WAREHOUSE STORAGE MEZZANINE DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS

Our comprehensive guide to getting the right warehouse storage solution

If you need to expand and improve your business space without the high costs associated with moving to larger premises or a traditional construction project, obtaining the right warehouse storage mezzanine design can deliver everything you need – and more.

Here’s our expert guide to helping you acquire the best possible warehouse storage solution for your unique requirements. 

THE BENEFITS & FLEXIBILITY OF BESPOKE STORAGE MEZZANINE DESIGN

If you’re running out of storage space in your warehouse, a storage mezzanine offers a cost-effective means of increasing space, and improving organisation and access. Therefore, not only does it allow you to grow without the disruption of traditional construction or a move, but it also allows you to create a flow within your warehouse operations that will enhance productivity and the overall working environment. 

There’s a lot to consider when putting your storage mezzanine design together – but we always like to encourage our clients to see it as an adventure rather than a daunting task! It’s exciting to see their ideas fall into place and recognise the complete flexibility of a storage mezzanine. 

If you work with the team here at Nexus, we’ll be with you at every step to listen, advise and guide the full design process – but this guide will help any business considering a warehouse mezzanine solution to start formulating their vision.

Storage Mezzanine
Warehouse Mezzanine
Additional Storage Space On Mezzanine
Storage Space on Mezzanine

PALLETS OR SHELVING?

This decision is key, as a lot of the mezzanine specifications will hang on load bearing weights, and the rest of the design and calculations need to be assessed around the type of storage you want for your mezzanine floor.

DESIGNING FOR PALLETS

Typical pallet configurations are a standard, cost-effective pallet measuring 1200x1000mm or a Euro pallet measuring 1200x800mm. If the products due to be stored on the pallets have an overhang, this also needs to be considered.

To design the mezzanine floor we – or your chosen mezzanine partner – also need to know the height of the pallet including the product. This will allow us to specify the correct pallet gate for the loading and unloading of materials.

Mezzanine floors are typically designed to store pallets that weigh 500kg, which essentially means you can store a pallet weighing 500kg for every square metre of the mezzanine floor.

Mezzanine floors can also be designed to accommodate heavier pallets – up to a ton in weight – although this will depend on the warehouse concrete slab. We’ll also need to know if you’re planning on using electric pallet trucks in order to accommodate for the additional weight. 

DESIGNING FOR SHELVING

If the mezzanine floor installation is required in order to cater for additional shelving, this changes the way it needs to be designed. 

A shelving bay typically sits on four legs, which creates a point load on the mezzanine floor itself. In order to ensure the mezzanine is designed to take the weight of the shelving bay, we need to know the width and depth of the shelving bay, along with the number of shelf levels and the weight of the products that will be stored on each shelf level. 

During the process of designing your mezzanine storage solutions, your provider should always incorporate the shelving layout into the design, ensuring that the legs of the shelving sit directly onto a purlin. 

If this is not the case, the shelving can penetrate through the mezzanine decking (which is 38mm thick chipboard) – so it’s a pretty essential design element to consider from the start!

Storage Mezzanine Loading
Pallet Gate On Mezzanine

IS YOUR STORAGE MEZZANINE FOR AN EMPTY OR POPULATED WAREHOUSE?

In order to get a functional, practical and workable storage mezzanine design for your warehouse, we’ll need to know whether the premises are already populated and in use, or if it’s to increase space in an empty facility.

STORAGE MEZZANINE OVER EXISTING FACILITIES

If you’ve already got a working warehouse, the column layout will vary when compared to designing for an unpopulated space, as we’ll need to build the design around your existing facilities. Therefore, in these cases, the column grid has to be a bespoke solution and designed on a project-by-project basis.

A comprehensive survey of the existing footprint must be undertaken before the design process can begin, allowing the mezzanine to be planned around the existing structure and facilities. The great news is that mezzanine floors are very flexible and columns can be hidden in and around the existing layout. 

Because these are bespoke projects, a full site survey is required in order to provide a quotation. It’s worth noting that due to its more complex nature, this type of warehouse storage solution is typically more expensive than a floor with a standard column grid – but rest assured that it still offers outstanding value for money.

The idea of this may be a little overwhelming – but remember that with the support of our team or your chosen partner, you’ll have a designer on hand to make sure you still get the most suitable results despite any existing constraints. 

STORAGE MEZZANINE IN AN EMPTY WAREHOUSE

If you’ve just started a business or have moved premises and you have an empty warehouse ready for you to put your mark on it and make it work for you, then congratulations! Not only is your business taking off or growing, but you’ve also had the foresight to recognise that a mezzanine floor will allow you to double or triple that space!

If the storage mezzanine is to be installed into a new or empty warehouse, you have the benefit of even more design flexibility. Working from a blank slate means your mezzanine doesn’t need to be designed to accommodate existing machinery, shelving, offices or production lines on the floor below – so it can be designed with a uniform column grid.

This is the most cost-effective way of designing a storage mezzanine floor as the bay sizes can be consistent, allowing all the main beams and purlins to be the same size. 

In fact, designing a storage mezzanine for an empty warehouse reduces both manufacturing and installation costs, as all the components are the same size and the area is clear for installation. The most cost-effective column grid sizes are 5000x4000mm or 6000mmx5000mm – but your designer will help you to understand this in context and enable you to make the right choices.

Warehouse Storage Mezzanine
VEKA Storage Mezzanine Floor

MEZZANINE FLOOR COLUMN GRID SIZES

Typically mezzanine floor grids are designed within a 6000x5000mm configuration (or a variation within these figures). If you exceed this size grid it can be questionable that the warehouse concrete slab would be capable of taking the load down the columns.

