Mezzanine flooring can be a daunting subject for those of us who aren’t familiar with the product and the legislation surrounding it – we aim to help you to gain a good grasp of the product and in particular the various questions which need answering when you decide that a new mezzanine floor might be the solution to your requirements!
The following series of questions are those which are most often asked by mezzanine buyers, along with a few which should be asked but aren’t always! We’ve provided answers to the questions in order that you can satisfy yourself that you know enough about the product prior to requesting quotes and placing your order.
In the event that you have a query which doesn’t appear below, fill in the Q&A FORM at the foot of the page and send it to us – we’ll look to give you an expert response and if the question is one which should appear on the list below, we’ll publish it for others to read!
HOW MUCH DOES A MEZZANINE FLOOR COST?
Typically a brand new, bespoke mezzanine will cost from around £40.00/m2 installed, however the final price will depend on how big the floor is and what variables are involved – very small floors suffer from negative economies of scale, whilst very large floors will require more things like increased plant hire, more staircases, higher delivery costs, etc.
Simple Mezzanines are here to help – send us your requirement and we’ll be delighted to provide accurate costings to allow you to understand your financial commitment to your proposed project!
WHAT EXACTLY IS A MEZZANINE FLOOR?
Simply put, a mezzanine floor is a storey in a building which has one or more open edge (i.e. and edge which doesn’t butt up to the building walls)
It can also be used to describe an ‘aftermarket’ additional floor or even a floor structure which is classed as non-permanent – irrespective of size or whether it has an open edge or edges.
In the UK, when we say mezzanine floor, we usually think of a steel structure with timber decking which is introduced into existing buildings in order to add further useful space above ground floor.
HOW DO YOU DETERMINE THE CAPACITY OF A MEZZANINE?
Typical uses for a raised floor include STORAGE, OFFICE SPACE, RETAIL, PRODUCTION and MESS/CANTEEN AREAS although they can be used for pretty much any purpose!
When you decide upon the purpose of your mezz floor, the supplier will guide you toward a suitable UDL (uniformly distributed load) capacity.
The mezzanine industry tends to use the following as a good guideline:
OFFICE USE 3.5kn/m2 (350kg/m2)
GENERAL STORAGE 4.8kn/m2 (500kg/m2)
HEAVY STORAGE 9.6kn/m2 (1000kg/m2)
RETAIL USE 3.5-4.8kn.m2
CANTEEN/MESS USE 3.5-4.8kn/m2
PRODUCTION USE 4.8kn/m2
Deflection limits also play a part – this means the amount of allowable ‘bend’ which the floor experiences when loads are applied – again, the industry uses standard values for this element and a professional, competent company like Simple Mezzanines will assist you in determining what your requirement demands and then explain their proposal at quotation stage.
WHAT IS THE TIMESCALE FROM ORDER TO INSTALLATION FOR A MEZZANINE FLOOR?
Under normal circumstances, we would expect that from the point that order is received, the following timescales would apply:
SITE SURVEY WITHIN 5 WORKING DAYS OF ORDER RECEIPT
PROPOSAL DRAWING ISSUED FOR COMMENT OR APPROVAL WITHIN 5-7 WORKING DAYS OF SURVEY
FABRICATION PERIOD TO MANUFACTURE MEZZANINE – APPROXIMATELY 3 WORKING WEEKS FOLLOWING APPROVAL OF PROPOSAL DRAWING
ARRIVAL ON SITE TO COMMENCE INSTALLATION – IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING FABRICATION
Based upon the above, if we assume that the client has no objections to the proposal drawing and therefore gives immediate approval, we would expect to be installing at your site around 5-6 weeks after receipt of order. This is fairly typical throughout the UK mezzanine industry.
WILL I NEED TO OBTAIN MY LANDLORD’S APPROVAL FOR A MEZZANINE FLOOR INSTALLATION?
Yes – unless you have a contract which gives you carte blanche to make whatever alterations you like.
It’s usual for a rental agreement or contract to have a clause ‘TENANTS IMPROVEMENTS’ which outlines what can and cannot be done by the tenant – this may provide good guidance, however we would always recommend that you liaise with your landlord before committing to a new mezzanine structure since they are the legal owners of the building and there may be implications which need consideration on the part of both parties before any decisions are acted upon!
WHAT WEIGHT CAN I PUT ON MY MEZZANINE?
This is a difficult one since the floor can be designed to take huge weights but your slab and the ground beneath it may have a much lower capacity – there’s no point in having a mezzanine designed and installed which then literally sinks once the floor’s loaded!!
That said, if you are satisfied that your slab and ground below are suitable, you can specify floors which might receive uniformly distributed loads (UDL) of many tons per metre square – just remember that as loads increase, so do structural section sizes and weights, so price too invariably increases – often disproportionately!
WHAT TYPE OF DECKING IS USED?
In most cases, 38mm PARTICLEBOARD is utilised for mezzanine decking – it is cheap, stable and easy to lay (and replace!) – in environments where there is airborne moisture or where things (like pallets) which have been left outside for short periods are stored, a MOISTURE RESISTANT type of particleboard can be supplied.
