How to calculate how much weight a Mezzanine Floor can safely hold?

The weight load of a mezzanine floor is worked out on a kilonewton per square metre basis (kN/m2); our customers often ask us for advice on the weight loading of their bespoke mezzanine floor, but it depends entirely on the use of the mezzanine – you wouldn’t expect your bedroom floor at home to withstand the weight of an industrial digger, would you?  So why would you expect your commercial office to do the same?

As a general rule of thumb, the following weight loadings are recommended:

  • 3.5kN/m2 – office use
  • 4.8kN/m2 – light storage
  • 7.2kN/m2 – medium storage
  • 9.6kN/m2 – heavy storage

The minimum mezzanine loading specified by building regulations is 3.5kN/m2 uniformly distributed which allows for office space and personnel. Perhaps you want a mezzanine floor installed in your workplace to host team meetings or to provide your staff with a communal area away from the noise of the shop floor – in this case your mezzanine would require a weight loading of 3.5kN/m2.

It may be that you intend to use your new mezzanine for storage purposes or to carry out material handling, in which case you would need to raise the loading specification to 4.8 – 7.2kN/m2.

Or let’s say you are responsible for the day-to-day running of a busy industrial warehouse and are looking at installing a new mezzanine level to increase operational space – you’ll need something much stronger particularly if you’ll be operating heavy machinery on the new level too.  In this case, a loading specification of 9.6kN/m2 or more may be required depending upon the weight and size of your machinery.

Thankfully though, when you partner with Cubex Contracts you don’t have to worry about the technicalities… that’s our job!  We’ll work with you to understand your requirements for a single or multi-tier mezzanine and ensure it is delivered in your workspace to the highest quality.

What does kilonewton per square metre actually mean?
Let’s take light storage as an example:

The load bearing recommendation for light storage is 4.8kN/m2, meaning the floor can hold a fully dispersed load of 480kg per square metre.  If you wanted to store a piece of equipment on your mezzanine floor that weighed 2500kg with a base plate 2m x 2m (making an area of 4m2) then you’d need a mezzanine capable of holding 6.25kN/m2, so a 7.2kN/m2 mezzanine would be suitable.  

Planning for the future
After your new mezzanine is installed you will be advised to carry out inspections every 24 months.  Why?  Well, if the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that our ways of working and business demands can soon change – and change again.  Although you might not think it now, you may find yourself considering changing the use of your mezzanine floor in order to better suit business demands in the future. Let’s say your current mezzanine is currently used for office space and personnel only, but you want to expand the overall size of the mezzanine so that you don’t lose any of that precious office space, but you have additional areas for product storage.  In this instance, you would need to increase the load bearing requirements of your mezzanine from 3.5kN/m2 up to 4.8 – 7.2kN/m2.  As it’s not viable to upgrade a mezzanine once installed, many people choose to future-proof their installation by having a 4.8kN/m2 even if they first only intend to use it for office space.

As a business owner or manager, you have a responsibility to ensure the usage of your mezzanine and corresponding load bearing capacity remains in accordance with the intent of the initial design. If the use changes, then you will need to review the strength of your mezzanine to ultimately protect you, your business and your valued members of staff … safety first, remember!

Cubex Recommendations
At Cubex Contracts we normally advise customers who are considering installing a new mezzanine floor for office purposes to go for a loading requirement of 4.8kN/m2 (light storage) as it provides them with greater flexibility on what to use the floor for in the future – like we said before, business demands can soon change!  But not only that, if you’ve got a new, growing business on your hands then you’ll be wanting to plan ahead whilst keeping a close eye on costs and, thinking ahead in terms of weight loading requirements for your mezzanine will support that (it is far more complex and expensive to try and retrospectively strengthen a floor later down the line).

What’s so great about mezzanines?
Many commercial buildings are designed with a headroom height of 6 metres or more and, apart from being expensive in terms of heating and cooling, this unproductive space can be used to erect a mezzanine floor to create a useful space with a variety of uses including:

  • meeting rooms
  • breakout areas
  • kitchens
  • washrooms
  • additional offices
  • storage areas
  • work areas for heavy equipment/machinery eg chemical tanks, industrial pumps, sorting machines and conveyor systems

By installing a single or multi-tier mezzanine you can significantly increase your storage or production space without the fuss (or hefty cost!) of moving premises.  What’s more, at Cubex we also install lifts to access additional levels, meaning you can virtually double (if not triple!) your workspace – yes, we really have thought of everything!

Mezzanine floors have always been a great way to create additional space as with more space, comes as increase in productivity.  Take a look at a recent project of ours where we helped our client to become one of the biggest parts distributors in the UK with a two tier mezzanine!

The Nitty Gritty
In all cases, a new mezzanine will require building regulation approval but, once appointed, Cubex will administer the application on your behalf.

Plus, you can rest assured that Cubex take health and safety very seriously – in fact, we are proud of our site safety record and are accredited with SafeContractor, SMAS and CHAS, so both new and existing clients can feel confident that they’re in good hands when they partner with us.

If your workspace needs are changing and you’d like to discuss how a mezzanine floor may work for your business or if you are unsure about the correct load bearing for your mezzanine, get in touch with Cubex Contracts today and our creative design team will find the right solution for you.  Give us a call on 01933 460422 or click here to email us – we’re always happy to offer advice and guidance.

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