MEZZANINE FLOOR
FAQ'S

We answer all the important questions you may have when looking to implement a mezzanine floor solution into your warehouse premises.

WHAT IS A MEZZANINE FLOOR?

Mezzanine floors have become a very popular solution for businesses looking to create or expand their existing office, storage or production space within their warehouse premises. 

Due to their cost effective and quick to install nature, businesses up and down the country are taking advantage of the benefits that installing a mezzanine floor brings. As long as they have the required head height of course.

The free standing steel structures are a very versatile solution. There are a vast number of ancillaries available such as staircases, handrails, partitioning, pallet gates and so much more, allowing you to create whatever workspace facilities your business requires.

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Office, Storage & Production Mezzanine Floor in Warehouse
Mezzanine Floor For Storage Use With Staircase

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A MEZZANINE FLOOR?

The benefits of mezzanine flooring are twofold; space and cost. By installing a mezzanine floor, you can potentially double (or triple) your existing workspace without having to rent or purchase additional premises.

A mezzanine floor could also save you money in terms of business rates, depending on the use of your mezzanine floor. This could mean that you can gain additional space without an increase in rates. For further information on this, you should consult your local authority, to determine whether a mezzanine floor would incur additional business rates.

The most common use of a mezzanine floor has been within the warehouse and distribution sector. Allowing companies to increase storage, production and manufacturing facilities at a fraction of the cost of purchasing or leasing a larger warehouse. 

In recent years due to the introduction of building rates on empty industrial units, developers are no longer building speculative office space. Often an industrial unit comes with a small office and WC facilities. Occupiers are expected to build their own office requirements and mezzanine floors are an ever-increasing popular solution to achieve this.

They offer flexibility that traditional block and beam solutions do not. They are adaptable, cost effective, and very quick to install. Not only that, but stud and track partitioning systems, kitchens, office space, reception areas and meeting space can be created easily and cost effectively too.

Warehouse Operatives Working Below A Mezzanine Floor
Storage Mezzanine Floor In Warehouse

HOW MUCH ROOM DO I NEED?

The minimum head required from a building perspective is 2000mm on both floors, but this would be incredibly tight. It may be suitable for a storage mezzanine but ideally head heights of 2300mm and above are more comfortable. 

In general terms, you will need to have available head room of 5000mm or more if you wish to install a mezzanine floor.  The column grid and construction depth of the steel will determine if a mezzanine floor is suited to your situation. Small column grids will generally have shallower steel sections. You can also potentially reduce the construction depth of the floor by applying intumescent paint to the beams and installing the fire protection for the floor (suspended ceiling) into the web of the shell.

However it’s best to just give us a call and arrange a site survey, to allow us to give you an accurate solution for your situation.

Two Storey Office Block Mezzanine In Warehouse
Mezzanine Floor, Staircase and Pallet Gate

HOW MUCH DOES A MEZZANINE FLOOR COST?

Mezzanine floors are often bespoke structures and therefore it is difficult to determine a price for you, without knowing more details about the project. Due to your specific needs, you may need to consider the price of partitioning, carpets & vinyl, electrics, plumbing etc.

The design of a mezzanine floor is also dictated by UK building control. Travel distances to fire escapes, the size of the building and the use of the mezzanine floor are all factors that need considering when designing and installing a mezzanine floor. 

All these considerations affect the overall cost of the project. However,  mezzanine floors certainly represent great value for money, especially when you weigh up the alternative options. The cost of a mezzanine floor per square metre will range in price, from around £75 to £120 depending on its use.

When you compare that to the cost of moving premises, having a mezzanine floor fitted could be up to 80% cheaper!

Office Fit Out Breakout Area
Office Fit Out Breakout Space

WHAT IS THE MEZZANINE STRUCTURE CONSTRUCTED OF?

