Case study

The Office Mezzanine: Why thousands are benefitting and you could too!

As a growing business you can’t afford to ignore the squeeze on space, so why not explore the mezzanine floor option so you don’t have too?

As a designer and British manufacturer of bespoke mezzanine floors, we shed light on the office mezzanine floor in this article to help you discover the true benefits of an office mezzanine and outline the positive effects it can have on your business.

What is a mezzanine floor?

The purpose of a mezzanine floor is to add usable floor space within the original diameters of a building, eliminating the need of a costly extension or relocation. So if you’re looking for a cost effective way to increase usable floor space without extending the building’s footprint, a mezzanine floor can do just that. All you need is enough overhead space to install the mezzanine structure which will then provide an additional floor level. The mezzanine is an impermanent yet sustainable structure constructed within the building and is made up of structural steel, decking and access features. The mezzanine floor is highly durable and is specifically designed to suit your space and accommodate your needs. Open fronted the structure enhances the original space, giving it a light airy feel with a view from the protected open edge to the ground floor bellow.

Mezzanine floor

 

What is an office mezzanine floor?

The office mezzanine is the new modern way of adding office space to buildings because it’s an inexpensive way to accommodate the specific needs of the occupier. This has lead to the demise of new buildings being inclusive of in-built office areas which are often inadequate to the needs of the potential occupants business.

Seen as the ultimate solution used by many to create office space because of its cost effectiveness and flexibility, the demand for office mezzanines has risen sharply over the last decade with office mezzanines being added to warehouse buildings, manufacturing hubs, commercial service buildings and retail buildings. The office mezzanine may not be considered a floor of the original building, however with the right design these upper level platforms can seamlessly fit into any environment to not only look like part of the building but to feel part of it too.

Not only will an office mezzanine create a dedicated and impressive workspace for employees it will also benefit your entire operation by freeing up the space on the ground floor level for non office activities if you choose to house the offices on the upper platforms. This gives warehouses and manufacturing hubs for example, more space in which to operate effectively without compromising the vital role of office staff.

office mezzanine in factory

 

How big can an office mezzanine floor be?

Mezzanines are designed and built in accordance to available space and your business requirements so an office mezzanine floor can be large enough to support the needs of just one office workstation or it can accommodate a large workforce and multiple departments. A mezzanine can cover as much o the original floor space as you want and where height space permits, floor levels can be multiplied with one floor placed above another. The size and configuration of your office mezzanine will largely depend on your specific needs and how much space your building has.

How is an office mezzanine floor accessed?

A fitted staircase is the most likely form of access to your office mezzanine with the option of a passenger lift in addition to ensure disabled access.

office mezzanine staircase (1)

 

The Office Mezzanine Staircase

An office mezzanine staircase may offer practicality, but it can also become a distinct feature part of the mezzanine floor. Compared to a basic back of house warehouse mezzanine staircase, the office mezzanine staircase can be embellished to match the look of the premises and suit the space. Typically an office mezzanine is welcoming to staff and visitors and the entry staircase has an advanced ability to enhance the visual impact through bespoke design and a wide choice of accessories.

Staircase Location – The staircase leading to your office area requires much thought with careful consideration given to where they lead to on both upper and lower levels to achieve practical and visual representation. A comprehensive review of department locations during the design stage will ensure the journey time between staircase and destination is limited with a seamlessly fitted staircase whether it’s central to the mezzanine or to the side along the wall. If you’re looking to install a passenger lift, this is often in close proximity of the staircase.

Shape of staircase – How your staircase is shaped is entirely dependent on space, practicality and your preferences. A midway landing can enhance the look of the staircase whatever its shape, whether it’s straight, U shaped, Y shaped or L shaped. A front of house staircase is often seen immediately on entering a building that has a mezzanine platform therefore a distinct shape such as the Y shape gives it an extra characteristic whilst also providing a two way system.

Number of staircases – A mezzanine often requires more than one staircase particularly if the mezzanine span is of a large size or has multiple floor levels. If your office mezzanine platform stretches at length, multiplies at height and houses a large number of employees then more than one staircase would be required not just for ease but also for fire safety reasons.

Staircase accessories – Your mezzanine staircase will require additional accessories including handrail, infill and treading. The wide choice available means your required ancillaries can match the look of your building. In office environments a glass infill is often preferred with stainless steel handrails.

Staircase Safety – Fire safety is essential to the design of an office mezzanine floor and staircases and must be considered in the positioning, shape and number of staircases. On multi tier mezzanine floors it’s sometimes appropriate to add a further staircase externally onto the outside wall of the building giving immediate access in the event of an emergency. Internally a staircase must be positioned to give fast and easy access to escape routes and fire emergencies are another good reason for more than one staircase.

What flooring options are available for an office mezzanine floor?

