5 Common Questions To Be Answered in Mezzanine Design and Planning
There are several features and options that you should consider when you designing a warehouse mezzanine. In this section we will discuss the questions, organizations will need to answer and how these answers will affect mezzanine design.
Question 1: What is the weight of the material that you will be placing on the mezzanine structure?
The weight of material will have a lot to do with how your mezzanine needs to be designed. For example, you might need a simple storage mezzanine that will be used to keep materials or boxes off the floor.
If you are going to building racks or stacking heavy materials the build-out of a proper mezzanine structure will require an estimated weight of the material to be stored so that an accurate load rating can be calculated.
Finally, if your plan is to build an equipment mezzanine, then the weight load points of the equipment are needed. This way the design can factor extra support under the point loads and reduce costs for extra mezzanine support steel in areas that will receive standard loading.
Question 2: What is the needed mezzanine deck height, clear height below the mezzanine, and height requirements above the mezzanine?
This question will help in value engineering mezzanine construction. Let’s assume the total available clear height in the area where you plan to build the mezzanine structure is 19 feet. You hope to have an under mezzanine clear height of 9 feet and plan to use the top of the mezzanine as a modular in-plant office or storage mezzanine space. For a modular in-plant office, we might recommend at least 8’6” clear space between the top mezzanine deck and the facilities roof structure. This leaves you 1’6” for the mezzanine structural steel.
Knowing the space available for your mezzanine will help a great deal in how to go about designing the right structure and making assessments on the correct complementary functionality.
Question 3: What is the use of the mezzanine floor?
There are several different mezzanine floor options. These options are best narrowed by the utilization of the mezzanine and available budget.
The standard mezzanine flooring is oriented strand board (OSB). OSB is great if you plan to build a modular in-plant office or store materials that will be moved by hand. OSB provides a durable surface for foot traffic and provides a great sub-floor if you wanted to vinyl or carpet inside a modular in-plant office on the mezzanine.
OSB is not designed for moving pallets with a pallet jack. The wheels will eventually start to splinter the surface of the OSB, so if you plan to move materials with a pallet jack on the mezzanine, then it is best to consider composite material. Several composite materials are designed for this particular purpose.
Mezzanine composite flooring materials range in thickness from 1/2” to 1 1/8”. The thickness depends on the weight of material being moved and the material the warehouse mezzanine flooring is mounted on.
For OSB and mezzanine composite flooring, a layer of corrugated steel decking is attached to the mezzanine structure first. This adds strength to the mezzanine flooring and provides a smooth surface for attaching the material to.
Another option is in using bar-grating for flooring, which allows light from above the mezzanine to shine through to the floor below. This also permits the HVAC of the room to work still as designed. This is great if you build a mezzanine that covers the majority of a room.
Finally, plate steel can also be used as a mezzanine flooring. Plate still can range in thickness, but is usually 1/8” to 1/2”. Just be aware that if you are using 1/8” plate steel, you will need a layer of metal decking underneath reduce the deflection.
Plate steel can be smooth or have diamond treads. The latter is the most expensive option but is the most durable.
Question 4: How much space do you have for the stairway and at what angle will the stairway attach to the mezzanine?
Stairways can run different lengths based on tread depth and space. Most stairways are based on either OSHA or IBC standards. OSHA mezzanine stairways are steeper than IBC mezzanine stair requirements. This allows you to use less space for your stairway.
For some areas, IBC mezzanine stairs have to be used, thus requiring a longer run.
Also, consider that if you need the mezzanine stairway to run parallel to the mezzanine itself, then you will need to have a landing that is attached to the mezzanine AND the stairway. A landing is not necessary if the stairway is runs perpendicular to the mezzanine.
One final factor that will impact the design of your mezzanine stairway is the height of the mezzanine itself. If the mezzanine is over 12’ tall, then the stairway will need to have an intermediary landing.
Question 5: Will you need handrail all the way around the mezzanine?
A handrail is necessary for all sides of the mezzanine that are open to the floor below. The common way to avoid implementing a portion of a mezzanine handrail is to take advantage of existing walls.
If your organization can design your mezzanine to be against one or more wall spaces, it will reduce the amount of mezzanine handrail required.
A standard mezzanine handrail has two rails with a kick plate and is 42” high. It is worth noting that if an organization plans to build a wire partition enclosure or a modular in-plant office on the mezzanine a handrail might not be needed if these structures touch the edge (of the mezzanine floor).
These are some of the common questions that are asked or need to be considered when quoting an appropriate mezzanine project for any organization. While this may seem like a lot of information to absorb, understanding these needs, space available, and requirements will provide the most reliable quote and recommendations for mezzanine development possible. We can also help you with controlled environments in your facilities like noise, dust and temperature control.
Do you have a need for a steel mezzanine project? We’ve love to hear more. Please contact us today!