Mezzanines are elevated structures made from a variety of materials.
An industrial mezzanine is not to be confused with a mezzanine card, which is a type of printed circuit board assembly. Instead, these raised, often un-walled platforms provide a solution to businesses with space limitations that cannot afford or do not wish to conduct building construction or expansion.
Mezzanines can store unused materials, provide a work platform for equipment, walking space for facility guests, and seat people in auditoriums, among many other uses. Mezzanines can also provide a floor space or a ceiling for offices. A small, in-plant office, for example, could be built beneath a mezzanine; in which case, the mezzanine floor can simultaneously provide the office ceiling and a platform for storage. Conversely, an office could be built above, at mezzanine level, allowing the space below to be used for storage or for other uses.
Manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and service companies all make use of mezzanines. These consumers include those industries such as: food service, storage, manufacturing, agriculture, aerospace, retail, education, transportation, healthcare, outdoor recreation and more.
Industrial Mezzanine – Equipment Roundup Manufacturing
Industrial Mezzanine – Vision Towers
Crane Liftable Mezzanine Brow – Abtech, Inc.
Mezzanine System – Equipment Roundup Manufacturing
Crane Liftable Steel Stair Tower – Abtech, Inc.
Mezzanine Construction – Equipment Roundup Manufacturing
The History of Mezzanines
The word “mezzanine” is a borrowed French word, which is itself derived from the Italian mezzanino, a diminutive of mezzano meaning middle.
Mezzanine platforms have been around in some form or another for a countless number of years. Before the Industrial Revolution, they were most common as elements of the theater. Then, when department stores emerged in the mid-1800s, mezzanines found a new application as store levels. After the Industrial Revolution, mezzanine types like the warehouse mezzanine and storage mezzanine became a staple of manufacturing.
Today, mezzanines are just as relevant as ever, and even more easy to make, inexpensive and versatile.
The basic elements that you need to consider for stability of a mezzanine are base plates. If you are new to mezzanines, you probably do not know that all mezzanines move and are not a rigid structure. However, the movement is only allowed to a certain degree. Typically, two types of movement occur in the elevated structure, lateral and deflection, which is movement of deck when one moves on it. Poorly structured mezzanines with inadequate base plates and offset base plates have considerable movement, therefore, size and orientation of base plates becomes important. The base plates with 12 inches of length and breadth, and three fourth inches of width are recommended for standard mezzanines. Anchor bolts are as important as base plates, because they provide adequate seismic connection.
Columns are what give support to horizontal, twisting, and vertical loads. Therefore, while comparing quotes, you need to know the sizes of columns, since it is common practice to cut price by using undersized columns. Familiarize yourself the sizes of all columns. A recommended standard column is a 5" x 3/16" tube, which, more or less, gives support to varying loads.
Braces and Other Hardware
To add structural strength and reduce the lateral movement, braces are commonly used. Cross and knee braces are usually used in fabricating lighter structure; if the columns are undersized, make sure braces supplement them. It is common among fabricators to cut cost by bolting the structure with low quality nuts and bolts, high grade, such as A325, bolts and nuts are used.
Typically, mezzanine structures are built using hot rolled steel, cold rolled steel, or stainless steel. Manufacturers may also use aluminum and fiberglass. However, they may do so only when building lighter structures that would not be exposed to heavy loads.
Non-industrial mezzanines can be made with a number of materials, including wood. However, the place of wood plates are taken by composite lumber, which is extensively used for making mezzanine floors and has been proved to be a light and reliable solution. In industrial settings, mezzanines with wood flooring are only used for storage, for other purposes, mezzanines need better structural strength than what is offered by wood.
Industrial mezzanines' load bearing structures are typically made with steel elements and columns, which gives structural strength, and in some cases shelves or racks. However, different materials are used in making the deck, including steel and aluminum plates, fiberglass, and particle boards.
Steel plates are used when the deck has to withstand high loads, however, it is heavy and expensive, and construction costs escalate when using steel plate. When lower loads are exposed to a deck, aluminum plates are used, instead of steel plates, since aluminum plates are lighter and easy to maintain than steel. When the deck is being used in a corrosive environment, fiberglass is usually used for making mezzanine decks.
The most widely used material for making decks is particle board, which is made from bonding a number of boards together. They are used when the working environment is dry and do not have large point loads.
