter the project knowing it will be built with your total needs/preferences in mind:

  • Ensure Proper capacities
  • Ensure Proper energy savings
  • Ensure No short cuts
  • Loading Dock Access, Loading Dock Planning and Design:

The Following information is a guideline for applying truck service to the loading dock area to insure proper design, safety and service to your loading dock area. Apply proper “  Traffic Engineering design standards ” and compliance with local codes.

  • Property gates

Suggested minimum width at gates leading into approach roadways is 16′ to 20′ for one way traffic, 30′ to 32′ for two way traffic, and 38′ if pedestrian walkway is to be included.

  • Roadway Approach

Trucks should be permitted to drive in rather than back in. Straight through, “Y” or angle approaches should be considered depending on traffic volume estimates.

If mixed passenger car and pedestrian traffic is involved in the approach, suitable separation and safety precautions should be planned for.

  • Yard Approach

Service roads for one  way truck traffic should be a minimum of 14′ wide for two way traffic no less than 26′ wide. If pedestrians are to be accommodated, there should be an additional 6′ lane separated from the roadway by a physical barrier.

If a right angle intersection is required, a 50′ radius should be planned for commercial vehicles.

The design of approach roadways should also allow for counterclockwise traffic circulation since it is easier for drivers to make left-hand turns and to back trailers into a dock from this position.* NOTE: Traffic directions and illustrations on this website are based on trucks with left-hand drive.

The configuration of the area required to maneuver and position trailers into place is called the apron space. Planning apron space requires recognizing trailer movement and the amount of room it takes to achieve that movement.

Traffic flow and vehicle length are key factors for consideration [ If a truck with an overall length of 65′ requires a minimum apron space of 135′ ] .

If the area is to be surfaced with asphalt, a concrete landing strip must be poured. In warm temperatures, the landing strip will prevent the trailer’s landing gear from sinking into the asphalt when spotted. Typical position of semi-truck landing gear is 120″ behind the nose of the trailer. Gravel-covered apron space should be avoided because it creates uneven, unsafe conditions.

Unless docks are designed to handle peak loads, provision must be made for a truck waiting area. This should be placed so that the trucks in this area do not interfere with trucks maneuvering into or pulling away from the dock.

  • Pavement Surfaces

These surfaces should be specified to be evenly laid and structurally sound to support heavy wheel loads. All roadway surfaces should be slightly crowned and properly equipped with drainage outlets.

Loading Dock Type :

Flush Loading Dock Design

Flush docks are in most common use today. Here the face of the dock (foundation) is flush with the outside wall of the building. To prevent wall damage and protect dock seals (if used) on a level approach it is recommended that the foundation/dock bumper extend 4″ beyond the outside wall. NOTE: If building wall projects beyond the dock face additional foundation/bumper projection is required.

Enclosed Loading Dock

Enclosed docks are generally used when climate control, product protection, security, and overhead lift capabilities are required. They are not a common choice due to high construction costs and vehicle exhaust pollution considerations.

Open Loading Dock

Open docks, although they may be a necessary alternative in some cases, are not generally recommended because of their weather exposure and susceptibility to pilferage. In all cases these docks should be provided with a canopy. And in situations where canopies are planned over docks on sloped grades, the height of the canopy must be calculated to accommodate the height of the sloped trailer.

Depressed Loading Dock/ Declined Approach

Depressed docks with slope driveways are used where building construction eliminates basements and dock level floors. Caution must be exercised in planning the grade of the driveway. It should not exceed 10% in order that the top of the truck will not hit the wall of the building, cargo topple, or that pull-away traction problems result in ice or snow conditions.

Saw Tooth Loading Dock

Saw tooth docks present a design solution to situations where apron space is limited, however they reduce useable dock space.

Things to consider for Operational aspect and safety :


Loading docks must be located for easy access by service vehicles and should be separate from public entrances to the building, public spaces, and other light industrial or warehouse zones. Loading docks must be convenient to freight elevators so that service is segregated from the main passenger elevator lobbies and public corridors. The service route from the elevator should accommodate the transport of large items

Accommodating Vehicles:

Loading docks must accommodate vehicles used to deliver or pick up materials from the building. If the bed height of vans and trucks varies more than 18 inches, at least one loading dock should be equipped with a dock leveler. Typical docks are built 55 inches above grade level to accommodate most trucks.


Each truck position should be equipped with adjustable lighting fixtures for the illumination of the interior of trailers.

Edge guards and dock bumpers:

Loading docks should be protected with edge guards and dock bumpers.

Exterior doors:

Easy access overhead coiling doors are preferred for loading docks. These doors should be able to close completely and lock after business hours. At least one well lit personnel door should be provided in addition to the overhead doors.

Noise exposure :

Noise reductions in the dock and noise transmission out of the dock are different design considerations. Mass and limpness/flexibility are two desirable attributes for a sound transmission barrier. Unpainted heavy masonry walls provide mass. Absorptive acoustical surfacing will reduce the noise level in the dock but will have little effect on the transmission outside it. Noise levels in the dock should be moderated to promote communication among users.

Storm Water Management :

The truck’s approach to the dock should be at grade or sloped away from the loading dock to prevent the collection of storm water management

Locally owned and operated in Houston, TX  call us today Phone : [ 512] 814 – 8840 .

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