Case study

Existing Mezzanine Floor alterations – what to consider

Aug 20, 2021 | Mezzanine Floors

Prior to making any adjustments to a mezzanine floor structure, expert advice should be sought to enable a full assessment. Even alterations require the expertise of an experienced designer who can evaluate the possible adjustments whilst having an in depth understanding of the UK Building Regulations.

The original plans and calculations which were passed by UK Building Regulations when the mezzanine floor was originally designed and implemented are used to assist the alteration designs. If you were the original mezzanine floor project owner, such paper work should be easily located however there are instances where the documentation is unobtainable such as acquiring a previously built mezzanine floor. Nothing can be assumed when original documentation is absent so if there is no way of obtaining the original plans, alterations to the original structure cannot be made however the alternative solution would be to build a new mezzanine floor next to the original mezzanine structure. If you’re looking to gain more usable floor space, this solution still delivers without any effect on the original structure.

If the original documentation is available, the designer will refer to the information to ensure the mezzanine floor can be altered safely in terms of:

Mezzanine floor load capacity

It’s essential to the safety of any persons on or around the mezzanine floor level that the structure can safely support the weight of activates carried out on the floor. When designing the original mezzanine floor, the Technical Designer would have designed in the correct weight bearing for its intended use. Mezzanine floor weight load capacity will vary from one platform to another due to variations in use. A storage mezzanine floor for example will be designed and built to uphold far more weight than a mezzanine designed to accommodate office space.

When altering a mezzanine floor, its current load bearing is a crucial factor and it’s important to establish whether the mezzanine will be used for different capacities once complete. It’s only possible to change the use of the mezzanine floor if the weight load bearing will support the new use. An office mezzanine floor for instance can be changed to a storage platform if the original design demonstrates that it has been built to uphold such a change in use. It’s a less complex task to change a heavy weight bearing storage mezzanine floor to office use as this wouldn’t require a stronger foundation than the one in place already.

warehouse storage mezzanine

Safe use and access of the mezzanine floor

A mezzanine floor level is often open fronted and overlooks the ground floor below and for this reason the exposed edge must be made safe using handrails and infill as edge protection. The material used to create the edge protection must be appropriate to the mezzanine floor use if it is to pass UK Building Regulations. For example a glass infill would be hazardous on a mezzanine used for storage as a collision with moving handling equipment will likely cause the glass to shatter and fall onto the floor below.  For this reason, steel edge protection is better suited to storage mezzanine floors, whereas glass would be more appropriate to the office or retail mezzanines on which daily activities are much lighter. Staircase specifics in terms treading, material, positioning, location and handrail height is also influenced by UK Building Regulations with each element implemented in accordance to safe use.

Retail Mezzzanine with stainless steel and glass edge protection

Mezzanine floor fire safety

It’s an absolute must that an altered mezzanine floor offers the required levels of safety in the event of a fire under UK Building Regulations. This includes means of escape and in a lot of cases fire rating fitted to the structure. If altering a mezzanine floor includes the relocation of its staircase for example, the new location must still provide safe means of escape should the need to evacuate arise. The same is required of any additional staircases which is more likely in the case of extending the mezzanine floor by a significant amount or when adding multiple levels. The alterations must be designed with fire safety at the forefront and this could mean creating new escape routes with new emergency doorways and additional emergency staircases. Under UK Building Regulations, a mezzanine floor on which people work or visit must be fire rated which entails the fitting of fire resistant fascias and panels to the mezzanine underside and edges. The fittings delay the effects of heat, flames and smoke allowing enough time to evacuate and get help from the emergency services.

mezzanine woth fire rated panels fitted

 

Mezzanine floor change of use

The most common reason to alter a mezzanine floor is to use the level for a different purpose to the one it was originally designed for. This could be due to business changes or the acquirement of a building in which a mezzanine floor exists for a particular purpose not suited to your needs. Either way a change of mezzanine floor use should be considered with caution and not without the assistance of an established professional who can provide guidance under UK Building Regulations.

Mezzanine floor extension

As a bespoke solution, the original mezzanine floor was designed to fit the space whilst supporting the needs of its original use. Some mezzanine floors include a future proof design which makes an extension of the structure later down the line very simple and straight forward. If the mezzanine floor is future proof, details of this will be noted in the original documentation. Extending a mezzanine floor not designed for future extension requires a revaluation to assess the possibility. The extension must be designed and implemented in accordance to UK Building Regulations which includes the correct weight load bearings, safety of use and fire safety.

Mezzanine floor additional tiers

In many cases a single tier mezzanine which adds one floor level above the ground floor is the ideal solution however adding more floor levels to the original floor is possible where height space permits if the project is undertaken by a trusted mezzanine floor designer who will ensure UK Building Regulations are met.

Multi tier mezzanine floor

You’re Mezzanine Floor Project by WSL

If you want to find out whether your mezzanine can be altered to better support your changing circumstances call on the expertise of WSL.

Mezzanine Floor Design

At WSL our design team who are proficient in CDM 2015 have extensive experience and knowledge spanning over one hundred years combined. Their far-reaching understanding of UK Building Regulations enables them to advise you on your mezzanine floor alterations without delay and they can design a solution that meets all regulations which will be overseen by official regulating officers before being passed.

Mezzanine Floor Manufacture

WSL manufacture in accordance to the design and however simple or complex, our in-house design and manufacturing capabilities combined allow us to ensure adjustments seamlessly come together with the original structure. We manufacture to the stringent standards of UKCA for which we are assessed annually and this certification stands alongside our Full SEMA Membership so you can be assured that safety and quality are both at the very highest standards.

Mezzanine Floor Installation

Our professional and friendly installation team who operate throughout the UK are both skilled and experienced and will carry out the installation works for your mezzanine project in a timely manner before leaving your site clean and tidy. The installation process will be overseen by your WSL Project Manager who will keep you up to date throughout the process.

Whether you’re looking to amend an existing mezzanine floor or implement a new one, WSL is an industry leader you can trust. Call our team today on 0113 2045350 or email sales@wslmail.co.uk to arrange an initial free site survey where you can discuss your needs in detail with one of our experienced designers.

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