Regardless of their use or configuration, an important consideration that all manufacturers take into account during mezzanine design is worker safety. Most mezzanine access stairs have tread and are marked with brightly-colored or reflective tape to reduce slipping or stumbling risks, and perimeter railings help prevent falls.
There are many ways that you can have your mezzanine structure customized. First, to make storage and retrieval tasks less complicated, mezzanines can be equipped with lift, conveyor and/or pallet rack systems. You can also have them designed with any number of features, like stairs, a roof deck or railing.
Mezzanines work fairly simply. They stand still, waiting to be used. If they’re equipped with conveyor or lift systems, they also likely perform conveying or lifting tasks per the instruction of an automated or semi-automated system.
In addition, since many mezzanine systems are highly modular, they can be, if necessary, disassembled, expanded, reduced or relocated.
Depending on the construction materials and configuration, the extra space can be used for a variety of applications.
A structural mezzanine is a platform that is suspended by a combination of a building's own load-bearing elements and by some columns and supports. It can be used to provide work surfaces for machinery and for the storage of heavy materials. Structural mezzanines are usually built into a building at the time of its construction; their uses are usually predetermined, and their design reflects their intended application.
Structural Hot Rolled Steel Mezzanines
A hot rolled structural steel mezzanine has many elements. These include: the understructure (made from open web bar joists), structural I-beams and columns (made from hot rolling, a milling process in which the steel is rolled at a temperature above the recrystallization temperature of steel). Additional elements like handrails can either be horizontal, baluster, or solid panel handrails. The gates of a structural steel mezzanine may be fabricated as lift out gates, swing gates, or sliding gates. They may have any kind of decking, including resin particles board, plywood, B deck, bar grating, plank, steel, and concrete.
Structural steel mezzanines offer greater column spacing, easy electrical conduit and water pipes and more open space. However, they are heavier than other mezzanines, with rougher finishes. Also, they have a high floor and a dead load.
Cold Rolled Steel Mezzanines
For constructing cold rolled steel mezzanines, sheet metal is cold rolled, which is below the recrystallization temperature of steel, by break press into a c-channel, instead of an I-beam. Columns used are either tubular or tapered. The handrail and gates are similar to hot rolled mezzanines. Since they cannot withstand high loads concrete is not used for making decks.
Cold rolled steel mezzanines offer many advantages. First, because they’re made with sheet metal, they’re lighter than hot rolled steel mezzanine. In addition, unlike hot rolled mezzanines, they’re aesthetically appealing. This makes them suitable for public buildings. Finally, as steel is pre-galvanized, they offer a significant cut on investment.
Stainless Steel Mezzanines
Tubular stainless steel columns and I-beams are used for making the understructure for stainless steel mezzanines. For making decks, a number of materials are used, ranging from bar gratings to stainless diamond plates to planks. The structure does not need finishing products such as paints and primers, since they are highly resistant to corrosive environment
Stainless steel mezzanines are a great choice in food service and the medical field, since they are resistant moisture and chemicals, with FDA approved surfaces. Plus, they look clean and appealing.
The understructure of aluminum mezzanines are constructed from extruded aluminum, which is light as well as sturdy. For this purpose, aluminum is specially extruded in the form of I-Beams, C channels and tubular columns. To complement the understructure, the deck is also made from light material like aluminum grating and fiberglass.
While aluminum mezzanines cannot withstand heavy loads, they are a great choice for light duty applications, as they are resistant to corrosion and easily washed.
Prefabricated mezzanines are designed and partially assembled by manufacturers even before they have been ordered by customers. Often, they come as a small, simple platform where supplies or products can be stored. However, in cases where a mezzanine will serve a more specialized purpose, manufacturers can create a custom mezzanine design. Such a design may include precise specifications like a specific floor perforation size, floor perforation shape, square footage, shelving design, or floor layout.
Free Standing Mezzanines
Free standing mezzanines, many of which are prefabricated, usually perform less demanding tasks like the temporary storage of lighter-weight materials. Neither structural nor free standing mezzanines impede the operation of workers or machinery on lower levels. Their supports can be placed in a way that minimizes interference with the movement of personnel and equipment.