Mezzanine floors are primarily a steel based construction that provides an intermediate floor within a building to be used for office, storage, production or other facilities. The steel structure is made up of;

  • The main steels (primary beams) which are the main support of the mezzanine, spanning across the columns and providing the primary support for the secondary purlins. 
  • The columns, which are designed to support the primary beams and everything to be situated on top. These come complete with base plates, which help to spread the load into the warehouse slab below.
  • The purlins, which will vary in thickness depending on the weight load on top of the mezzanine. These provide fixing points for the floor decking to be installed on top.
  • Mezzanine bracing is installed to ensure that the structure is stable. They are either installed in the form of a cross brace that goes from column to column or a stub brace, which is fastened half way up the column and fastened to the floor.

Finishing off the basic structure of a mezzanine floor is the mezzanine decking. This is generally made out of a floor grade chipboard and sometimes it’s over-boarded with materials such as chequer plate or hardboard plywood, to provide further protection depending on the floors use.

Mezzanine floors are a versatile solution and they can be utilised for numerous facilities. Therefore there are a number of ancillaries available depending on the use of the mezzanine floor. These include various types of staircase, handrail, pallet gate and partitioning options. 

For mezzanine floors that meet certain thresholds in regards to the UK fire regulations, they will also require fire protection to be installed. This generally includes the installation of a suspended ceiling, column cases and a fascia to the exposed edges.

Underneath Mezzanine Floor
Mezzanine Floor Purlins

MEZZANINE FLOOR CAPITAL ALLOWANCES - DOES IT QUALIFY?

Mezzanine flooring is a very grey area from a capital allowances perspective. There are a couple of tests which HMRC look at, in order to ascertain the success or failure of mezzanine floors for capital allowances:

1.        Business Use Test

2.        Premises Test

For the Mezzanine floor to be considered plant for the purposes of capital allowances, the key will be what the mezzanine floor is used for. Two factors that will influence the decision to allow the mezzanine floor to be considered plant for capital allowances are:

The Floors Function: Is the mezzanine used solely for storage purposes and plays an active function in the course of trade? Is access to the mezzanine floor generally limited to staff only?

Structural Design:  Does the mezzanine retain a distinct and separate entity from the surrounding structure? Would the structure around the mezzanine flooring be complete without them? Can the mezzanine floor be removed easily without altering the building it’s situated within?

What this means is that for a mezzanine floor to qualify for capital allowances, it must meet the requirements of being a storage system. Mezzanine floors that are used for other business purposes or widely accessible to the public are unlikely to be allowable for capital allowances.

This is however a grey area and HMRC are likely to request evidence to support any capital allowance claim on mezzanine flooring, such as; photographs, drawings and specifications.

We feel that it’s probably best to approach your mezzanine floor project with the likelihood that your mezzanine floor won’t enable you to qualify for capital allowances. That way you know what your budget is and there won’t be any nasty surprises, only potentially a pleasant one.

Pallet Gate On Storage Mezzanine Floor
Space On Top Of Storage Mezzanine Floor

HOW LONG WILL A MEZZANINE FLOOR SURVEY TAKE?

The length of a mezzanine floor survey is dependent on the size of the floor and the scale or complexity of the project. For small mezzanines, the survey can be completed within a couple of hours, but for large mezzanine floor projects it can take an entire day. Generally we need to discuss the project with you for an hour or so and then we can be left alone to complete the survey.

Key factors that determine the length of the survey

  • Is the area clear and free from obstruction? In a new industrial unit the survey can be completed a lot quicker than in a pre-existing, busy warehouse environment.
  • Are there additional items that need surveying that impact the mezzanine floor design? Machinery, packing stations or shelving/racking that need to be surveyed and incorporated into the design?

