Case study

Could a mezzanine floor help prepare your establishment for a Covid safe re-opening?

At WSL, demand for our mezzanine floor solutions has always been predominantly high for warehouse and industrial facilities however, over the last twelve months we’ve been producing a higher number of mezzanines with a large proportion of these being fitted in leisure and hospitality environments. As a mezzanine floor designer and manufacturer, we take a closer look at the reasons behind the surge in demand for mezzanine floors in these close service sectors.

Upper level retail mezzanine

 

Our reopening sectors

With an action plan to lift lockdown restrictions and the goal of no turning back, our non-essential shops, restaurants, bars and gyms are preparing to reopen for the final time this spring. There’s no certainty when it comes to Covid19, however it’s undisputable that the virus still poses a danger and will for quite some time, so it’s understandable that these hardest hit industries are cautiously looking at ways to ensure a covid safe environment.

For so long, we have been denied the opportunity of enjoying a workout in the gym, catching up with friends in our favourite bar or visiting shops, so when restrictions are finally lifted, the bounce back demand for these activities is likely to be huge. Before the pandemic such establishments thrived on being busy and from a business point of view the busier the better as it leads to a reputation for being popular and in turn, more customers. On reopening, this concept needs to be carefully balanced with ensuring a covid safe environment for staff and customers.

For many of these establishments, their limited floor space leaves them with the dilemma of insufficient space in which to accommodate visitors in sustainable numbers whilst ensuring social distancing. Relocating can incur huge costs and disruption making this option quite risky at a time of uncertainly, not to mention the potential loss of existing customers. Extending the premises is an option however this would also incur high costs and can take time which could delay reopening.

The mezzanine floor solution

 

What is meant by mezzanine floor?

A mezzanine floor is a structural steel platform constructed within the four walls of the original building therefore it’s independent and has no effect on the building’s original structure. Its purpose is to create more usable floor space within the same surface area simply by utilising redundant overhead space.

L shaped mezzanine with staircase

A custom-built solution, an individual mezzanine floor is designed to ensure safety whilst accommodating a specified use. A warehouse mezzanine floor for example can be designed and installed to provide additional storage space with incorporated storage structures in which case it would require a substantial weight load bearing. Knowing the intended use of a mezzanine floor is vital to the design including potential change such as an office mezzanine which may later be used as storage. In this scenario the mezzanine floor would require the weight load bearing of a storage mezzanine to ensure the change of use is safe to carry out.

Warehouse mezzanine platform

 

The gym mezzanine floor solution

A mezzanine floor can provide much needed additional floor space in any type of establishment and the gym is no exception. In fact throughout lockdown, WSL has experienced a sharp peak in demand for gym mezzanines and for each we have implemented a mezzanine solution that has transformed their gyms, giving them a tasteful, modern look whilst enabling them to accommodate their members safely. The mezzanine floor enables members to work out at a safe distance to one another whilst allowing the gym to welcome more members at one time. Depending on your needs the gym mezzanine floor can house more work out equipment, larger work out areas and can even accommodate more WC’s to prevent unnecessary travel or congestion.

The bar and restaurant mezzanine floor solution

The hospitality sector has suffered immensely during the pandemic with some establishments sadly closing their doors for good. The recovery for this sector will be assisted by the UK Government with additional financial support however the support from customers is the ultimate source of revitalisation. Businesses in this sector, whether existing or new will face a great deal of unease when the finally open their doors. Their ambitious goal to become the highly frequented bustling place to be is overshadowed by the risks covid19 still pose and the restrictions it brings with it. A bar or restaurant will now be limited in terms of how many customers they can accommodate at one time and these numbers will be dictated by the amount of floor space they have. The more floor space they have, the more customers they can serve safely which is why many are cleverly utilising their height space by implementing new mezzanine levels. Both the business and customer benefit from this solution as the customer feels safe and the business can increase capacity without compromising on safety.

The retail mezzanine floor solution

The last twelve months have been gruelling for retailers with some of our well known and most loved brands disappearing from the high street. Physical retail was already going through very difficult times before the pandemic hit due to the rise in online purchasing but our nations thirst for physical shopping kept these businesses going. For this sector to succeed in reopening, our love for visiting shops and browsing will be strongly relied on once again, yet as customers we want to do this safely. A mezzanine floor can help reduce the risk of over crowding and close contact. The additional floor level can accommodate product display, allowing the retailer to spread their items out. The retail mezzanine floor can be used to separate departments or product types for example but it also means you can allow more customers in to look around.

Mezzanine with L shaped staircase in customer showroom

 

How do customers access the mezzanine floor levels?

A mezzanine floor in a gym, bar, restaurant or retail outlet will likely incorporate access staircases with the option for passenger lifts. A lift however may pose a risk of covid19 exposure as it’s a small enclosed space, this being said how can we limit the risk when using staircases?

More than one staircase–This is a highly effective solution as you can implement a one way system for each staircase, eliminating the risks of customers crossing each other in close proximity.

