Why do you need a Mezzanine Floor?
Most companies occupy all of their floor space but have a huge amount of unused space above there working area. Space is money and to maximise your wasted space it is normally possible to fit a mezzanine floor which is very tax effective.
All Spacelink mezzanine flooring
A new Mezzanine Floor can be designed for many different uses including Offices, Storage and Workshops. Most of our clients continue to use the area under the Mezzanine for its original purpose, while using the space on their new mezzanine to satisfy their additional space requirements. It is of course possible to utilise the areas under and on the new mezzanine for meeting rooms, offices, toilets, and canteen areas.
Aesthetically the whole thing should blend in with the whole building.
Depending on the headroom available Spacelink can design and install multi-storey mezzanines that maximise the available space. Mezzanine floors must comply with Local Authority Building regulations,especially where DDA is to be considered.
Spacelink has 16 years experience in advising and building mezzanine floors and that can make a big difference with the final result.
What do you get with a Spacelink mezzanine
Spacelink mezzanine floors are designed in accordance with all regulations and relevant BS codes and Building Regulation documents to ensure that any mezzanine built to its recommendations is safe, legal and fit for purpose.
All Spacelink mezzanines are free-standing steel structures that are custom designed to meet your requirements. As all mezzanines are different we will always send a technician to discuss your requirements so that we can install the correct solution to satisfy your situation.
We need to know the usage of the floor to factor in the correct loading.
In general, a Spacelink Mezzanine could be described as a platform on steel legs. The legs are hollow sections that are welded to steel base plates that in turn are fixed to the ground with anchor bolts. To prevent sideways movement, the tops of some legs will be braced back to the ground. The load they carry and the ability of the ground slab to bear this load will determine the size of the base plates. The size and number of columns depends on a combination of the load imposed on the mezzanine, the span between columns and the load bearing capacity of the ground bearing pressure.
Steel main beams are bolted on to plates that are welded to the tops of the legs to form a framework. Secondary beams (Joists) are then bolted between the main beams to form a support structure for the decking. The decking is usually in the form of 38mm particle-board, but various other types of decking are available depending on the proposed use, we can use moisture resistant boards at a small extra cost. Mezzanines produced using this construction technique are known as ‘Slim Line’ thus maximising headroom.
All exposed edges will be fitted with a handrail with mid-height knee-rail and kick-board, to comply with regulations. Staircases are generally made from steel with steel treads (see section on access below). In an office environment the elements of structure will be encased for fire-rating purposes (see section on Fire Protection below), but not the actual staircase. Should your requirement be more upmarket we can offer stainless steel or glass hand rails.
How will I access my Mezzanine?
You may be able to access your new mezzanine by creating a doorway from adjacent existing offices/core build mezzanine, but most new mezzanines require their own stairs and sometimes personnel lifts. If your mezzanine is for storage you may also need to consider whether you require a pallet gate, goods lift.
Part K of the Building Regulations covers protection from falling and relates to the design of staircases and barriers used on our mezzanine floors. Part M of the current Building Regulations covers the provision of access to and the use of buildings with regard to disabled persons. This usually means the provision of 1300mm – 1200mm clear width stairs, with the size and number of risers and goings controlled by the regulations. Part M requires infilled risers.
While part K allows for open stair risers.
The latest version of Part M indicates that whenever vertical access to a building is required, it should be by means of a lift large enough to accommodate all types of potential user. It is however recognised that it is not always possible or necessary to install a lift or lifting device for mobility impaired people. Building Regulations Inspectors normally interpret the requirements of these regulations to allow a single Part M staircase to be employed on small storage mezzanines. On larger storage mezzanines, or those where fire escape is questioned, additional Part K and/or Part M compliant stairs may be required.
Mezzanines that provide Office space always require at least one Part M fire protected staircase and often additional Part M and/or Part K compliant staircases are needed. Of course it may be possible to provide adequate access from existing office accommodation. It is always necessary to provide an ‘Access Statement’ to supplement Building Regulation applications.
Means of escape from the mezzanine, in the event of a fire must be considered, especially maximum travel distances to a ‘place of safety’ have to be incorporated into the design. The local Fire Authority will always be contacted in the approval process.
Spacelink has their own inspectors and will be pleased to handle the complete process for you.
What is Part B?
Part B of the Building Regulations covers fire safety and relates to fire protection, warning and means of escape. In general all offices on mezzanines and some storage mezzanine floors need to be fire-protected to comply with Building Regulations. This will generally comprise a suspended ceiling below the mezzanine (with one hour, fire-rated tiles), a 1 Hr fire rated fascia to all exposed edges and 1 Hr protection to the columns. Column protection can be white or galvernised finish.
Offices upon mezzanine floors will be constructed to provided at least a half-hour fire protection between the offices/warehouse and this will usually entail extending the perimeter partitions to the roof. The ceilings must not be breached in any way and therefore recessed light fittings will have fire-boxes fitted above them.
