A mezzanine (referred to in French as an entresol and in italian as a mezzanino), often referred to as a mezzanine floor or sometimes a balcony, is an intermediate floor within a building. They are most often a semi permanent structure used within a warehouse environment. Mezzanines are also used as a permanent structure typically found in a theatre or apartment and are often referred to as a ‘loft’ bedroom or balcony.
Typically a mezzanine floor does not extend over the entire footprint of the ground floor space of a building and they are often a secondary structure fitted after the original building has been constructed. They are installed to utilise the space available, particularly if head height is available between the ground floor and the ceiling above.
Mezzanine floors are used to provide additional floor space in ‘industrial buildings’. ‘Industrial buildings’ include all those facilities traditionally referred to as ‘workshops’, ‘factories’ and ‘warehouses’ built in industrial parks, business parks and retail parks. Industrial buildings are typically large warehouse structures with adjoining and/or internal smaller, single or multi-storey office accommodation.
With new developments, we now commonly find that developers create the warehouse structure without office or welfare facilities, therefore creating a ‘shell’, giving flexibility to the new owner/leaser of the building, to install whatever facilities they require.
Much effort has gone into the construction of mezzanine floors to ensure that the operatives working on the floor are protected whilst working at height. Handrail systems are installed to the edges of the mezzanine floor and pallet gates are installed to allow palletised goods to be loaded onto and off the mezzanine floor. Industrial mezzanine floors were traditionally used by companies who looked to utilise the available head height, often installing a mezzanine floor to house slow moving stock or products.
However mezzanine floors are now even more widely used and have taken on a multitude of uses. Due to their flexibility and how easily they can be paired with other materials, they are now the most common solution to building office space within a warehouse environment.
They are also popular for production purposes in the warehouse. Often accommodating complex picking and packing stations which often include conveyor systems.
Mezzanine floors have become a staple in the success of a highly functional warehouse and due to their flexibility and affordability are common place in most warehouses in the UK.