A mezzanine floor is located at a level intermediate to that of the main building floors. By using redundant headroom, mezzanines optimise space and increase the floor area. Mezzanine floors may also be used as observation decks overlooking a work space or creating area for storage systems. Their application is common in residential, commercial and industrial buildings. Read this guide to fitting mezzanine floors for information on planning and construction.
Planning and design
Critical parameters in mezzanine designs are intended dimensions, anticipated loading based on the functions and supporting arrangement. Mezzanine floor extents can cover whole or part of the floor below. Interesting interplay between volumes may be created by limiting floor extents which can also improve indoor lighting condition. Building regulations specify criteria like maximum extent, headroom, access requirements and fire-fighting in relation to mezzanine design and must be complied with. Mezzanine floors have a critical role in operation, comfort and safety aspects of a building. Their installation requires precision and detail. Professional expertise from architects and specialist contractors should be sought when fitting a mezzanine floor.
Based on the relation of the mezzanine with the main structure, there are three types. Freestanding floors have solid foundations and do not need additional reinforcement. Catwalk floors or shelving storage supported floors may have additional reinforcement like columns and are common as commercial storage or additional work floors. Full-mat floors are a combination of free-standing and catwalk floors. Mezzanines are also available as pre-engineered systems and modular mezzanines supplied by manufacturers as a kit-of-parts. Some customisation in response to loading and space criteria is possible in their design.
Common construction materials are steel, aluminium and fibreglass. A range of materials may be used as decking. Bar grating is used in open decks while wood may be used for closed decking.
Access systems like stairs should be planned keeping in mind that they integrate smoothly with the overall circulation of the space. When mezzanines are used to optimise space, as in office storage, they are generally used with space-saving staircase designs. However, in other situations like a showroom, the staircase may be designed as a decorative feature.
In industrial set-ups, access systems like platform lifts and goods lifts can also be installed to facilitate movement of heavy items from one level to the other.
Handrails are provided along stairs and may extend at floor edge to allow visual continuity between main floor and mezzanine. Partitions may be used for office fit-outs. Height of partition walls and material can affect internal daylight conditions.
A final word A mezzanine floor is not only effective at optimising space but with thoughtful design, it can result in creative volumes.