Case study

The mezzanine floor – discover the truths behind the myths

Misconceptions around the mezzanine floor solution can leave you questioning the notion of implementing an additional floor level or levels within your current space, yet the grounds for its popularity are certainly worth exploring. When unfamiliar with the particulars of a mezzanine floor solution, it’s easy to misunderstand its true potential and this can often result in missed opportunity, which is why addressing those niggling concerns early on, is essential.

The mezzanine floor is an effective solution to growth management which doesn’t involve expansion or relocation. Instead, it converts unexploited overhead space into a practical floor level used to accommodate increased business activity. This has been the saviour of many businesses, particularly in recent years when the world of online shopping underwent fast paced evolvement. Often overlooked, height space can be just as productive as the ground floor when utilised effectively and with the mezzanine floor solution, this becomes very possible. For many however, the initial concept of a mezzanine floor can come with apprehension.

warehouse multi tier mezzanine floor

If you’re considering a mezzanine floor as a solution, differentiating the myths from the truths will help relieve you of uncertainties and gain better knowledge with assurance:

Myth: There are size restrictions

Truth: Providing the design and construction of the mezzanine floor solution meets the safety standards set out by UK Building Regulations, the platform can be as large as the space allows.  As an open fronted upper level platform, a mezzanine floor can cover up to three quarters of the ground floor below, almost doubling your usable floor space. When incorporating multiple levels, each level can be a duplication of the first level and multiplied in accordance to the height of the building. By the same token, your needs may be adequately met through the implementation of a small mezzanine floor within a large space and there’s even the option of a future proof design whereby the mezzanine floor is modification ready. This means that if future growth is anticipated, the design allows the platform to be extended or the levels multiplied without complication.

Myth: Its not long term

Truth: Whilst it’s true that the mezzanine floor is considered to be a semi permanent structure, it’s also true that the structure is a highly sustainable and long term solution. Designed and built to last, the steel based structure has no age limit, particularly with the provision of continual care and maintenance in the form of periodic safety inspections and safety ancillaries such as column guards and barriers where appropriate.

Myth: It won’t withstand the required heavy loads

Truth: When it comes to strength, the mezzanine floor gets full marks. The required weight load bearing of a mezzanine floor is incorporated into the design giving assurance that heavy duty activities carried out on the platform will be safely supported. This makes the mezzanine floor an ideal solution for the factory or warehouse facing the pressures of a growing operation as it enables the continuation of production as it grows and intensifies. It is important to note that a mezzanine floor designed for light activities would not safely uphold heavy activities. If a change of use is anticipated with later activities likely bear a heavier weight, this can be incorporated into the original design making the forthcoming changes easier to implement. A heavy weight bearing structure however, can be used for lighter use without the same concern.

Myth: Business rates will automatically rise

Truth: Not necessarily! When we consider a mezzanine floor used to improve customer experience in boost overall footfall then rates are more likely to be effected, however a mezzanine floor used for storage only is less likely to attract rate increases. Whilst the subject of rates may not be straight forward given that individual factors play a decisive role, including use, size, purpose and regional council guidelines differences, the assumption that a mezzanine floor will automatically mean higher business rates in all circumstances can be dismissed.

Myth: Planning permission is needed

Truth: Because a mezzanine floor is built within the four walls of the building and has no impact on the external elevations of the building, the structure can be implemented without the need for planning permission. This is a welcomed advantage because it means the project can go ahead without the need to wait for permission or pay the costs associated with planning applications. It is important to note however that any external alterations in relation to the mezzanine floor such as a new door or window will require approval from the local authority.

Myth: It’s too costly

Truth: The cost of a mezzanine floor solution is far less than the cost of relocating the business or extending the footprint of the building. And you are likely to see a return on the investment as a result of increased productivity. The cost can be minimised further when the mezzanine floor is sourced directly through a manufacturer because this will eliminate third party mark up costs. As a manufacturer ourselves, WSL is able to offer our clients this welcomed advantage. Our combined office and factory located in Leeds, West Yorkshire enables our design and fabrication team to collaborate effectively without the costs or potential disruption of third party involvement.

Myth: It’s not safe

Truth: The structure is required to meet the safety and quality standards set out by UK Building Regulations. Both the design and finished structure will undergo assessment to confirm compliance before associated documentation is issued. The regulations cover everything from fire safety and protection to structural integrity and safe use and at WSL, we organise this formality on your behalf so you have one less thing to worry about. Ensuring the structure is UKCA certified (was CE Marking) will also assure you that the structure meets UK legislations. WSL guarantees UKCA certification and as a Full SEMA Member (Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association) you can be confident of the high quality and safety of your mezzanine floor solution produced by our team.

Myth: It won’t add value

Truth: Whilst it may not be a permanent, the added value a mezzanine floor creates is born through the added flexibility. A large open space divided into functional areas between floor and ceiling offers more value to prospective buyers as the building offers more practicality than it would in its original configuration.

Myth: It probably won’t meet my business needs

Truth: Currently none existent until designed and produced to meet your specific needs, not only will your mezzanine floor solution support your business needs, it could also be the foundation of improved productivity. With expanding business activities supported and organised, processes become more streamlined, improving overall efficiency. However complex your needs may be, at WSL we draw on the capabilities of our in-house technical design and fabrication teams to ensure a solution that is completely unique to your business needs. The direct corridor of communication between our teams eliminates constraints allowing us to provide your solution with speed, accuracy and flexibility.

Myth:  It will cause disruption to my business

Truth:  A mezzanine floor can be constructed on site with minimal effect on the operation surrounding the build. At WSL we go to great lengths to ensure that operations can continue with minimal impact by working around the business needs. Our mezzanine floor installers will assemble the structure in small sections ensuring only one small area within the workspace is inaccessible at one time. Our team is also very flexible and can construct the platform during quieter business hours including evenings, weekends and over night.  Working tidily, you’ll find that on completion our team has left the area clear of debris and other associated rubble.

Myth: It will be an eyesore

Truth: A magnificent addition to your business premises, your mezzanine floor solution can be both practical and enticing as a feature which blends seamlessly into the existing interior. Once finished with lighting, fixtures and fittings the space will become light and airy and this applies within any type of business setting. For the industrial setting the mezzanine floor which replaces the intensity of a crowded workspace with the open feel of a bright and spacious workspace can incorporate the required storage structures, equipment or machinery whilst keeping that positive vibe. Although safety and practicality is prioritised there is still room for creativity when it comes to colour schemes and features. With the retail or office mezzanine floor, this can go even further with fixtures and fittings chosen to entice and welcome staff and customers.

Infographic WSL - Mezzanine floor Myths and Truths

Want to know more?

Whatever questions you may have, allow your WSL Technical Designer to answer them in person during a site visit. The purpose of a free site survey is to allow our designer to assess the space thoroughly whilst taking time to understand your business and operational needs. This also allows you the opportunity to obtain expert advice in relation to your potential project. On completion of the survey, our designer will go on to produce a plan of your ideal mezzanine floor solution which you will receive along with a non-obligatory quotation.

To arrange a site visit at your convenience call our team on 0113 2045350 or email sales@wslmail.co.uk

 

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