Two directional staircases – A “Y shaped” staircase with a central divider can split the staircase in two directions. One side can be used to go up and the other to go down.

Traffic light system – Many supermarkets have implemented a traffic light system which uses light signals to inform customers when it’s safe to enter. This can be adopted on single stairways to ensure close contact is avoided during access.

Regular cleaning – Wiping down the handrails at regular intervals will ensure and infectious risks are taken away. Stainless steel handrails are very easy to wipe which is why many establishments opt for this material.

As a mezzanine floor manufacturer who design and manufacture associated staircases, WSL will draw on the experience of our Design Technicians to ensure your staircase is designed implemented to assist with covid safety regulations. At the same time, whilst a mezzanine staircase offers practicality the experience of our design team alongside the talents of our fabrication engineers means your staircase can even become a featured part of your establishment. You can use the flexibility we provide to enhance the look of your staircase in terms of shape and style so you can rest assured that the look of your staircase will only make your mezzanine level more enticing to visitors.

Mezzanine with Y shapes staircase

 

The continued benefits of a mezzanine floor long after Covid19

You may wonder if implementing a mezzanine floor for sake of a short term problem is worth it, after all our determination to eliminate Covid19 from our lives completely indicates we will succeed. However long covid19 is with us, the benefits of a mezzanine floor can bring other huge advantages to your business which is why they have always been a hugely popular solution.

A mezzanine floor helps to future proof your business

A mezzanine floor is cost-effective and sustainable with the added benefit of being able to future proof your business premises. The feeling of being close to each other is likely to be an unwanted feeling for quite some time so the extra space will continue to keep your customers feeling comfortable during their visit even when Covid19 is no longer a risk. If your business premises were often crammed before the pandemic, the mezzanine floor provides the opportunity to create a new layout, allowing the space to become more organised and attract even more customers.

A mezzanine floor provides long lasting transformation

The most attractive trait of a mezzanine floor is the improvements it can bring to how your establishment looks and feels with the ability to make it feel airy, light and welcoming. Prior to their mezzanine floor installation, many of our clients hadn’t realised how much potential their business premises had.

A mezzanine floor can increase property value

Although a mezzanine floor is semi permanent, it can add value to your property because it offers more usable floor space which is a huge bonus. It saves potential buyers the hassle of implementing a mezzanine floor themselves or buying a bigger property.

View of mezzanine from lower level in open showroom

How safe is a mezzanine floor?

A mezzanine floor is very safe provided it has been designed, manufactured and installed by an accredited, reputable company. In operation since 1989, WSL has the knowledge and experience to ensure all your needs are met whilst ensuring safety is impeccable. We work with UK Building Regulating officers throughout the project to ensure all UK Building Regulations are met, as they oversee the plans and inspect the final product on site for which the associated documents are handed to our clients. The UK Building Regulations are in place to ensure the mezzanine floor is designed to ensure safe access and use. This includes safe weight bearings, safe stairway design and ancillaries and also fire rating which is required for any mezzanine floor used by the general public in terms of employees, customers and visitors. To assure our clients of our safety competence we are:

A Full SEMA Member – SEMA is the Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association who promotes very high quality and safety standards in the industrial storage sector. As a full member, WSL lead by example and have the advantage of inclusively playing our own role in setting these safety standards and not just follow them.

A UKCA Certified Manufacturer – Before brexit, UK manufacturers were required to meet the stringent standards of the CE Marking which became a legal requirement in 2014. WSL has always held this certification by successfully proving our competence when undergoing rigorous annual audits. These audits continue to the very same stringent standards now that the CE Marking has been replaced with the UKCA certification for the British manufacturer. The UKCA Certification identifies the high safety and quality standards in our manufactured products, meeting UK legislations.

UKCA & SEMA Accreditation LOGO's

Proficient in CDM 2015 – A mezzanine floor project legally requires a Principal Designer and Principal Contractor to oversee monitor and manage health and safety throughout. This is the obligation of the project owner however WSL has the experience and knowledge a long with a team fully educated of the CDM 2015 Regulations to take this role. This is another health and safety aspect taken care of and one less thing for our clients to worry about.

Knowledge and Experience – Our thirty plus years in the industry has enabled WSL to build our knowledge, experience and expertise. When combining the experience of our Design Technicians alone, it spans heavily above one hundred years. Our Factory Manager who’s also our longest serving steel fabricator has been with us on our manufacturing journey since it began in 2008, this means from the first mezzanine floor we manufactured to the one currently being made in our factory at this present time.

If you’re wondering if a mezzanine floor would improve covid safety when you reopen your business, speak to our expert team. We can arrange for one of our design technicians to visit your premises to help you discover the benefits of a mezzanine floor installation. Our site surveys, followed by drawn up plans with associated quotation are completely free, so it’s certainly worth looking into

You can reach our team on 0113 2045350 or email sales@wslmail.co.uk and we will get back to you.

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