Mezzanine floors have become more and more popular in recent years, providing companies with an effective way of increasing the space that is available to them. In this guide, we will reveal everything you need to know about mezzanine floors.
What are Mezzanine Floors?
A mezzanine floor is an intermediate floor within a building. They tend to be used in warehouse environments as a semi-permanent structure. However, they can be found in a number of other circumstances as well. Essentially, they are going to provide extra floor space. It’s a raised platform that is usually independent of the building structure. It will be supported by adequate foundations such as racking structures and columns. Planning permission is not always needed yet approved building regulations are a must.
When are mezzanine floors most needed?
A mezzanine floor can be extremely useful in any circumstances that demand added space. This can be the answer to a number of different needs, for instance:
- Security areas for high-value items
- The creation of new boardroom areas or office spaces
- Dedicated machine operations
- Bulk storage areas
- Picking and packing
- Assembly lines
- Production areas
Typical uses for a mezzanine floor include the construction of viewing platforms within buildings and the construction of balconies in theatres. They are typically used as access platforms, enabling access between the first and ground floors while being an aesthetically pleasing part of the architecture. Below, we are going to take a look at four of the main areas of business whereby mezzanine floors have proven to be very effective.
Production – There is only one place to begin, and this is with production. Because of the flexibility of mezzanine floors, they can easily be combined with storage options, chutes, partitions, goods lifts, and conveyors. They act as an exceptional platform for manufacturing businesses to either add much-needed production space above the existing head height or to refine their production lines. A mezzanine floor will enable a business to expand internally. This means that they can boost the money that they bring in without the disruption of having to move to another premises and without the costs that are associated with this.
Retail – Retail units also make the most of mezzanine floors. They provide retail shops with additional space, meaning they can put more of their products on display for their clients. A mezzanine floor is not only used for this purpose but it can also be used to provide additional storage to the retail store as well.
Office – Aside from the examples that have already been mentioned, mezzanine floors have also been used to provide a base for the construction of an office block within a warehouse. Their cost-effective nature and their flexible column positions mean they can be combined with partition and ceiling systems with ease. They also act as a support for electrical and mechanical items.
Storage – Last but not least, there is no denying that the most common reason for turning to mezzanine floor construction is because of the extra storage space you are going to benefit from. When you use the volume of a building in this manner, mezzanine floors act as a platform for storing products or stock. They tend to be used to accommodate stock situated on shelving or pallet storage.
What can a mezzanine do for you?
A mezzanine will boost the operational efficiency of your business without the prospect of having to pay more for your rent being increased. There is also not going to be as much pressure placed on your business for expanding the footprint you are responsible for, as the floor is going to be constructed on space that you already occupy. This means that there are extra savings, which could be potentially spent on other areas of your business, such as resources and staffing. It’s a win-win for businesses. The UK Government has also been promoting the insertion of mezzanine floor structures into spaces, as a good way of promoting the maximum footprint of current space in a warehouse. The construction of a mezzanine floor is often seen as a more sustainable answer for the expansive needs of the warehouse sector at the moment.
The benefits of mezzanine floors
There are a number of different benefits that are associated with mezzanine floor construction. This includes all of the following:
- They are deemed a highly cost-effective solution when you compare this with the price of expanding your warehouse.
- You can build a mezzanine floor structure upon long-span rack and shelving support structures, which means the structure’s foundational support can act as a storage unit in itself.
- Installing a mezzanine floor provides added space that can help when it comes to the optimisation of picking operations when combined with the correct accessories to compliment, for example, gravity chutes and goods lifts.
- You can add numerous floors to structures less than 200 square metres through a mezzanine construction project without requiring additional planning permission.
Mezzanine floor design and installation
Before you build a mezzanine floor, there are a number of different factors that need to be taken into consideration. You need to make sure there is relevant safety signage for all passageways and appropriate areas, especially if there is a high volume of staff that occupy the area on a regular basis. You also need to consider fire and smoke alarms, as well as emergency lighting and fire protection. Protection from fire can include but is not limited to the following:
- Exit staircases
- Sprinkler systems
- Fascias and bulkheads
- Smoke detection systems
- Column casings
- Suspended ceilings
All of the features that have been mentioned should be considered during the planning stage. After all, they are a critical part of making sure that you adhere to the health and safety regulations that are in place.
Different types of mezzanine floor accessories
It is also important to take a look at the different accessories and components that your mezzanine floor will benefit from. This includes the following:
- Gravity chutes are able to assist with optimising product transfer between floors.
- To maximise picking operations, conveyor systems, gravity chutes, and goods lifts are the general go-to solutions. This enables you to optimise product distribution from the first to ground floor levels of the mezzanine.
- You can use the recommended P5 to P7 particle boards to equip mezzanine floor structures. These boards will provide structural stability. A galvanised steel mesh solution is another option to consider.
- It is also strongly recommended that you make the most of protective handrails and guards, along with edge of structure foot protection. These are all important when it comes to enhancing the safety of your employees.
As you can see, there is a lot that needs to be considered when it comes to mezzanine design and installation. We hope that the information in this guide has helped to give you a better understanding of the different considerations of mezzanine floors, as well as the many benefits that are associated with mezzanine floor construction. You need to make sure you choose a construction company with care if you are interested in having a mezzanine floor constructed at your premises. This is essential in ensuring the safety and efficiency of the mezzanine floor.