When designing a mezzanine floor, the top priority for you will be the safety of your personnel and any clients that need to access the floor. There are a number of aspects that will need to be planned in detail.
The safety regulations for your mezzanine will be dependent on numerous factors, including the size of the mezzanine floor, its use, and intended users. You will need expert help to clarify the exact specifications that you need to follow for your project, but it will include looking at issues such as;
The mezzanine level must comply with the regulations laid out in the building regulations document on structure. Complying with these laws ensures a solid structure, which can withhold the intended weight, and that will be stable even in adverse weather conditions and some types of ground movement. The regulations are complex and you should request qualified advice at the design stage. At WSL we have engineers and designers working together to ensure that all structural requirements are planned in at the earliest stages of design so that building regulations are met.
Building regulations stipulate that the materials used must be fit for purpose and that “the workmanship will provide the appropriate level of protection and performance. A reputable building firm should be able to provide evidence that all the materials it uses conforms to national and international standards.
Building regulations on “Protection from Falling” state that you should; “Provide guarding… where it is reasonably necessary for safety to guard the edges of any part of a floor (including the edge below an opening window), gallery, balcony, roof… any other place to which people have access, and any light well, basement or similar sunken area next to a building.” Therefore all mezzanines require sufficient hand rails and toe boards to be provided at the edge of your mezzanine floors. These railings are also legislated in detail. Your designers will be able to advise you about the exact specifications required to keep people safe and ensure that the possibility of falling, sliding or tripping over the edge is removed.
In some cases, it will be necessary to access pallets from your mezzanine floor, but you will wish to continue to keep your workforce safe from the risk of falling from height. Pallet gates can be an ideal solution. They ensure that no personnel is required to stand by an open edge at any point in the loading or unloading of pallets from a crane or forklift, to the mezzanine floor.
Fire safety is another complex area. Your architects and engineers will need to think about issues such as fire escapes, fire retardant materials, correct numbers of fire extinguishers, as well as, possibly, sprinkler systems. Your designers should be able to advise you on the regulations you will need for your situation, taking into account particulars such as the type of building, the number of staff and the size of the mezzanine.
Access to and Use of Buildings
For large mezzanines, you will need to provide quality disabled access, as well as ensuring that all general access is sufficient. Widths of corridors are dictated according to the building size; as are the sizes of lifts, and the height of handrails for stair cases. Even the surface and colour of hand rails is dictated by building regulations!
Understanding the Legislation
Building regulations are a broad and complicated area of law, but complying with them is vital in ensuring that your new mezzanine floor is safe and secure. Take all the stress out of complying with the regulations by using designers and builders who understand the legislation and commit to following them to the letter.
When you design a mezzanine floor with WSL, we have qualified specialists who take responsibility for ensuring that all building, fire and other safety regulations are being met, while also keeping the requirements of your company a top priority.
This article is for general information only. It is not an exhaustive list of all safety requirements regarding mezzanine safety. We recommend that you consult a specialist to ensure that all requirements for mezzanine safety are being met.
 HM Government (2013) The Building Regulations 2010: Structure, Approved Document Part A. 2013 edition [PDF] Available at http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/buildingregulations/approveddocuments/parta/documenta#Download [Accessed 14th December 2015].
 HM Government (2013) The Building Regulations 2010: Materials and Workmanship 7. 2013 edition [PDF] Available at http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/buildingregulations/approveddocuments/workandmaterials/approved [Accessed 14th December 2015]. Page 7.
 HM Government (2013) The Building Regulations 2010: Protection from Falling, Collision and Impact, Approved Document Part K. 2013 edition [PDF] Available at http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/buildingregulations/approveddocuments/partk/approved [Accessed 14th December 2015]. Page 23.
 HM Government (2006) The Building Regulations 2010: Fire Safety, Approved Document K – Volume 2 – Buildings other than Dwelling Houses. 2006 edition [PDF] Available at http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/buildingregulations/approveddocuments/partb/bcapproveddocumentsb/bcapproveddocbvol2/[Accessed 14th December 2015].
 HM Government (2015) The Building Regulations 2010: Access to and Use of Buildings, Approved Document M – Volume 2 – Buildings other than Dwellings 2015 edition [PDF] Available at 2015].http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/buildingregulations/approveddocuments/partm/adm/admvol2#Download [Accessed 14th December 2015].