Case study

What are mezzanine floor ancillaries and why are they necessary?

If you’re considering a mezzanine floor, have you given much thought to ancillary equipment? If not this article will help you understand why mezzanine ancillary equipment is so important, the different types of ancillaries and which of these fitted allies you may need for your mezzanine floor.

The most crucial thing to know about mezzanine floor ancillaries is that they are necessary additions to the mezzanine for the simple reason that they ensure safety, functionality and practicality. A mezzanine floor is unattainable without its ancillary allies because they enable safe access, safe use and sustainability.

As a UK leading mezzanine floor manufacturer, WSL fabricate many of these all important accessories and like the mezzanine itself, ancillaries manufactured by WSL are completely bespoke. During the design process our Design Technician will carry out a free site survey during which, he or she will discuss your requirements in detail.  This will ensure a mezzanine floor design that will accommodate all your needs in terms of size, position weight bearing and of course ancillaries. Your mezzanine floor and associated ancillaries will be designed and manufactured in accordance to the relevant UK Building Regulations.  Certified to UKCA which has recently replaced the CE Marking for UK manufacturers and as a Full Member of SEMA, WSL guarantee the very highest level of quality and safety throughout your project and beyond.

multi tier warehouse mezzanine floor manufactured by WSL

 

What are the different ancillary products?

Before we go through the different types of mezzanine ancillaries, you should know that although the role of the accessories is to protect the structure and anyone using it, not all mezzanines require the same ancillaries. The ancillaries needed for your mezzanine floor will largely depend on how you intend to use the platform and although they are an essential requirement, they are cleverly designed to suit the look of your mezzanine.

Staircases

As the primary access feature, a staircase will be required for all mezzanine floors, however the style, shape and number of staircases will depend on the size of the mezzanine and how it will be used.

WSL design and manufacture mezzanine floor staircases in accordance to K-Section one of the UK Building Regulations  which enforces safe use and B-Section one which applies safe evacuation. These include strict guidelines relating to the dimensions of the staircase and height of the handrail to ensure ease of use with potential hazards eliminated. The right staircase positioning is also a legal requirement to ensure a fast, safe evacuation in the event of an emergency. Although these safety aspects are at the forefront of the design, there’s still plenty of opportunity to style the staircases to suit your unique requirements:

Location – Choosing the right location for the staircase is crucial to fire safety and can help reduce travel times, but for those whose mezzanine floor will accommodate retail space or offices the staircase becomes more than just a practical solution. Fire safety, practicality and visual impact can be combined when designing a retail or office mezzanine. A retailer for example, who has more products displayed on the mezzanine will benefit from a staircase in full view so their customers become aware that there’s another floor to explore. Our Designers will use their many years of knowledge and experience to ensure such requirements are met when designing the staircase whilst ensuring all safety regulations are adhered too.

office mezzanine L shaped against the wall

 

Shape – How your mezzanine staircase is shaped, depends on the area around where it will be positioned and located. A staircase running against a wall is likely to be straight with the option of a mid landing. Or even L shaped if the lower ground space permits. A central front of house staircase is highly popular in office or retail environments with many opting for the Y shape because of how it looks and the directional options when using it.

This retail mezzanine features a Y shaped staircase

 

Colour – The staircase colour can be to your preferences although it’s recommended that back of house or warehouse mezzanine staircases are dark in colour with brightly coloured nosing. The most popular choice is black with yellow nosing because there’s more visibility of the steps, adding safety should an employee use them whilst carrying items. If you’re looking beyond just practicality because you want your staircase to entice visitors to explore the mezzanine or you want the staircase to feature in your office building you can choose a colour to match your theme or desired look.

Grey retail mezzanine floor stairs

 

Quantity – A large mezzanine floor will likely require more than just one staircase to ensure a fast and safe exit in the event of an emergency and to reduce general travel times. In some cases additional mezzanine staircase are located on the external wall of the building with an exit door created leading directly from the mezzanine to the outside of the building. This is common on warehouse mezzanines used for storage or multi tiered mezzanines where staff on the upper levels would take longer to leave via the internal stairways.

Balustrades and handrails

These are located along the stairway and around the edges of the mezzanine floor itself to prevent falls when accessing them. A mezzanine and staircase without these vital security fixings would be deemed unsafe and illegal to use. Although they are must, you can choose the style of handrails and balustrades to suit your needs and match your desired look. This means you can choose the colour to match your theme and material to meet your needs. A warehouse mezzanine floor is unlikely to opt for glass balustrades in case of heavy machinery colliding with it. Instead a warehouse mezzanine would be most suited to steel handrails and steel balustrades. This could be a mesh steel infill for example. An office mezzanine or retail mezzanine may opt for stainless steel handrails with glass infill. Either way, your handrails and none glass infill’s can be of any colour you choose.

