Many business owners will know that property costs are a major investment for their company. So shouldn’t the warehouse maximise its return on that investment? For many companies, this isn’t happening because there is a huge expanse of unused space. So how do you tap into this space and make it work for the business?
One of the most effective ways to add to the workable footprint of the warehouse is to invest in a mezzanine floor. These are great for all virtually all sectors and can be used for warehouse storage, additional retail space or creating extra office capacity.
What is a mezzanine floor?
In its simplest form, a mezzanine is a free standing structure that increases the footprint of the warehouse or commercial space. As all requirements differ depending on the business and their needs, each mezzanine designed by Quickline is a bespoke solution to best suit and optimise the available space.
Depending on the requirements of the business and available space, multi-tier mezzanines can also be erected, if the space is over 8.5 metres in height. This can enable the space to be multi-use, utilising “dead space” and further improving ROI.
Mezzanines are perfect in creating additional space for industries such as distribution centres, warehouses and manufacturing. But they are also ideal for creating extra retail space and in leisure industries such as hospitality and gyms.
How can a mezzanine improve my business?
There are many reasons why a mezzanine floor may be the ideal solution to suit a businesses needs. It might be that it has grown and requires more office space for workers, or that new product lines have been introduced with extra storage space needed. Or, maybe, supplier lead times and tariffs necessitate holding larger amounts of inventory. New uses for existing spaces, such as opening a café or a gym, can require additional space, which a mezzanine floor can provide. This can save the business the cost and upheaval of acquiring and moving to new premises.
When looking to increase capacity, many businesses are likely to look at their existing space first and think their only option is to spread out at ground level by building an extension or using yard space. However, this is likely to cost more money in building work or potentially reducing income as there will be fewer trucks in the yard or a reduction in customer parking bays which affects footfall. By building upwards, where the space permits, the business does not lose essential space from the footprint, but still gets the additional capacity it needs to grow.
Additionally, the installation of a mezzanine will have limited disruption to the day-to-day operation of the business. Once the uprights are erected, the build takes place above the workforce and does affect the existing building structure. This means there is very limited downtime for the business, ensuring continued operations and servicing of customer orders and needs.
Mezzanine floors can also help to future proof a business as they are completely adaptable and extendable. This means that as your business grows, the mezzanine can be adapted to fit these growing needs, thus allowing the business to optimise the full capacity of the existing space which can help to improve profits.
Finally, mezzanine floors can help to improve the operational flow and layout of the warehouse, which can boost productivity by allowing the operator and flow of goods to be more efficient.
What do I need to consider?
There are a number of things to consider before the installation of a mezzanine floor can begin, such as the access, safety and the involvement of Building Control.
Whilst a mezzanine doesn’t necessarily need planning permission, it will be subjected to building control regulations which are supported by a number of approved documents. A number of criteria from these apply to mezzanine floors, such as Part A – Structure, Part B – Fire Safety and Part K – Protection from falling, collision and impact. Quickline will help you navigate through these regulations and ensure all installations are compliant with Building Control.
Access is a key consideration for any mezzanine, for both people and goods. Operators can access mezzanines using staircases and lifts, and these will be designed to be in the most efficient location to aid them. If the mezzanine is used for storage of goods, pallet gates allow for them to be transported to the relevant level without the need of heavy lifting and avoiding health and safety risks. For the retrieval of goods, they can be palletised on the pick level and removed by a fork truck from the pallet gate, or they can be sent down a chute to a packing area. All staircases must comply with building control regulations.
Steel handrails and kicker plates are fitted on all mezzanine floors, where required for safety and to provide edge protection. There are other options available to suit the environment and use of space, such as stainless steel with glass for new offices. All handrails and edge protection solutions will be compliant with building control regulations.
Multi-tier mezzanines can improve the available storage capacity but consideration must be given to the floor height and overhead clearance. Mezzanine floors can be set at any height, but there must be a 2m clearance in all directions for the staircase. For more than one mezzanine level, there must be more than 8.5m headroom.
Building Control regulations will often stipulate that mezzanines must have fire protection. The most cost effective way to provide fire protection is to use a sprinkler system – if there isn’t already one on site, this can be included in the installation. Where a sprinkler system isn’t an option, fire rated columns, bulkhead and ceilings would offer protection against fire.
At Quickline, we can design, plan and project manage the installation to help you maximise your existing space and ensure it operates in the most efficient and effective way for your business. Contact us today to discuss the best way to deliver your project.