Case study

Thinking of relocating? Have you considered the warehouse mezzanine floor solution instead?

Mar 10, 2021 | Mezzanine Floors

In recent years and during the last twelve months in particular, we have seen significant changes in consumer patterns which have added pressure on warehouses and manufacturing hubs throughout the UK. To stay ahead of their game, businesses have been forced to adapt as they strive to meet the new trend of online shopping as well as an increased demand for specific product groups. This has meant operational changes for many facilities with increased speed, employee head count and product flow volume, however managing this has become a real challenge for those with limited space.

Relocating is an option, but is it a viable one given the difficulties, costs, time and inconvenience involved in business relocation? An extension could be a possibility however it is costly, disruptive and time consuming with a requirement to obtain planning permission before any works can begin.

There is however, a low cost, simpler and much faster solution and that’s the warehouse mezzanine floor. Rapidly growing in popularity the mezzanine floor is a regular sight in today’s commercial and industrial buildings. It provides additional floor space which can be used to improve business operations without any affect on the original building structure and for this reason, there’s no need to obtain planning permission.

4 Tier Earehouse Mezzanine Floor

 

So what is a warehouse mezzanine?

A warehouse mezzanine floor is an independent steel structure and is constructed within the original building to provide upper level usable floor space.The single or multi tiered floor levels sit between the ground floor and ceiling of the building so however limited your floor space is, if you have sufficient height space in your facility, this is a very viable solution.  A mezzanine floor platform has the ability to transform any building by utilising wasted overhead space and this is particularly useful in warehouse facilities or manufacturing hubs. These operations can often find they have suddenly and quickly run out of space due business growth and even a small mezzanine floor can make way for significant improvements to such busy operations.

A crammed warehouse can lead to multiple problems which can affect overall productivity including:

  • Inefficient stock management
  • Time wasted on fruitless activity

Both of the above can have a negative impact on customer service whilst day to day running costs can begin to rise. By implementing a mezzanine floor, you are effectively increasing the amount of space you can use within your premises and this gives you the room needed to organise and streamline your operation.

Warehouse mezzanine platform

 

How can a warehouse mezzanine floor be used?

The primary purpose of a warehouse mezzanine floor is to create more workspace above the original floor surface without any need to extend the building itself. A warehouse or manufacturing facility can use the upper level or levels in a number of ways:

The Storage Mezzanine Floor

Put your redundant overhead space to work by implementing a storage mezzanine floor which can drastically increase storage capacity within the building’s original cubic area. A storage mezzanine floor whether single or multi tiered is designed and built to support your heavy storage weight loads with the inclusion of any integrated warehouse racking or shelving systems. The storage mezzanine can also support the weight of very heavy machinery and where speed is a priority automated conveyor systems can be incorporated. There’s also the benefit of versatility as the mezzanine floor can incorporate other uses as well as storage including staff facilities or offices and with the right design, the mezzanine floor can be future proof so your facility is always prepared.

Mutli tier warehouse mezzanine floor

 

Storage mezzanine floor access

Staircases – These will enable quick access to any mezzanine floor and although style and colour is a matter of preference, at WSL we recommend dark staircases with bright coloured nosing for a mezzanine used for storage as it increases visibility when being used. Staircases can be quantified, positioned and shaped to match your specific requirements whilst meeting the safety standards of UK Building Regulations. With any type of mezzanine floor, fast and safe access is vital to ensuring a safe exit should an emergency situation arise.In some busy storage facilities with a particularly large or multi tier mezzanine it’s wise to add external staircase which can be fitted directly to the external wall with the creation of an emergency door leadingdirectly outside from the mezzanine level. Its worth noting that although the mezzanine itself does not require planning permission, an external staircase and fire exit door would need to be approved by your local planning authority.

straicases - storage mezzanine

 

Pallet gates – Place fully loaded pallets onto the storage mezzanine level from the floor bellow safely with the use of a fork lift truck and a pallet gate. As the pallet is placed onto the mezzanine floor at the gate opening, the gate creates a barrier to ensure exposed edges are sealed of during the process. Once the pallet is in place and the fork lift truck has released the pallet, the up and over gate switches sides so the operator can access the pallet safely to move it away from the area.