Perimeter mezzanines are used in factories, warehouses and in other large buildings for observation of floor operations and for easy transportation from one end of a busy or full building to another. They can even be used to accommodate visitors or guests during tours.
Perimeter mezzanines are an excellent choice when you need to store products for a very short period of time. This is because essential to this type of storage are mezzanines that offer easy, rapid transportation between the mezzanine and other levels as well as easy access to stored materials on the mezzanine level.
Advantages of Mezzanines
There are many reasons to invest in one or more mezzanines. First, constructing a mezzanine effectively doubles the capacity of the area in which it is installed. In fact, if and when you require even more space, instead of single elevated platform, manufacturers can install three tiers or triple deck mezzanines. This will give your business enough space to carry out your operations unhindered.
Second, they’re highly versatile; mezzanines can give you storage space, office space, and even working space. The only requirement of the space in which they are installed is a high ceiling, which is found in most industrial facilities.
Finally, if you are looking for means to expand working and storage area without investing heavily in construction, then mezzanines are the thing for you. Mezzanines can be efficiently added to a warehouse or any building with a high ceiling in a matter of days, as mezzanines are installed rather than constructed.
Mezzanines' features of modularity, versatility and their many possible configurations make them an excellent solution to space management problems.
Examples of accessories that you may want for your mezzanine include: OSHA stairs, ADA certified railings, public access railings, a bar gate, a bar joist, decking, extra shelving and more.
Whether or not an accessory will be of interest to you depends entirely on your application. Figure out what’s best for you by discussing your specifications and requirements with your manufacturer.
Mezzanine installation changes based on need. For example, mezzanines can be installed as a semi-permanent platform, which is something has its own load bearing piers and does not add tension to the original structure. On the other hand, some variations can be installed using the original structure load bearing points, in order to give itself support. If this is the case, the mezzanine will typically be installed to extend from the floor.
Mezzanines can be assembled installed entirely on-site. However, prefab mezzanines are primarily assembled at the factory, then quickly installed once they arrive on-site.
There are guidelines about how every element of mezzanines, ranging from guardrails to stair sets, should be made, since they can be a great danger to workers. These guidelines are primarily put out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). If you do not follow these guidelines, your workers will be at risk and you could face substantial fines.
In general, it’s important that your mezzanine system is built and maintained in accordance with the standards and regulations of not only OSHA, but also the International Building Code (IBC) and the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC). Depending on where your facility is located and your application, your mezzanine structure may be subject to regulations like the Uniform Building Code, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and more.
Things to Consider
To have a suitable and long-lasting mezzanine, you have to consider a number of factors before making the final decision.
The first step is a thorough evaluation of the requirements and where the mezzanine will be installed. You need to find answers to certain questions, such as whether the mezzanine will be used as storage space, office space, or support for equipment; what is the height of your ceiling; where exactly the unit will be installed; whether there is enough space in your facility; whether you need single story or multiple.
When there is Enough Space
If you have enough area, prefabricated mezzanines are the best options, since they are produced in high volumes they are relatively inexpensive. Unlike custom structural mezzanines, modular designs are significantly different; they are available in standard modules, typically 10x10 ft., and based on your needs two or three modules are installed. In modular designs, framing, columns, and a deck surface are all prefabricated, however, electrical conduit, railing, staircase, gates, and kick plates can be selected individually, and a contractor will be responsible for installing them in your facility. However, as they are pre-made, you cannot decide on columns and other important elements that define the performance of a mezzanine.
When there is not Enough Space
If you do not have enough space, then you need to have a custom-made mezzanine, in which the primary steps involve on-site field measurements and drawings. In custom-made mezzanines, you get to decide every element of the mezzanine, from design to columns, to deck and railings, as well as many other factors. That is where it gets harder to decide.
Your first step should be is to determine the slab in the facility, whether it could support a mezzanine or special footings will be needed to supplement the base. If you are considering a mezzanine for heavy equipment, it is usually recommended having a concrete footing, however, if you will be using the mezzanine for storage and other purposes that would not put heavy loads on the floor, then base plates with added braces will work fine for you.
Tie it all together and translate your research into a quality mezzanine system with the help of the right manufacturer. Who is the right manufacturer? The right manufacturer is the manufacturer who demonstrates that they will work with you start to finish, in order to bring you the best solution. Find that manufacturer by checking out the manufacturers listed near the top of this page. All of those with whom we partner are skilled, experienced and hardworking.