Prior to the survey it will be helpful if you can arrange the following:

  • Provide any existing as built floor plans in PDF or AutoCAD format (These potentially alleviate the need for our survey, particularly for new industrial units).
  • Gather all the relevant decision makers who can impact the design or requirements.
  • Ensure access is available to all mechanical and electrical services. Plant rooms to access distribution boards, Boilers, incoming supplies etc).
  • Provide information of what the mezzanine floor is to be used for. If it’s for production or storage space, please provide information regarding what will be situated on top of the mezzanine and their sizes, such as Pallet sizes, racking bay sizes, shelf levels, weight per shelf etc.
  • Provide any asbestos reports if the building was built pre the year 2000.
  • Provide slab details (if available). We need to know the slab depth and ground bearing pressure before constructing any mezzanine floor.
  • If the area is pre occupied, we need to be able to survey the perimeter of the space. Ensuring the perimeter is as clear as possible will speed up the survey and allow us to survey the space accurately
  • Create a brief, providing a description of your basic requirements.
Open Plan Office Space
Office Fit Out With Desks and Partitioning

HOW DO YOU DESIGN A MEZZANINE TO FIT INTO MY BUILDING?

Because every building is different and every client has their own criteria, every mezzanine floor is a bespoke solution. A thorough site survey and analysis will be carried out to identify where the mezzanine floor will be situated and how the columns will be incorporated into the existing structure.

Sometimes columns can be hidden in the walls of the spaces being created below the mezzanine or they may be integrated into an existing shelving layout for example. Whatever your specific requirements, our experienced designers will work closely with you to create a floor plan that will fit your exact needs, ensuring that it is entirely fit for purpose. 

The goal of the mezzanine floor design is to make the floor as inconspicuous as possible in relation to the column layout. Everyone wants to avoid unnecessary columns, and a good mezzanine designer can figure out a solution with minimum impact to the floor space.  

One area for consideration is the capability of your warehouse floor slab. This information should be available to you in your building’s operation and maintenance pack. If you can dig out this information, it will allow the designer to maximise the column grid to suit the integrity of your warehouse floor. It is worth digging out this information as this is the only way to design a column grid that has the minimum impact on your floor space.

Office Mezzanine Floor Fit Out With Staircase and Handrail
Office Fit Out Partitioning & Furniture

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO INSTALL A MEZZANINE FLOOR?

On average, the lead time from signing off drawing designs to the delivery of your mezzanine floor will take around four to five weeks, so about four to six or seven weeks from point of order.

Our mezzanine flooring installation team can fit approximately 100 square metres per day, so you can work out roughly how long the installation process will take depending on the footprint of your mezzanine. If your mezzanine floor requires fire rating, this will also take around the same amount of time on top of that. 

If you are looking to use your mezzanine floor for office use, the install time will be increased in line with the complexity of your build. Generally speaking the mezzanine floor is one of the quickest parts of the build when implementing an office mezzanine floor project. 

A small to medium office mezzanine floor generally takes 8-12 weeks to complete, whereas large projects can range from 16-24 weeks depending on their complexity. All the works for your project will be detailed in a programme of works that will give you a start and end date, before we commence.

Storage Mezzanine With Pallet gate In Warehouse
Production Mezzanine Floor

WHAT DOES FIRE RATING MEAN?

Sometimes a mezzanine floor needs to be fire rated, this will depend on its intended use and is a legal building regulation that must be complied with. Fire rating a mezzanine floor involves the installation of a suspended floor on the underside and protecting columns and fascia’s with a plastisol material. 

Any floor that has people working permanently below or above the mezzanine floor will require fire protection. The purpose of fire protection is to ensure the structure can survive a fire for a minimum of 60 minutes allowing people to safely leave the mezzanine floor in the event of a fire. Sometimes building control also stipulate fire protected staircases, although this is generally applicable to large projects. 

Another fire regulation is the presence of smoke detection underneath the mezzanine floor. This is achieved by the installation of smoke detectors that are linked to your fire alarm and they act as an early detection system in case of a fire and alert people to leave the floor. 

Mezzanine flooring that’s been constructed for storage use generally doesn’t require fire rating, however if the floor totals 50% or more of your building’s overall footprint or runs for a length of over 20 metres in any direction, this exclusion may not apply and you may still be required to have your mezzanine fire rated. These regulations are designed to ensure the safety of your staff and visitors and must be adhered to.

