Mezzanine flooring offers a fantastic way to expand the available space in your existing warehouse in a cost-effective way, whether for storage or office and operational purposes.
As with most things, it’s not always as straightforward as you might expect, and there are lots of factors that dictate whether you need mezzanine flooring and how you might go about installing it.
Warehousing and logistics managers put questions to us on this subject regularly, so for those of you looking for a little extra information, we hope the following FAQ will be of some use.
Why would I need a mezzanine floor?
Mezzanine floors are an excellent way of gaining extra floor space, whether for storage, office facilities or just about any other function you may require, without the need for external expansion.
So before you think “new warehouse”, if you need extra space it’s always worth doing a feasibility study to assess if a mezzanine can provide it.
What can a mezzanine floor be used for in a warehouse situation?
Just about anything – though of course you need to be selective about what goods and in what form of racking you might want to store on a mezzanine.
Mezzanine floors can be improved and adapted via the use of escalators, conveyor belts, standing walls and storage racking, among other options, to allow them to serve multiple purposes.
You can treat your mezzanine as you would any other area of your warehouse facility, providing you install the appropriate components and make provision for easy and safe access and usage at all times.
How do I know if my warehouse is suitable?
As long as your warehouse has the required height to allow for the extra floor while still keeping enough headroom for easy movement, it can be equipped with a mezzanine structure.
As warehouse facilities generally have a high clearance, just about any facility can be adapted in this way, but existing racking may need to be adapted if a mezzanine is to be constructed over it, as will its positioning to allow for installation of the mezzanine support pillars.
Where do I start?
It all starts with an initial survey and assessment either by your own suitably qualified experts or by the intended mezzanine floor provider. The survey will result in detailed measurements of your facility, and the size and positioning of the intended mezzanine structure.
Following the assessment, and provided the warehouse can accommodate the mezzanine floor, most suppliers will then provide a quote for the infrastructure and installation of the mezzanine, including any works required to adapt the existing warehouse space.
As soon as the full extent of the mezzanine project is scoped and quote is accepted, the project can be scheduled for commencement.
Do I need building regulations approval for a mezzanine floor?
The simple answer is “Yes”. Just about any mezzanine floor installation will require building regulations approval.
As part of their service, some mezzanine floor providers (including Acorn Warehouse Solutions) are able to complete and file all necessary regulations paperwork on your behalf to your local planning authority in order to gain approval.
This saves you having to do this detailed and specialised work yourself and can also reduce stress levels!
What about planning permission?
The issue of whether planning permission is required for your warehouse mezzanine floors depends on the size of the proposed mezzanine.
As the installation is within your existing warehouse, is also likely to be removable, most mezzanine expansions do not require planning permission – though if you lease your warehouse it is always wise to consult with the warehouse owner.
Government legislation on expansion of out-of-town retail developments now requires that any area which is larger than 200 square meters needs planning permission. However mezzanine floors of less than that area can still be installed with no requirement for planning permission, as can additional floors.
Can I design my mezzanine floor myself?
The design of your mezzanine structure is a complex and involved task, with loading calculations and material specifications. As such it should be carried out only by qualified experts who are experienced in the design and deployment of mezzanine floors in a warehouse environment.
Ideally you should seek a supplier that can provide every element of your mezzanine floor requirement, from the initial requirements specification and assessment through to the design and installation of your unique, customised design to ensure it is suitable for all of your specific needs.
What are the costs involved?
The bulk of the costs involved will in for the mezzanine floor structure itself, so the costs depend heavily on the size and design of your proposed structure.
Some costs which often end up stacking up and should be factored in right at the start include fire protection measures, safety barriers, emergency lighting, smoke and fire alarms and safety signage.
Make sure that your mezzanine floor provider accounts for these costs in your project budget, or you may get stung at the end of the process.
How long does installation take?
Providing all necessary planning permission and building regulations are in place, the installation of your new mezzanine floor could take as little as 3 weeks from order to completion.
But there are many variables to take into account.
The overall size of the mezzanine floor structure will naturally affect the duration of the build, but the layout of your existing warehouse may need alteration in order to install the mezzanine floor support infrastructure. Removal of stock and storage elsewhere may prove to be time-consuming if this is the case.
In addition, existing racking or shelving may need to be moved around in order to accommodate conveyors and stairs as well as the mezzanine itself.
What disruption will there be to normal warehouse operations?
During the installation of your mezzanine floor, disruption to normal warehouse operations should be minimal, though this will depend to a large extent on the existing arrangement of your warehouse as mentioned above.
One of the main factors in minimising disruption will be the quality and detail of the installation project plan.
Many mezzanine floors can be pre-fabricated and assembled prior to installation, the only limiting factor to this being access to the warehouse interior.
So long as a detailed plan is drawn up before work commences, and the installation area is clear and cordoned off, normal warehouse workflow should be able to continue largely unaffected during the installation process.
Are there any health and safety aspects involved?
All new mezzanine floor structures must adhere to health and safety regulations.
Your mezzanine provider should ensure that all health and safety requirements are met in terms of design, installation, commissioning and ongoing general use.
Could your warehouse benefit from the addition of a mezzanine floor?
Speak to the team at Acorn Warehouse Solutions about our mezzanine assessment, design and installation service on 01799 532024 or email firstname.lastname@example.org