- are mezzanines that are configured
to consumer specifications. Custom mezzanines consist of parts which
are not “off the shelf” and most often call for custom fabrication.
- Free Standing Mezzanines are raised platforms that can stand without leaning on, hanging from or otherwise using the support of another structure.
are heavy duty mezzanines that are designed to endure the heavier and
shiftier loads that industries are accustomed to dealing with.
is a mezzanine constructed inside of a plant or building. An in-plant
mezzanine is typically shipped unassembled and then put together once
inside of the designated location.
- Metal mezzanines are raised platforms that can be used in warehouses, factories, stores or other industrial or commercial contexts for storage, as office space or in other capacities.
- Mezzanine construction is the construction of structures within pre-existing buildings between the ceiling and the floor, essentially providing another story within the facility.
- Mezzanine design is the process of selecting building materials, schematics and other elements of mezzanine construction in advance of the installation of a mezzanine in a workspace.
serve as the base for the entire upstairs area. They are placed over
the supporting purlins. Common floorboard materials include: plywood,
diamond treaded steel, welding bar and metal plank gratings, various
poly texture panels and concrete.
- produce structures that are intermediate floors between main stories of the building.
- are all of the elements used to create an intermediate story to a building that sits in between two main stories.
is a mezzanine that is prefabricated in standard size offerings. Modular
mezzanines are usually limited to a lighter PSF capability, but they
are shipped and installed quicker and generally cost less money.
- Office mezzanines are raised platforms above which or under which office space can be created.
- Prefabricated mezzanines are mezzanine systems that are designed and partially assembled in a factory before full assembly by an end-user.
- are transitional floors located in industrial plants.
- Steel mezzanines are semi-permanent steel structures that are built within pre-existing buildings between the ceiling and the floor; essentially providing another story, or building level, within the facility.
- Storage mezzanines are platforms used for the storage of products and equipment.
- Storage platforms are semi-permanent stories built between the ceiling and floor of a building and designed to maximize usable storage space.
use inherent members such as racks or shelving units to endure loads
placed on the upper level. Structural mezzanines simply relocate the
floor level area to the upstairs.
- Warehouse mezzanines are raised platforms used to create extra space in warehouses.
– a support base for the mezzanine’s load-bearing columns.
Column footings are often times made of concrete or metal.
dead loads besides the structure’s weight and decking materials,
such as sprinklers, ceilings and electrical and mechanical systems.
– the allowance in
the load capacity of the mezzanine in order to account for the weight
of the actual mezzanine structure.
Equipment Platform - Refers broadly to any elevated platform used in an industrial setting such as manufacturing or material handling. Equipment platforms go by several different names, among them mezzanines, steel structures and process platforms.
– an open grid of metal
bars. The grid bars are attached to cross bars that run perpendicular
to them or to bent connecting bars which extend between them.
– a storage
method in which unitized loads are stocked more than one unit high and/or
Industrial Platform - raised platforms used to help workers complete tasks and function more efficiently within their space.
– a platform at the
end of stair flights. Landings are frequently used on mezzanines.
the amount a mezzanine will sway due to lateral loads.
– the force that
acts horizontally on the mezzanine, causing it to sway. All mezzanine
structures are designed to withstand a particular degree of lateral loading.
– any vehicle that
is used to lift, stack, rack or move a load(s). Forklift is synonymous
with the term lift truck.
– the maximum weight
the mezzanine is designed to hold safely. Typical live loads range from
50 to 250 PSF.
Metal Catwalks - a type of flooring, used frequently with mezzanine structures. They provide safe and efficient access to areas between spaces that could not otherwise be traversed.
Office Platform - modular office spaces created using mezzanine platforms. Mezzanine platforms are raised floors supported by structural components, such as columns, beams and fasteners.
Observation Tower - tall structures designed to allow views to observe landscapes or events from a long distance and with a 360° viewing range.
a unit of measurement that signifies the number of pounds of pressure
within a one square foot area.
– a structural member
attached horizontally to the primary frames of mezzanines. Purlins provide
support for the flooring and loads.
Stair Tower - used to climb multi-level mezzanine structures. They are strong, stable and keep you and your employees from slipping or falling.
Mezzanine Informational Video