Mezzanine with Pallet Gate

 

Goods Lift – Another way to transport loaded pallets, grates, trolleys or even multiple singular boxes is a goods lift. These can vary in size and style however there is plenty of choice on the market. Some lifts are embedded into the mezzanine floor which will take some of the mezzanine floor space and others are fitted against the mezzanine. The goods lift is an effective solution allowing a very safe way to transport goods and works faster with less effort when operators work in collaboration on the different floor levels with one loading the lift on one floor and the other offloading it on the destination floor.

Mezzanine floor with two lifts supporting a multi tier picking system

 

The Office Mezzanine Floor

Increased activity will often result in the recruit of more employees and if office space is becoming a squeeze yet you don’t want to compromise the main works space an office mezzanine floor can become an indispensable addition to your warehouse facility. Office mezzanines can relieve the pressure when your warehouse is operating at full capacity and running out of space altogether is looking imminent. Offices can be housed above the mezzanine level to allow more space on the ground floor for production and warehouse activities. There’s also the option to extend existing offices upwards rather take away some of the shop floor space to use for offices. A warehouse mezzanine can be practical and attractive at the same time when designed for office space. The mezzanine can be fitted with WC’s, partition walls, carpets or flooring, furnishing, lighting, heating and air-conditioning to create a comfortable area for office staff to work away from the main warehouse or factory area.

Office mezzanine above ground floor of a warehouse and manufacturing facility

 

Office mezzanine floor access

Staircase – Generally a staircase will be the primary form of access too and from an office mezzanine floor and like the mezzanine floor itself, the staircases are designed and built to match your exact requirements. A mezzanine’s accompanying staircase can even become a feature part of the structure through creativity. The shape, style and colour can make the mezzanine floor offices feel inviting and look modern.

office mezzanine with staircase

Passenger lifts – These can also be incorporated to ensure disabled access or simply to ease travel for anyone using the mezzanine floor.

The Production Mezzanine Floor

Productivity is at the heart of any manufacturing facility which is why adequate space for this to be continually streamlined and organised is essential. A production mezzanine floor can be design and built to carry the weight of even the heaviest production machinery and equipment.  A production mezzanine floor is particularly useful where there’s need to expand manufacturing to introduce new products or meet a surge in demand.

Production mezzanine with packing benches

 

Production mezzanine floor access

Conveyors – Staircases, lifts and pallet gates can all widely used transportation methods for production mezzanine floors however a conveyor is particularly useful for fast paced production, as the conveyor belt can be used to swiftly and effectively transport goods from level to level in both directions.

Incline Conveyor Belt Upper level

 

Goods Chute – Also practical for fast paced storage mezzanine floors, the goods chute can take individual boxes or items from upper level to lower very quickly. Using gravity the chute is one directional and will only take items to lower levels however this is ideal for an operation configured to work in this order.

Mezzanine Chute

 

How do you make a mezzanine floor?

As a mezzanine floor manufacturer, this is something we are regularly asked. At WSL, we begin the process of making a mezzanine floor by first designing the structure so it can be manufactured and installed to perfectly fit the intended space.  Another important design factor is weight bearing as the mezzanine must safely support its intended use. To ensure this, a Technical Designer from our highly experienced team will visit the site and carry out a free site survey. Part of this visit will involve getting to know your business operation and understanding your requirements whilst answering and questions you may have.

Using computer assisted drafting technology, our designer will work on the mezzanine floor design and produce a drawn up plan to enable you to visualise your potential mezzanine floor in your space.

Design Team using Computer Assisted Drafting Software

 

On approval with confirmation you are happy to go ahead with the project your plans are then transferred to our in house factory where our engineers begin manufacturing the steel component parts to the exact specification of the design. As well as the mezzanine structure this includes the associated staircases, handrails, edge protection, pallet gates and protection columns. WSL is accredited to the UKCA certification which recently replaced the CE Marking for UK Manufacturers however the same stringent standards still remain. WSL obtained the CE marking accreditation when it became a legal requirement in 2014 and we were the first British mezzanine floor manufacturer to become a Full SEMA Member whilst holding this certification. Our accreditations are held proudly by WSL as a one on the UK’s leading mezzanine floor manufacturers who can guarantee quality and safety standards at their very highest.

WSL Factory Welding Image

One of the main benefits of sourcing your mezzanine floor directly from a manufacturer is added flexibility. All under one roof our design team and fabrication engineers communicate directlyso any last minute changes or any complex specifications can be met more effectively.

