More and more companies are choosing to install mezzanine floors to provide them with that much needed extra space at a fraction of the cost of relocation. There has been a growing number of incidents over the past few years where workers have injured themselves on poorly installed floors.
What you need to know
There are many aspects of a mezzanine floor that contribute to its safety and it’s up to you to ensure that every step has been taken to make sure that the mezzanine floor you install in your space is safe to use. The dangers you face in purchasing a second hand floor lie in the unknown. You need to know:
- What was the floor previously used for?
- What condition the floor was used under?
- Why Mezzanine Floors,You need to have the original structural engineers drawings
- You need to know that the floor was taken apart in a safe methodical way and that the decks were not damaged in this process.You need to know what your ground loadings are with the structural calculations to show that this floor will hold the weight you plan on putting on it and that it is fit for purpose in the environment in which you are going to be using it.
Why it’s important
Because companies installing second hand floors don’t always know the answers to these questions accidents can happen. The health and safety executive (HSE) is now urging organisations to ensure their mezzanine floors are completely safe to use through the use of proper calculations and have edge protection and hand rails to prevent workers from falling. The health and safety regulator recently handed a £10,000 fine to a tissue manufacturer after a worker fell through a mezzanine floor that was six meters above the ground. Luckily the man managed to cling on to the edge of the hole and pull himself back through, suffering servere bruising.
Mezzanine floors are not a ‘one size fits all’ product, it was designed for the first owners use, that specific load, that specific factory and that specific job. They are always (or should always) be made to measure, made for you, your environment and your applications. If you do choose to install a second hand mezzanine floor and it is not properly taken down and installed by a qualified structural engineer if anything goes wrong it comes down to you. It is illegal to use a floor that hasn’t been correctly measured and assessed by a structural engineer.
On a tight budget and need to save money?
You will save money on the materials when purchasing a second hand floor and if you choose to put it up yourself you will save money, and this can look like you are making a significant cost saving. However there are many hidden costs that can potentially cost you more in the long run. You should hire a structural engineer to carry out some ground work calculations. These need to be done taking into account your ground, your application and the weight you plan on putting on your floor. Many factors such as vibrations and humidity can influence the stability of your floor. You cannot safely build one structure on top of another with no calculations. You will have to pay for the engineers time and if they find anything that needs altering in order to make the structure safe this will lead to further costs.
The 75% you saved on materials may not be looking so good anymore as the other costs and risks pile up! Not to mention the floor is not likely to look as professional as an original mezzanine floor due to orphaned fixing holes and a messy finish.