I've had direct experience with that sort of problem, and the loads that
you are describing appear to be more than what a steel stud and GWB
interior partition would carry.
1. The partition must be attached and braced to structure above with
diagonal steel stud struts and track or steel 2" X 2" "L" shapes
attached to the structure. Check if the partition actually goes to the
slab above or if it is indeed attached to the structure above.
2. Is the partition attached to the floor? Again a steel angle pinned
to the slab and screwed to the partition hidden track. Place the "L" as
the cove base. Paint it.
3. The thin partition studs will not support the loads. They may be 22
Ga., and that has virtually no structural strength except that it is a
spacer and support for fastening the GWB. An example is that you could
quite easily fold up one of the 24 Ga. studs with your bare hands and
drop it into the office waste basket. The studs are quite often not
attached to the tracks at top and bottom, and only to the GWB with a
minimum of screws.
4. The existing studs may be placed at 16" O.C., and that, given the
strength of the studs is insufficient. The pull out strength of S.T.
screws in the 24 Ga. metal is insufficient even if the studs could carry
the load. The studs may not be spaced evenly or be vertical inside the
5. I suggest having a local black steel fabricator make some 2" X 2" X
.125" steel tube supports with bolt flanges at the bottom and bolt holes
for (two) 2" X 2" steel "L" braces at the top of each pole that are
secured to the structure above. Place them at say 2'0" or 2'6" O.C., and
ignore the partition stud spacings. The tube spacings will govern. Two
toggle bolts in pre-drilled tubes may be used to locate the tubes during
installation and to get the horiz. spacing right. Paint the tubes. (A 2"
X 4" 14 Ga. steel "C" stud that is intended for light steel structural
framing could be used, however, that doesn't have the neat appearance of
a structural steel tube.) (You may want to opt for a 2" X 3" size
structural (type of) steel tube for greater strength and less deflection.
6. Get the heavy vertical steel shelf standards that are 1" wide and
have two rows of slots for shelf brackets. Get those from, www.garcy.com
. They make quite an array of shelf brackets of different sizes and
finishes. Use S.T. screws to attach the standards to the tube supports.
Place three screw holes at the top of the standards and screw the
standards (possibly brushed & chrome plated) to the tube. If the
shelving falls the standards will pull out the top screws one by one. It
is as if the entire load is carried on the top-most screws that remain
7. Is the floor rein. concrete? Plywood? Wood boards? If boards the
floor may no be able to support the weight without considerable
deflection, and that places even greater demands on the fasteners above.
Point loads on the floor joists or between joists should be considered.
3/4" X 12" F.W. plywood or even a horiz. steel tube at the floor may be
needed to distribute the loads to the floor evenly. It may be useful to
weld 10" or 12" steel tube feet horizontally to the steel tube uprights,
and shim them as needed to get the shelf standard slots to line up
8. The shelves could be birch faced plywood with either solid or veneer
birch edge banding. Your local cabinet shop could make them and install
them. Instead of having the shelf brackets protrude at the front edge of
the shelf you may want to get the "T" type of brackets that can be
fastened to the bottoms of the shelves with screws from beneath. Use
clear sanding sealer for the finish, and no oil finish. Two 3/4" X 6'0"
long by 10" or 12" wide shelves placed end to end (or one 8'0" and one
4'0" long pieces for economy).
9. Check out the accessories for the Garcy shelves and HD standards
that are used in industry or stores.
10. If you give up you can get some Made-in-the-USA Metro-Shelving
units. They are strong and the the wire structures may be ordered with
chrome or color powder coated finished. They have quite a range of
sizes, models, and accessories. The owners of the walls of your office
may not permit any reinforced shelving, and movable Metro-Shelves would
be lots easier to install. Use a dead rubber mallet. Get the Masonite
shelf panels for use as bookshelves.
11. Make accurate drawings that show the true as-built (or existing
conditions) dimensions. Measure the off-vertical walls at the left and
right with a level, Measure the widths at the top and bottom. Bring a
scale, and measure the weight of the books, Figure the shelf, fastener,
and floor point loadings.
replying to Ralph Hertle, CruzR wrote:
The strength of the wall comes from the union of the metal studs to the drywall
(residential 1/2"; commercial 5/8"). If you check throughout the internet you
will see other folks using SNAP TOGLE BOLTS directly onto metal studs to hold
large heavy items like shelves and even commercially manufactured chin-up bars.
If anything else ask the experts at THIS OLD HOUSE.