Once the structure is in place and the initial decking has been fitted, your office mezzanine and staircase can be fitted with any type of flooring preferable to you including tiles, carpet or vinyl. It’s not just the type of floor you can choose; you can also choose shade and colour to match your company theme and furnishings.

How can office mezzanine floor space be divided?

Office space, whether it’s above or below the mezzanine level is divided using partition walls which seamlessly integrate to create separated rooms and house various departments and facilities. There’s a wide choice in the type of Interior office partition walls available with the option of adaptable room dividers which you may want to consider if you foresee a change in circumstances. Office partitioning doesn’t have to be boring, the ranges available offer additional style, light and sophistication. From plaster board to glass panels and a varied choice of coloured finishing, your office space can look and feel open, airy, new and fresh once partitioned.

Types of partitions

Jumbo stud partitioning– Metal frames are fitted to secure the divide between rooms with plasterboard fitted to the frames to enclose the divide.

High Partitioning – Perfect if you want to add window panels of a large size to the wall which can stand at 22ft tall

Mobile partitioning – Using a rail fixed to the ceiling and floor, these panels slide from side to side and can be removed and replaced easily. These are perfect if you’re looking for a flexible solution.

Steel partitioning – This is a highly popular solution in warehouses or manufacturing hubs because the sturdy steel panels will form a shield around the office protecting it from the busy operation.

Aluminium framed partitioning – The frame can house a combination of glass panels and plasterboard panels allowing light throughout the entire area even though the rooms are separated.

Composite partitioning – Within the aluminium frame glass panels are fitted from floor to ceiling allowing for a light and airy space with the benefit of segregation at the same time.

Rooms separated by partition walls creating corridors

 

Dividing your office mezzanine space

To ensure your mezzanine space is divided effectively, you should consider the number of separate rooms you will require and their capacity:

Offices – It’s essential that the office space in which your employees will be expected to work is adequate in terms of space and comfort. Calculate how much space each office department will need by considering employee numbers, desk space and space for equipment they are likely to need such as printers and photocopiers.

office on mezzanine floor

Board rooms and meeting rooms – Be sure to have enough space in which meetings and conferences can take place comfortably by ensuring the rooms are spacious and airy rather than small and confined. Meetings can often be long and a small stuffy room will feel uncomfortable for those attending. Depending on the size of your organisation it may be that you require multiple meeting rooms to ensure space is available in the event of meeting times clashing. Note that visitors are often invited into a meeting room so comfort and visual impact are both key traits you will want to ensure for your meeting areas.

 meeting room

WC’s – These are a must in any workplace however the number of rest rooms you are likely to require will again depend on your employee numbers. It’s important to consider where the WC’s will be located, paying particular attention to the location of disabled access. If your office mezzanine is multi tiered it’s likely that you will need WC’s on each floor level. Rest rooms may be a necessity, but comfort and pleasantries are just as important so allow space for enough individual cubicles in WC areas and give thought to fixtures and decor.

Canteen and kitchen – Provide your employees with space away from their workstations in which they can take time out to relax, take a break and have lunch.  Consider many employees are likely to have their lunch break at one time, this will help you calculate seating areas, food storage cupboards requirements and food preparation facilities. An adequately sized space with attractive fixtures and fitting and nice decor will make lunch breaks pleasurable and comfortable for your employees.

staff canteen area

Front desk reception – On entering the companies office area’s the front desk reception space will be the initial starting point. Whether you only require one front of house receptionist or more, the space itself should feel open and welcoming especially to visitors entering the premises for the first time.

Storage rooms – Stationary, boxed files, equipment for cleaners, all of these items will require a safe, secure storage area. It may be that you will only require a small cupboard or multiple storage rooms depending on your individual requirements; however these areas are just as important to consider.

Communal areas–This could be corridors, photocopy rooms or just a space to allow employees to meet for coffee breaks to socialise away from their workstations.

staff area

 

Health, safety and regulations

If you’re concerned about health and safety or legal regulations, you can rest assured that WSL guarantee the very highest safety standards and that all legalities regarding your mezzanine structure will be met. From design to completion our highly qualified and experienced team will work together and with official regulators to make certain of this and will pass all official legal and safety documentation to you.

Is fire rating required on an office mezzanine floor?

Because the mezzanine floor will be occupied by your employees fire rating is required to provide as much protection as possible in the event of a fire. Fire rating will allow extra time to evacuate all occupants of the mezzanine therefore it’s crucial that fire rating is included in the design.  Fire rating acts as a protective shield surrounding the structure made up of specialist heat resistant panels and fascia. These are fitted around the mezzanine structural columns, the underside and exposed edges and are installed during the construction stage having been included in the design of the mezzanine.

Will building regulations need to be considered for an office mezzanine floor?