If the floor isn’t adequate, it’s possible to overcome this by ‘piling’ the existing concrete floor, which means re-enforcing the floor with additional concrete so that it can take the load. However, as this option can be expensive it’s generally better to try and design the floor within the warehouse floor’s capabilities.

It’s also possible to design storage mezzanines with 14000mm spans, avoiding the need for any central columns if they’ll cause an obstruction. The imposed loading on top of the floor can also affect column grid size: a mezzanine floor designed to take 300kg per square metre can be designed with a larger column grid than a floor with 500kg per square metre for example.

Underneath Mezzanine Floor
Mezzanine Staircase

LOADING & UNLOADING

The next aspect of your warehouse storage mezzanine design to think about is how you plan to load and unload your parts or products.

PALLET GATE

Pallet gates are the most popular loading option for mezzanine floors, creating a permanent edge between the operative and the edge of the mezzanine floor, making it ultra-safe to load/unload pallets while also being very cost-effective.

The pallet gates can be designed to suit a range of pallet sizes and can be an up-and-over style, which relies on the operative manually moving the pallet gate up and down, or alternatively a pulley-style pallet gate which is suitable for higher pallets.

CONVEYORS

If you run an e-commerce business or deal in shipping products out to your customers, gravity-fed conveyors or automatic conveyors are a great way to move your stock from a mezzanine floor.  These conveyors can really help to speed up efficiency in your picking and packing processes.

Another benefit of incorporating conveyor systems into your mezzanine storage design is that they also allow movement of small components or boxes from the mezzanine floor without having to load full pallets at a time, accelerating productivity.

LIFTS

Another option for loading and unloading products are goods lifts. While they’re a more expensive solution than pallet gates or conveyors, they allow the movement of pallets to and from the mezzanine floor without the need of a fork lift truck. 

Lifts can offer lots of flexibility for your operations, as they can be designed to access multiple levels on the mezzanine floor and can also be designed to accommodate for a range of pallet sizes and weights. All of these options will be discussed with you during the design process.

Mezzanine Pallet Gate
Production Area With Products on Conveyor Belts

STORAGE MEZZANINE DESIGN & BUILDING REGULATIONS

Another crucial stage of creating your warehouse storage mezzanine design is ensuring that it will meet building regulations. Here are some of the things we need to consider when helping you to create your ideal solution – and remember, with our expert guidance, you can be confident that everything will be designed in line with regulations.

STAIRCASES

The size of the mezzanine floor and the distance to a fire escape will determine how many staircases need to be incorporated into your design. By identifying the best positions, we can reduce the number of staircases you need, thus leaving more space for storage. 

Storage mezzanines of up to 20 metres can usually be designed with a single staircase. However, if the distance is over 40 metres, we can potentially overcome this by enclosing the staircase within a fire enclosure, typically designed from a stud and track partitioning system which offers the fire protection required.

FIRE PROTECTION

Depending on the size, use or specifications of the mezzanine design, it may need to be fire-rated to meet building control regulations. This is achieved by installing column cases, fascia to the exposed edges and a suspended ceiling to the underside of the floor.

In the event of a fire, these protect the mezzanine steel and allow the structure to stand for an hour before any form of collapse. If the mezzanine takes over 50% of the building, exceeds 20 metres in one direction or is designed for people to work permanently below or above, the mezzanine floor will generally require fire protection.

ELECTRICS & FIRE ALARM SYSTEMS

To comply with building regulations the mezzanine floor will require lighting both above and below – this includes emergency lighting, installed to light the way to a fire exit in the case of a power failure. The type of lighting required will depend on usage, but for general storage purposes the mezzanine floor will be designed with fluorescent light fittings providing a lux (brightness level) of 200-300lux.

If computers are in use, building control will specify a higher lux (400-500lux) which is the minimum requirement for brightness when working with computers. The general fitting used is an LED panel system which fits into the suspended ceiling grid.

Mezzanine Floor Staircase In Warehouse
Mezzanine Floor Handrail

FROM DESIGN TO BUILD - OUR DEDICATED PROCESS

Hopefully this guide to designing your mezzanine warehouse storage solution has helped you to start thinking about the various considerations you need to make in order to help us, or your chosen mezzanine specialist, to deliver the very best outcome possible. 

In order to help our clients understand the full process and keep track of things, we’ll not only work with you through every stage of the design, but we’ll also take all the stress away by delivering our services in line with our tried, tested and proven process, Nexsteps™. 

Health and safety is always our highest priority, and to minimise disruption to your business activities, we’ll happily arrange to complete your mezzanine installation out of working hours if needed.

As part of your journey to a more suitable workspace, you need to appoint a principal designer and contractor to ensure you’re meeting your legal obligations. Luckily we have vast experience in acting as both – just follow the link for more information. 

The most important thing to remember is that you’ll never be left to make these decisions alone. Having completed hundreds of mezzanine floor installations over the years, our experts will guide you through every step and answer any questions you have to help you get an outstanding storage solution for your warehouse. 

Mezzanine Floor In Warehouse
Storage Area On Mezzanine

SPEAK TO A STORAGE MEZZANINE DESIGN EXPERT

We hope our guide has got your imagination working as you start to envisage your new, improved warehouse. Storage mezzanine design and build is one of our key specialisms, so if you’d like any further advice or information, please get in touch and one of our experts will be happy to help.

Storage Mezzanine Design Expert