Stainless steel handrail with glass infill

 

Pallet gates

This is a vital support to those using their mezzanine floor for storage. A pallet gate ensures the safe loading of pallets to and from the mezzanine level. A forklift truck is used on the lower level to reach up to load and unload the pallets. The pallet gate provides a safe space on the mezzanine in which to carry out this activity by securing the area around the pallet to prevent injury. The up and over pallet gate designed and manufactured by WSL ensures the edge of the mezzanine is secure at all times whilst the pallet gate is in use to prevent any accidental falls.

mezzanine with pallet gate

 

Goods Chutes

If you intend to use your mezzanine to support a fast paced operation with goods moving at speed then a goods chute is an ideal solution. You can transport items from upper to lower levels within seconds simply by placing them on the chute where gravity allows them to slide down to be collected once they reach the bottom. The chutes are ideal for individual products and boxes which have been picked from the storage systems on the mezzanine. They create a fast and effective way to transport the goods to the lower level where they are prepared for despatch, allowing for a speedy yet streamlined customer order fulfilment process. Goods chutes were fitted to the multi tiered mezzanine floor WSL implemented at the Fat Face Distribution Centre in Havant. The popular clothing retailer chose to adopt this solution to enable them to fulfil orders at a very high speed with consistency.

warehouse mezzanine floor chutes

 

Lifts

Goods lift – Another way to move fully loaded pallets from level to level is a goods lift which is also useful for trolleys, crates and individual boxes. Goods lifts vary in weight load capacity, style and size so to ensure the right lift for your mezzanine, our Design Technician will ask you about the loads you’re likely to be transporting.

Passenger lift – With more and more businesses adopting disability access, the demand for passenger lifts for new mezzanine floors is on the rise. Passenger lifts are particularly useful for those looking to install a multi level mezzanine floor to make access from the ground floor to the top levels easier.

mezzanine floor goods lift

 

Conveyors

If the movement of goods is constant and you’re looking for an effective way to transport goods from level to level in a continual but fast manner, then a conveyor may be your ideal solution. Moving goods using a conveyor system is much faster than a lift making it a highly effective alternative if its speed you’re looking for.

Chutes and conveyors

 

Decking

Decking provides the mezzanine upper level with a solid floor finish. Made up of panels that slot together the decking hides the mezzanine beams underneath creating a perfectly flat and safe surface on which to walk on. Decking panels can vary in material including practical board, textured panels and composite panels so the right decking for your mezzanine will depend on how you will use your floor and your preferences. Our Design Technician will discuss decking options during the site visit.

Hard ware decking on warehouse storage mezzanine

 

Kicker plates

Kicker plates are an essential part of mezzanine floor edge protection. These are plates that are fitted around the edging of the mezzanine to form miniature wall. They create a barrier to prevent small items from making their way between the floor and handrail where they can roll or fall over the edge. The size and colour of kicker plates can vary depending on your needs and this is why WSL design and manufacture these as part of your mezzanine floor structure to ensure the plates are the perfect size and style for your individual requirements.

Hand rails and kicker plates

 

Fire rated fittings

One of the most crucial extras to your mezzanine floor is fire rated fittings because without them, you are risking the lives of anyone using the platform.  Fire rating is required legally for mezzanines used by employees or visitors and this requires special fire and heat resistant tiles, casings and fascias which are fitted to the mezzanines underside, columns and edging. These protective fitting will resist the heat and flames from a fire for up to one hour allowing enough time for evacuation.

A fire rated retail mezzanine floor

 

Column protectors

Although highly robust, the steel legs on which your mezzanine floor stands on are at risk of weakening when frequently knocked and bumped by heavy machinery. This is why a mezzanine floor in a warehouse of factory environment is likely to have column protectors in place. The steel barrier around the base of the column will take the impact from moving machinery rather than the mezzanine structural columns. These can be coloured and shaped to suit your environment and as a manufacturer of mezzanine column protectors, WSL can ensure a bespoke solution.

Mezzanine column protectors

 

Signage

Any persons accessing or working on the mezzanine floor must be able to identify the mezzanines maximum weight load bearing. This is particularly important for those using the mezzanine for storage or production. Although a mezzanine floor is specifically designed to uphold the weight of its intended use, load notices are vital to ensure the mezzanine is not unintentionally overloaded.

If you would like to discuss your mezzanine floor project or explore related ancillary equipment further, call WSL today on 0113 2045350 or email sales@wslmail.co.uk

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