Metal decking can also be supplied – either as a hardwearing overlay or as a standalone deck material – STEEL CHEQUERPLATE, PLAIN STEEL PLATE or OPEN MESH STEEL PANELS are the more typical materials and they can be supplied either painted or galvanised (as can the steel structure) in the event that the floor is to be used in wetter environments or even outside!
IS MY NEW MEZZANINE GOING TO INCREASE THE RATEABLE VALUE OF THE PROPERTY?
This isn’t a simple YES/NO case – there is an argument that as the mezzanine floor is classed as a non-permanent structure, it shouldn’t be considered for rates, however this isn’t always the case.
In instances where the floor is ‘developed’ after installation – for example where offices, welfare facilities or retail fitouts are added to the mezzanine itself, there is an argument that this can convey permanence upon the floor as part of the broader installation – a floor which might cost £20k, and which then has a further £40k of additional services added, could be seen as a permanent addition to a £200k building, whilst a £50k storage floor with little additional development in the same building may be seen differently!
Typically, in instances where the new floor is treated as having permanently increased the value of the building which it occupies, the value attached to it is much less than the capital cost and in most cases, rateable value isn’t affected.
The following link may be of interest: http://info.valuation-tribunals.gov.uk/Decision_Documents/documents/NDR/035018464949537N10.pdf
DOES MY NEW FLOOR INSTALLATION REQUIRE PLANNING OR BUILDING REGULATIONS APPROVAL?
Planning wouldn’t be an issue for the floor itself (unless it’s external), however if you’re creating space for additional staff or visitors, extra welfare facilities, external escape routes or car parking spaces may be required if your existing facilities are lacking – these elements would potentially need planning approval.
Building Regulations approval is an absolute requirement for all new mezzanine floors installed in the UK – it should be embraced as a means for you to satisfy yourself that the installation has been carried out in a professional manner!
WHAT FURTHER COSTS DO I NEED TO CONSIDER FOR THE BASIC MEZZANINE FLOOR?
Apart from the mezzanine itself, there are a few additional costs to consider as follows:
BUILDING REGULATIONS APPLICATION
SMOKE AND FIRE DETECTION SERVING THE NEW FLOOR
LIGHTING (INCLUDING EMERGENCY LIGHTING) SERVING THE MEZZANINE
POSSIBLY FIRE PROTECTION TO UNDERSIDE (see separate item below)
DOES MY NEW MEZZANINE REQUIRE FIRE PROTECTION?
There are a few simple instances where fire protection (fire rating) would be required – follow this link and you will be able to determine the criteria for most floors https://www.simplemezzanines.co.uk/fire-rating/
IS THERE A MINIMUM OR MAXIMUM SIZE FOR A MEZZANINE FLOOR?
No – very small floors may be relatively costly, however if it’s the only solution to your requirement, then invariably it can be done. The same thing can be said for very large floors – warehouse spaces are becoming increasingly large, and larger mezzanines are required to fill them. If the cost isn’t a barrier to the client, then massive floors can be manufactured and installed.
WHAT’S THE LARGEST LEG SPACING/SPAN YOU CAN ACHIEVE – I DON’T WANT A FOREST OF COLUMNS!
Whilst manufacturers will always try to achieve the optimal column grid for a cost effective solution, situations exist where things like the need to accommodate large machines, open plan offices, mechanised routes, etc. may dictate that leg spacings need to be much greater than say 4m x 4m or thereabouts (a cost effective grid)
In these circumstances, column grids running to double-digit dimensions can be achieved – if you need a 10m x 4m grid or 15 x 7m (for example) it can be achieved but bear in mind that as spans increase, so do steel, plant and labour costs as well as sectional sizes – a 4m beam may only be a foot deep whereas a 15m beam might run to three feet or more!!
WHAT HEIGHT IS A MEZZANINE FLOOR?
You can set your floor height at whatever level you want – if you need to clear things like machines, ground floor offices, etc. then we’d look to provide a floor with an UNDERSIDE HEIGHT around 200-300mm above the tallest thing we need to clear beneath the floor. In the event that the underside height isn’t an issue, we’d normally look to achieve a TOPSIDE HEIGHT of around 2700-3000mm as this is a sensible height for most clients – it provides around 2400mm (8’) of clearance below which is a comfortable height to work beneath.
If headroom from your slab to the roof is very high (over 8m for example) you can even go to multi-tier floors in order to utilise even more of your available vertical space!
ARE THERE ANY LIMITATIONS ON WHAT WE CAN USE THE FLOOR FOR?
Not really – we’ve done floors which cars and buses are stored on, floors which have commercial walk-in refrigerators located upon them, canteen floors, retail and office floors, structures shaped like aeroplanes which allow maintenance access in airliner manufacturing plants – even galvanised external floors for the siting of car park maintenance offices and to allow access above buses for washing them!!