Mezzanine Floor in Gym
Pallet Gate On Mezzanine

CAN MY MEZZANINE FLOORING BE RE-INSTALLED INTO NEW PREMISES?

Mezzanine floors are always a bespoke solution. Because they are specifically designed to suit the premises they were originally intended for. However, if it’s a fairly straightforward design, you may be able to take it with you, providing your new building has a layout that will support it being installed in exactly the same way.

The more complicated your mezzanine floor design is, the less likely that you’ll be able to move it to a new building.  Although due to the versatility of a mezzanine floor new components can be designed and added to the design to make it work in your new space. Other elements of the mezzanine floor such as lighting, suspended ceilings, partitions can be dismantled and re-utilised also. 

If you anticipate the need for the relocation of your mezzanine floor in the future, it is best to bring this up in a conversation with the designer so that materials with the most flexibility can be specified for your project.

Mezzanine Staircase
Mezzanine Handrail

WHAT ABOUT ELECTRICS WHEN I HAVE A MEZZANINE FLOOR FITTED?

When you have a mezzanine floor fitted, you’ll need to have lighting and smoke detectors built-in underneath. If your mezzanine flooring is fitted with a suspended ceiling for fire rating purposes, we generally install modular fittings within this element. 

Where there is no suspended ceiling, we usually hang fluorescent fittings from the purlins. Typical lux levels required under mezzanine flooring are 200 lux when used for storage and 500 lux for office and production purposes.

With relation to mezzanine floors that are used for office purposes, we have a range of suitable fittings from LED panels (for offices) to circular LED fittings for reception/kitchen/WC areas. We also have a wide range of pendant fittings available to improve the aesthetic of meeting spaces and reception areas. 

Due to the construction of a mezzanine floor, they are perfect to house the electrical cabling within the construction void. This also allows a great opportunity to install floor boxes on the first floor. Power and data can be designed to sit directly under desk positions ensuring cable management is maximised. 

Often in production or manufacturing facilities, we utilise the mezzanine columns directly by fixing power and data points to them, allowing easy distribution of power and data to nearby machines. 

To comply with building regulations we include in our proposal all emergency fittings, running man legends and break glasses to ensure you comply. At the end of the project you’ll receive a certificate from our electrician stating our installation has been fitted and tested correctly.

Office Space Below A Mezzanine Floor
Office Breakout Area with Kitchen Facilities On Mezzanine

HOW MUCH WEIGHT CAN A MEZZANINE FLOOR TAKE?

In order to determine the maximum weight your mezzanine can take, we need to obtain the information regarding your current warehouse slab. This information should be contained within your operations and maintenance manual for the building. If you don’t have this information to hand, its worth contacting your landlord of the company that originally built the facility. 

If you don’t have access to slab details, a core test may be required. This will involve a company attending site to take small samples of the floor (generally three or four small holes are drilled into the floor). Once this sample is taken, it’s then sent to a structural engineer to work out the slabs capacity. This information is required from a building control perspective, but it also allows us to work out your maximum loads and then design a column grid that maximises your ground floor column grid.

A standard mezzanine floor for office use is designed to take 360kg per square metre (3.6kn/m2), with storage and production mezzanine flooring being built to hold up to 500 kg per square metre (4.8kn/m2).

Mezzanine flooring can accommodate shelving, racking, office furniture and equipment or even a half ton pallet loaded onto a pallet truck. But we will need to know exactly what you intend to use it for to ensure that the design is appropriate and can support the weight load required.

It’s even possible to design a mezzanine floor that will take a ton per square metre, which is useful if you need to install heavy machinery. However, this will usually require alterations to be made to the existing concrete floor.

Breakout Area With Tables And Chairs
Breakout Island in Office Space

ARE MEZZANINE FLOORS SUBJECT TO BUILDING REGULATIONS?

