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Does Installing a Mezzanine Require Concrete Core Testing?

What is a mezzanine floor?

A mezzanine floor is a popular solution for a business looking to expand their office or production spaces quickly and in a cost effective manner. A mezzanine floor is a self-supporting, semi-permanent floor system, built as an intermediate level in between existing floors, or floor and ceiling. They are designed and installed in order to maximise unused vertical space, providing additional floor space or storage both above and below the structure, for storage use, office space, production, or welfare facilities. They usually do not cover the whole floor space of an existing building and provide a more flexible, open solution than traditional expansion or relocation. It offers a very versatile option that can facilitate a huge variety of design changes, and is a very easy and fast installation process.

There are no formal permissions required for planning a mezzanine installation, but there are building regulations to follow in order to ensure your mezzanine is safe, stable, and fit for purpose.

Building regulations are made up of the following:

Part A – Structural Safety

Part B – Fire Safety

Part K – Protection from Falling

Part M – Access To and Use of Buildings

Structural safety of mezzanines:

Structural safety is what the testing of concrete cores comes under. While testing mezzanine concrete cores is not always necessary, it is an important step to evidence that your building is suitable for a mezzanine install if initial information has been lost or has changed. Testing concrete cores enables the optimisation of the column grid of your mezzanine by working out how much weight your floor can take from the columns and ensuring the weight is distributed across them properly. This is because in order to ensure that your mezzanine floor is fit for purpose, it’s important to know the full load bearing capacity and capabilities of the warehouse floor to ensure that your existing concrete slab can withstand the extra load being installed.

By knowing how much weight can be carried down each column, you can design a floor with as few columns as possible, thus allowing a more open and optimised space underneath the mezzanine. Local authorities will also likely require confirmation that your warehouse floor is able to withstand the load, and this information will need to be verified during the building control application and certification process.

In order to work this out, you should look at the information regarding your current warehouse slab. One way of getting this information if it is unknown is to complete a core test. A core test involves an external company attending your site and drilling three or four holes into the floor in order to sample it. These samples will be sent to a structural engineer who can work out the slab’s capacity. The process generally takes less than half a day, and the information should be received within three weeks.

The normal diameter of a core for testing is 100mm, and its diameter should be at least 3.5x the maximum aggregate size. If diameters are too small the strength results can be variable and a greater number of cores will need to be extracted. When cores are received in the laboratory for testing, they will be examined for degree of compaction, cracks, discontinuities, honeycombing, and the presence of reinforcements. This will determine the load bearing capacity and strength of the whole concrete slab.

The standards are:

BS EN 13791: 2019. Assessment of compressive strength in structures and precast concrete components.

BS EN 12504: 2019. Testing concrete in structures. Part 1 Cored specimens - taking, examining and testing in compression.

An example concrete core:

This information is needed for the general control of a warehouse, but also allows a contractor to install a mezzanine that can operate safely and at a high load bearing capacity without concern. It is possible for mezzanine floors to take a ton per square metre, making understanding your maximum load ratings all the more significant.

If the concrete core testing shows that your warehouse slab is not strong enough to hold the weight of the mezzanine floor, there are various options available to ensure you can still install your mezzanine. You can reduce the capacity of the weight being held by the mezzanine, reduce the column grid sizes and spread out the load, or you can install a pile foundation under each column.

Installing a mezzanine floor can be a big commitment, and knowing the requirements that come with it can be difficult. That’s why, here at DC Space and Storage Solutions, we will support you through all aspects of the design and installation process. We are SEMA approved both in terms of installation and distribution, and hold numerous other accreditations including; the ISO45001 - the world’s international standard for occupational health and safety; the ISO14001 which recognises the efficient and sustainable use and disposal of natural resources; the ISO9001 - the criteria for quality management; the Altius Assured Award - for complying with the highest supply chain standards; and the Alcumus SafeContractor Accreditation - recognising our capabilities for health and safety assurance. These ensure our designs and installations are safe, efficient, and effective across every stage of the process, and we can help you optimise your warehouse space with a mezzanine floor. Get in touch today for more information or a free consultation, email, call 01392 927 096, or fill out the form on our website!

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