First, I’ll explain what a “mezzanine” level is. The Italian term mezzo, which means “middle,” is where we get our word “mezzanine.” Therefore, the mezzanine serves as a second story. A mezzanine is a second story in a commercial or industrial building, even though architects also use the term to describe upper stories in residential structures.
Examining a potential expansion site with a keen eye for design criteria compliance before breaking ground is crucial. Installing an intermediate floor if the ceiling height is more significant than 4.5 meters is permitted, but the actual depth of the building’s construction must be considered. In other words, there should ideally be at least 2 meters of unobstructed headroom above and below the mezzanine level; thus, anything more profound than 0.5 meters of construction could be problematic. Everything needed to suspend the mezzanine is included in the construction depth. The sum of the main beam and the decking typically determines the overall size. Later in the piece, I will come back to these factors.
The height is essential, but you must also consider the subfloor, such as where the mezzanine would go. The weight of the mezzanine’s columns should be no problem for this. Mezzanine levels are frequently installed on top of preexisting concrete slabs using bolting. Before installation, you must prove to the local building department, using structural calculations, that the slab can support the point loads. Core samples can be collected from the slab and ‘crush’ tested to assess the concrete’s physical strength when construction details are unavailable.
You can start planning a mezzanine for your space once you’ve determined its appropriate size and layout. The first consideration is the distance between the columns (or supporting pillars). The maximum allowable load down a column and any obstacles in the way (such as floor joints, machines, doors, etc.) will be determined by the results of the slab calculation. If there is no furniture or other obstructions in the way, you may want to consider designing the mezzanine floor from a cost-savings perspective by arranging the columns in the most efficient way possible. Different manufacturers may use different standard sizes for economically viable designs, although a 4-meter grid pattern in both directions is one famous example.
Mezzanine floors can be decked with various materials, the most common of which is chipboard. Chipboard isn’t a good choice in some settings, including those with high point loads or extreme humidity. Durbar and chequer plates are two more flooring designs that are hard yet noisy and costly. Light can easily pass through open grates, but the drawbacks of noise and difficulty with picking carts remain.
Securing the mezzanine’s exposed edges or those that aren’t flush with a wall is essential. Handrails are the most typical solution for this problem. A railing isn’t enough protection. Therefore you need also to install a knee rail and a toe rail so you don’t kick anything. It’s essential to follow the rules when installing a railing.
Although there are several options for employees to get up to the mezzanine, the most common is to take the stairs. One access point should be located next to a stairway that complies with Part K (Fire escape) or Part M (Ambulant) of the building rules. Landings at the top and bottom of a staircase allow for directional changes and the splitting of longer ascents or descents on exceptionally tall buildings.
With more than 15 years of expertise, Adam Jagger is a dedicated professional who knows his way around every storage system (Pallet Racking, Shelving, Pushback Pallet Racking, Mezzanine Floors, etc.) in the United Kingdom.