Just as with any other building work, mezzanine flooring must conform to current UK building regulations. To ensure that your mezzanine floor complies with these regulations, we work closely with an approved building inspector. By doing this, it allows us to ‘pre-approve’ your mezzanine floor application and begin construction as soon as the building notice has been submitted and acknowledged. This process usually takes about a week. 

Upon completion of your mezzanine floor installation, the inspector will visit your premises to ensure that it has been built with the agreed plans in mind and they’ll sign it off and issue you with your certificate.

For mezzanine floors that are required to be fire rated, the building inspector will also be accompanied by a fire officer, who will check that the structure complies with fire safety regulations.

Office Space With Desk And Chairs
Meeting Room Partitioning

WHAT BUILDING REGULATIONS SHOULD MY MEZZANINE FLOOR MEET?

It’s very unusual for a mezzanine floor to require planning permission, but it’s vital that they meet the relevant building regulations; BS5950 part 1 and BS6399 part 5. These regulations cover important safety features such as fire escapes, fire protection, and smoke detectors.

Building control can be a complex subject. It’s imperative that the scheme is designed correctly from the off so that you can get an accurate quotation for your project and ensure that upon completion of the project there are no nasty surprises. The more complex your project, the more imperative it is, that the scheme is pre-approved by an inspector. Incidentally, all our schemes are pre-approved by an inspector.

We have the experience and expertise when it comes to ensuring we meet the appropriate building regulations for mezzanine floor projects. No matter if you require additional office, storage or production space, when you use Nexus for your mezzanine flooring requirements, we guarantee that we’ll always comply with these regulations.

Office Mezzanine Floor In Warehouse
Production Mezzanine In Warehouse

WHAT IS A PRINCIPAL DESIGNER?

For any construction project that involves more than one contractor, it’s a legal requirement that you, the client, formally appoints a Principal Designer for your project. Now this may sound scary but it’s for a very good reason. It’s to ensure the health and safety of both your employees and our installation team.

The main role of a Principal Designer is to make sure all building regulations and health and safety requirements are adhered to within the design of your new mezzanine floor solution. They must also consider how the new facilities will be accessed from a maintenance perspective once it’s complete.

Once you have vetted your chosen Principal Designer, you need to formally appoint them in writing. Luckily for you we have vast experience with acting as a Principal Designer on numerous mezzanine floor projects over the last decade. For more information on your duties as a client in relation to appointing a Principal Designer click here.

Office Partitioning
Bespoke Meeting Area

WHAT IS A PRINCIPAL CONTRACTOR?

Before starting any project that will involve more than one contractor on site, you as the client are legally obligated to formally appoint a Principal Contractor. They will be responsible for the health and safety of all sub-contractors on site. They will also be obligated to ensure all sub-contractors are following correct practices and are carrying out their duties safely.

Even if you, as the client would like to use your own sub-contractors for elements of the project, they must still fall under the protective umbrella of a Principal Contractor. It is a legal obligation that is put in place to protect both your employees and our installation team.

We have the experience you need, when considering a Principal Contractor to plan and execute your mezzanine floor project for you. For more information in regards to the role of a Principal Contractor and your duties when appointing one, click here.

Office With Partitioning
Meeting Room

As you can see, mezzanine floors are functional, feature-rich solutions to all your additional workspace needs. With their versatile nature, you can create the office, storage or production space you need in no time at all.

So if you’re looking to implement a mezzanine floor project for your business, contact us today to book in a site visit where we can survey your space and discuss your requirements for the space. From the moment you contact us, we are on hand to answer any questions you may have and we’ll ensure that you receive a quality mezzanine floor solution on time and on budget.

Working with Nexus couldn’t be easier and with over a decade of experience implementing mezzanine floor projects for businesses large and small, your project will be in the right hands. Our simple six step Nexsteps process ensures your project is implemented smoothly, from start to finish.

If you have any further questions about mezzanine floors or wish to access some direct expert advice, contact us here.

DECIDED A
MEZZANINE
FLOOR
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