 

Will the mezzanine floor installation disrupt my business?

As WSL, we appreciate the anticipation of construction work being carried out whilst continuing to operate which is why our installation team work around you and your business. We can attend site during closing hours to complete the work or during quiet periods if the facility is in 24 hour operation.  To minimise disruption, our professional installation team can construct the mezzanine one section at a time so only the working area will be sealed off at any one time so you can still operate as we work. The time it takes for a mezzanine floor installation will vary depending on its size so it can range from a few days to a few weeks, however we will have your mezzanine floor fully installed within the agreed timescale and your site will be left tidy. On completion our project manager will carry out final checks and arrange a regulating officer to attend the site to ensure all UK Building Regulations are met in accordance to the plans they originally approved. Documentation of this will then be handed to you.

mezzanine floor installation

 

How much does a warehouse mezzanine floor cost?

A warehouse mezzanine floor will vary in size and weight bearing capabilities and these are contributing factors to the mezzanine floor cost, however in comparison to a building extension or relocation the final mezzanine floor price would be significantly lower and you’ll likely see a great return on your investment. To obtain a precise cost of your warehouse mezzanine without obligation WSL can arrange a free site survey carried out by one of our experienced Design Technicians.

 

Warehouse mezzanine floor safety considerations

A warehouse or manufacturing facility is a busy environment, with movement of people, handling equipment and machinery. Here’s how WSL ensures a safe warehouse mezzanine floor throughout the project and beyond:

Mezzanine floor – UK Building regulations with fire safety

From the start of the process, WSL ensure all fire safety and UK Building Regulations are met. Once we have designed your mezzanine floor we send the plans to official UK Building Regulating Officers who oversee the plans to ensure they meet the full criteria. On completion of the project, the officer will attend the site to ensure the mezzanine floor has been completed in accordance to the previously approved plans and once satisfied, official documentation will be signed off and handed to you.

Under the UK Building Regulations the mezzanine floor access must be safe and secure with staircases that have been designed, manufactured and fitted to enable safe use without risks. The staircases must also be positioned to allow escape without obstruction in the event of an emergency evacuation.

Fire rating is also essential for any mezzanine floor which is accessed by three or more people at one time, exceeds 400 square metres or extends over half of the ground floor space bellow.  Fire rating panels and fascias which are fitted to the mezzanine structure provide up to one hour of protection against fire and heat to allow enough time to evacuate in the event of a fire.

Safety and Quality Accreditations – Our highly recognised accreditations reflect our commitment to health, safety and quality giving you added assurance that your mezzanine floor project is in the best hands.

UKCA & SEMA Accreditation LOGO's

 

Principal Designer and Principal Contractor – WSL can take the responsibility from you as the project owner to source a Principal Designer and Principal Contractor which is a legal requirement for any project carried out by more than one person. At WSL our entire team have the experience along with their proficiency in CDM 2015 to take these roles. This means we can monitor and manage the health, safety and wellbeing of all involved throughout the design stage and installation stage.

Column Guards – Although the steel mezzanine floor structure is robust and built to withhold its strength, a little extra protection can go a long way especially in busy facilities where people and machinery are on the move. Column protectors are fitted securely around the base of the mezzanine columns to take the impact of knocks from moving lifting equipment. Constant knocks can over time weaken the structure however column protectors prevent the structure itself from being affected. WSL can manufacture these as part of our service and you can choose the style and colour to suit.

Colum guards

 

Edge Protection – A mezzanine floor has an open edge which must be secured with railings and in-fill’s however these come in a variety of formats and can be chosen to suit your facility and requirements with safety in mind. A glass infill for example would not be suited to a storage mezzanine floor but would work well for an office environment. WSL manufacture the steel handrail components and these can be designed to meet your desired look with a choice in colour and style.

Mezzanine edge protection

 

Weight Load Notices –Your warehouse mezzanine floor will be designed to take a maximum weight and to ensure anyone using the mezzanine floor is aware of the correct weight load bearing we can provide weight load notices which are easy to read and understand. We recommend displaying the notices in an area where they can be seen easily without the need to look for them.

Mezzanine floor weight load notice

 

To discuss your warehouse mezzanine floor requirements, contact WSL today so we can arrange your free site survey. Reach us on 0113 2045350 or email us at sales@wslmail.co.uk

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