The approval of the scheme must be obtained from the Local Fire Authority which is all dealt with by our licensed inspectors.
Spacelink have an Approved Inspector to gain the required Local Authority approvals.
How you can help keep things running smoothly
Stage 1. We will send you an order acknowledgement
Stage 2. It is important that everything is discussed during the final structural survey e.g. position of columns do not obstruct doors, windows or walkways. Also if you intent placing new machinery, workbenches etc we can help you plan around this.
Stage 3. Spacelink will require the following details to enable us to produce the drawings, calculations and applications concerning your Mezzanine.
We will also require
a. Details of the existing floor slab and foundations. These details are not always readily available and we can often bore a trial hole to check the slab construction. There is an additional charge for this service.
b. A site plan of the whole existing building, indicating existing fire exits, alarms points and sounders, smoke detectors, fire exit signs etc.
c. A block plan showing your building in relation to those around it. (Spacelink)
d. Access Statement
e. The proposed use of all the rooms on or below the new mezzanine.
f. Whether your building is Leasehold or Freehold.
If you cannot provide any of this information, please contact Spacelink ASAP.
Stage 4. At this point we will send you copies of the Structural drawing for your approval. It should be carefully checked to ensure that we have accurately interpreted your requirements and that columns and stairways are positioned as discussed. We will ask you to sign and date a copy of the drawing to signify acceptance.
Stage 5. Planning permission is not normally required for a new Mezzanine Floor within an existing building. There are some exceptions and Spacelink will advise you if your project falls into one of the exceptional categories. However, if you are making any changes that effect the building externally (e.g. installing new windows) a planning application will have to be made in addition to the Building Regulations application. Spacelink can undertake a Planning Application on your behalf, please contact us for details of this service.
Spacelink will submit the drawings, calculations and any other relevant information to an Approved Inspector, who will normally quickly indicate if the project will or will not pass the Building Regulations and Fire Authority codes. This will allow us to make any necessary changes at this stage.
You should be aware that any work that is being carried out by other contractors, whilst we are installing the mezzanine, might also be subject to the Building Regulations process. Spacelink will be happy to advise you, and to consolidate any other work in to a single application. Therefore, please make us aware of any other work, particularly –
- Electrical work
- Plumbing and Heating
- Fire Alarms
- Air Conditioning
- Building work
Please note that the fees associated with making any application(s) will be paid, initially by Spacelink, and will be added, at cost, to your final invoice.
If you need to get your Landlords permission to install a Spacelink mezzanine floor, we can provide any copies of drawings and calculations they may request. We suggest that you should consult your Landlord in parallel with the Building Regulations application. Some Landlords take a long time to grant permission, so early consultation with them is essential if the project is not to be delayed.
Stage 6. As soon as the approvals are received we complete the programme of work for the Mezzanine and agree an installation start date with you. We will then notify the local authority of the start date (this is a legal requirement). The Approved Inspector will inspect the work once it has started, during the installation and on completion.
Stage 7. The Mezzanine is released for manufacture. Once manufacture has commenced it becomes expensive to make changes and delays the programme. Of course, we will do our best to keep any additional costs and delays to a minimum, but you must be aware that late changes inevitably have a detrimental impact on the project.
Stage 8. When installation of your Mezzanine commences please ensure that the construction area is clear. You should be aware that we will be installing heavy steelwork and the safety of your staff and equipment is of paramount importance to us. Health and Safety regulations generally bar us from allowing your staff access to the new Mezzanine before we have completed the project as it is considered to be a construction site.
Depending on the mezzanine’s size, height and number of tiers, we may need to employ in addition to a fork-lift truck, either a scissor-lift or genie lift, or possibly both, to aid construction and offloading the steelwork. If you already have counter-balance fork-lift truck that we can have unlimited use of during the construction process it will save the hire cost and reduce your costs.
Is there a way to speed up the whole process?
As you will have noticed the full procedure can take a number of weeks. However, legally, as soon as the application is submitted, we can proceed with the manufacturing stage without waiting for final approval. If the relevant authorities subsequently insist upon any changes whatsoever, any costs incurred will be passed on to you. If you decide on this option we will ask you to sign a ‘Letter of Indemnity’.
What else do I need to consider?
Current regulations dictate that all office environments, whether or not they are situated on a mezzanine floor require:
- Emergency Lighting.
- Fresh Air Ventilation.
In addition you may wish to consider or the Local Authority Building Controls may insist upon.
- Smoke Detectors and Fire Extinguisher or Sprinklers.
- Fire Alarms.
- Air Conditioning.
The Disability Discrimination Act came into force in October 2004. While this document reflects some of the steps that must be taken to ensure that your new mezzanine complies with this act it is your responsibility to satisfy yourself that the new floor together with your other facilities fully meets the requirements of the Act.
This information in this guide is designed to assist you in understanding the process of purchasing a mezzanine floor. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information it contains is correct, Spacelink Commercial Interiors Limited take no responsibility for any errors or omissions.