When designing a mezzanine floor, it’s important to ensure that it meets all necessary mezzanine floor regulations not only to cover yourself from a legal perspective, but also to ensure staff are kept safe at all times.
Mezzanine fire rating measures are taken to hold a fire back from spreading to other areas for a set amount of time.
Whether a mezzanine floor requires any form of local authority planning permission, or whether it has to comply with any current UK building regulations, depends on its size and what it will be used for.
Certain local authorities may have their own regulations in place regarding the installation of mezzanine floors. That said, if (aci) Advanced Commercial Interiors Limited are contracted to manufacture and install your mezzanine floor, we liaise with the local authority concerned to ensure the installation meets all building regulations and fire ratings as a matter of course.
Below we will detail the scenarios in which fire rating is required for a mezzanine floor…
No Fire Rating Required
If your mezzanine floor will be used solely for storage and providing the floor is no more than 20m long and 20m wide, is less than 50% of your building’s existing floor area, is less than 400 square metres in total, and has no permanent staff workstations on the mezzanine, in most instances the floor does not need to be fire rated.
Where Mezzanine Floor Fire Rating Regulations Apply
Where fire rating regulations apply, the normal requirements are for fire protection casings, fascia, and ceilings to be able to hold back any fire for 60 minutes. In certain circumstances, that can be increased to 90 minutes.
If the floor is intended for manned stores, workshops, laboratories, offices or other uses where staff will be continuously working, your mezzanine floor will require a minimum 60-minute fire rating.
The 90-minute fire rating normally comes into play in situations where the general public are involved such as in large retail stores, retail centres, or wholesaling warehouses. Should your floor exceed 50% of your building’s floor area, or if two or more levels of mezzanine flooring are installed, then a 90-minute fire rating may well be required.
How do you get Fire Rated
At (aci) Advanced Commercial Interiors Limited we take great pride in offering our clients a complete mezzanine floor service. After initial discussions as to your requirements, what the floor is to be used for, number of offices, workshops, canteens or other uses, approximate number of employees working on the floor etc, we can begin to design your project.
After contacting the relevant authorities regarding all required permissions, including fire rating, we will arrange a meeting with you to discuss what is needed to ensure your mezzanine floor is fully compliant with all fire regulations.
Metal is a high thermal conductor, meaning that in the event of fire, bare metal will quickly heat to a level making it too hot to be walked on, effectively trapping anyone working on the mezzanine level and this is why fire protection precautions are so necessary when it comes to any commercial space.
Fire rating involves covering the bare metal with fire rated products which effectively hold back the fire from metal stairways and walkways for up to 60 or 90 minutes. Depending on the size of your floor and its proposed usage, to obtain the required fire rating generally means including some, or all of the following.
- Using a galvanised or white finish casing on all exposed steelwork
- A suspended ceiling or plasterboard ceilings below the mezzanine level.
- Capping exposed fascia with a galvanised or white finish metal or plasterboard system.
- Cavity barriers.
- Emergency exit stairway enclosed if required.
- Emergency exit signing, emergency lighting and smoke detection.
Although the list of mezzanine floor standards appears quite dense, much of the above is considered a part of the normal mezzanine floor manufacture and installation process. An in-depth discussion with your designated (aci) Advanced Commercial Interiors Limited project manager, will ensure your new mezzanine floor meets all building and fire regulations in the most efficient and cost effective manner.
We’re always happy to advise our customers on the exact fire rating requirements of any existing or potential mezzanine floors and you can find out more about this on our fire rated mezzanine floors page of our website. Alternatively, if you have a question about this, please call us on 0115 939 7572.