Building regulations outline specific health and safety standards which must be adhered to in relation to construction projects. This is to ensure the health and safety of people associated with the project. For the construction of a mezzanine floor, building regulations include:

  • Fire Safety – As well as fire rating, these regulations are in place to ensure a quick, easy escape in the event of an emergency evacuation therefore the mezzanine design must be compliant by ensuring access to escape routes are not compromised.
  • Safety of use – This includes adequate edge protection and safe access, for example a safe to use staircase with handrails and in-fills.
  • Structural safety – The mezzanine is in no danger of collapse

To ensure fire safety and UK Building Regulations are met, our Technical Designer will liaise with Regulating Officers on your behalf to ensure the design meets all health and safety expectations. This will be inspected on completion of the project by the Regulating Officer to confirm that the installation meets the approved design safety standards initially approved. This will be completed without any need for you to do anything and you will be handed official documentation highlighting that all health and safety regulations have been complied with.

Does an office mezzanine floor require planning permission?

An office mezzanine floor is an internal structure and because it has no effect on the building structure itself there is no requirement for planning permission. That being said, there is a need to obtain planning permission if you wish to add windows to your building to allow external light to the mezzanine, or add fire escape doors and external staircases from the mezzanine level. In short planning permission is only required for alterations to the external building, but not for the mezzanine itself.

Does an office mezzanine project require a Principal Designer and Principal Contractor?

It is a legal requirement for you as the project owner to appoint a Principal Designer and Principal Contractor. Their role is to ensure health and safety is monitored and maintained throughout both the design and construction stages. WSL can eliminate this worry as our entire team of both Technical Designers and Project Managers are highly proficient in the latest CDM 2015 Regulations. Your dedicated WSL Technical Designer and Project Manager have the competence and experience to act as your Principal Designer and Principal Contractor saving you time and money on appointing them yourself.

Your office mezzanine floor design

Your mezzanine floor office design is a crucial part of the project which is why a highly experienced WSL Technical Designer would bring a great advantage to your project.  At WSL we begin the process with a free site survey which entails a visit to site by your local Technical Designer who will take this opportunity to assess your space and learn more about your business requirements and your goals. At WSL we use highly sophisticated computer assisted drafting software so after the visit the designer will draw up your office mezzanine floor plans. This will allow you to visualise your space with your mezzanine structure in place and will see how well it will work in the premises. The free plan and quotation will be issued to you by our designer who will await your approval and will be on hand should you have any further questions.

Manufacturing you office mezzanine floor

Once your plans have been approved they will be sent to our in-house factory in Leeds, West Yorkshire. Our entire team work under the same roof which means communication errors are eliminated. Therefore, your project will go through its process smoothly. Our ability to manufacture your office mezzanine floor in-house carries the added bonus of cutting out the middle man which results in reduced costs to you. It also means there are no time delays and we can offer you more flexibility.

mezzanine floor manufacturing

From our 37,000 sq ft manufacturing hub we will manufacture your mezzanine with associated staircases and ancillaries to the very highest safety and quality standards. We manufacture in accordance to the UKCA regulations as a long standing certification holder.  For more quality assurance, a mezzanine floor manufactured by WSL is a mezzanine manufactured by a Full SEMA Member (Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association) and as a full member WSL play a key role in not just following quality safety standards, but setting them too.

The UKCA Marking LOGO

 

 

Installing your office mezzanine floor

When your plans are sent to our factory, our Technical Designer will hand your project over to one of our proficient Project Managers. Within our open plan office the WSL team are in constant contact with each other so throughout the project your designer will be kept up to date with your project. Your assigned Project Manager will make contact with you and will manage the project from that point, keeping you up to date with progress and will be present during the installation until completion. Our extremely professional and friendly installers will work as a team to safely install your mezzanine and if your premises are in operation they can work over night, at quieter hours or safely around your operation.  They will work quickly yet thoroughly and leave the area clean and tidy on completion.

Project management on site as installation takes place

 

Looking for an office mezzanine turnkey project?

WSL don’t just stop at designing, manufacturing and installing your office mezzanine floor, we offer full turnkey solutions. With your office mezzanine you’re likely to require lighting, heating, air conditioning, decorating, flooring, fixtures and furnishing. Having been a mezzanine floor specialist for over 30 years, WSL have long standing, well established relationships with all associated trades required to complete your project. We trust our trade relationships and you can rely on us to ensure that each one of them will deliver the high quality of service and products you will expect. This takes pressure away from yourself whilst saving you time and money, so for your turnkey office mezzanine floor project, you can trust WSL.

WSL Project Manager and third party contractor working together

 

To discuss your office mezzanine floor requirements, contact WSL today on 0113 2045350 or email us at sales@wslmail.co.uk

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