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What is a Mezzanine Floor?

The above photograph shows a mezzanine floor we fitted for a customer in Devizes.

Mezzanine Floor: There are several definitions if you look up the word on google. The wikipedia definition is, “ an intermediate floor in a building which is partly open to the double-height ceiling floor below.”

Perhaps a more useful definition is a Mezzanine is a “second floor“. Although usually the mezzanine level of a building is a partial floor, located between the ground floor and first floor. Another meaning of mezzanine is the lowest of a row of balconies in a theatre or symphony hall.”

Mezzanine floor in Offices

How does this all relate to offices and warehouses? When someone talks about a mezzanine in an office, what does that mean? If the main building is quite high, then you can introduce another intermediate floor level to split up the height of the building and increase the usuable floor space. Often this means not having to move premises and using the height of the building to maximise either the storage capacity or increase office space.

We define a mezzanine floor as an interdependently supported steel structure that forms a floor which can be used for storage or offices.

Mezzanine floor in Offices

Quite understandably there are some quite strict laws on the construction of mezzanine floors which is covered by Building Regulations. If you think about it, people will be potentially working above or below the steel structure and the Building Regulations are designed to protect people. Most mezzanine floors are made from stressed steel sections that are formed and cut to size. When heat is applied in a fire for example, the steel becomes soft, de-stressing the steel and the whole structure can collapse very quickly. The steel would not melt (unless really hot), but would bend and distort. We have several other blog posts in relation to fire performance:

Building Regulations.

Projects

If you would like to have a look at some of our projects, please click the link to take you to the mezzanine floor page on this website. Below the main text will be some filtered projects with photographs of building.

Need to know more? Please contact us on 01380 7388 44 or email us at info@cre8tiveinteriors.co.uk

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Project Management

Saving time is one of the things that Cre8tive Interiors can do for a prospective client, there are however many things that go on inside an office. So physical things like partitions and ceilings, and the favourite one for our competitors is office furniture but all of the items are just things that can be purchased or not. The tricky bit is getting it all working together as well as getting the right specifications to meet what the client wants with balance between performance and cost. These are still very black and white things that can be quantified. What is difficult to measure is how much time is spent on trying to get something right and then organising it, which is what Cre8tive Interiors can do, carry out proper Project Management saving time.

A client may know a builder or a painter or electrician, but do they work well together? Are they insured? Are they ‘bonafide’ subcontractors? Do they want payment in cash? Will they be available when required? Can the client arrange practical activities that depend on each other in order for things to work? Project coordination is one thing, the time it takes to get it all right is another.

Saving Time on Projects – Project Management

What Cre8tive Interiors can do is to give the client time, we deal with all of the sub contractors, payments, coordination of a project which allow the client to concentrate on their business making money, and we can concentrate on what we know saving the client time and therefore money. As we are carrying out projects every week, it is easier for us to organise suppliers as we give them quite a bit of work. As we tend to use the same fitters and sub contractors they all know each other on site and know the standards and qualities of what is required from us at all times.

Legalities of proper Project Management

With larger projects the activities obviously get a bit more complicated, and if you are organising any construction activity then there are also some legal obligations as well. For example in the eyes of the law you are the ’employer’ of the sub contractors and you are therefore responsible for the Health and Safety of the people doing the work. Although you might want to get a relation, or a friend to do some painting or anything else, if they have an accident then as an employer the client is in serious trouble with the law as there are strict rules to protect sub contractors and contractors to work in a safe environment. All of this paperwork takes time, so many people do not bother, or if they employ Cre8tive Interiors then Cre8tive Interiors does this type of work.

Insurance

All building, alteration and refurbishment work is governed by the Construction Design and Management Regulations (CDM for short). Cre8tive Interiors are a professional company that assesses risks and produces method statements and risk assessments for the work. If the work takes longer than 30 days then the person organising the work has to by law, notify the Heath and Safety Executive with a document called an F10. This is a registration of the project. All subcontractors need to have the right insurance, with the correct liability insurance to carry out the work. A client organising the work themselves also need to have the right insurance to cover any building work. The insurance would stipulate that the client can only use ‘boni-fide’ contractors, each with their own insurance. If work is being carried out by a client on their own, the work area probably will not have the correct type of ‘all risks’ cover. Cre8tive Interiors for example when a project is started, has ‘ownship’ of the work area and so things like any damage that may happen, or anything stolen on site is covered by Cre8tive Interiors insurance policy. Please have a quick look at our CDM page by clicking this link.

Detail and knowledge

If the work is very simple then the client could organise things themselves, but it does depend on whether the client has the right experience and knowledge to make the right decisions, as well as enough time. Cre8tive Interiors has been carrying out office refurbishment and fit out projects for over 20 years, so get over problems and issues on site often without the client ever knowing and this is just purely down to experience in this field. The client may be experienced in something completely different to refurbishment work, and be very good at it, and very knowledgeable, and makes lots of money in that particular field. Is it not better that the client focuses on their own business and let Cre8tive Interiors carry out the work, which will be better organised, legal, completed to the right standard, on time and in budget.

If a client employs Cre8tive Interiors then they will comply with the law, as Cre8tive Interiors can carry out all of the legal obligations required as well as organisation of the work saving time and money on any project.

If you would like Cre8tive to save you some time on your office project and want Cre8tive to project manage your project please give us a call on 01380 738844 or email us.

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News

What is storage wall?

What is storage wall is a question we do get asked when we suggest installing it. As you can see from the initial picture above, it is a partition wall built from floor to ceiling, but has shelves in it. The system combines the functional requirement of a partition wall to be a room divider and the function of the full height cupboard. If you add the cost of a partition wall, to the cost of a full height cupboard then storage wall will be cheaper, and it also looks better as well.

The traditional places for storage wall are in meeting rooms and boardrooms, some of the projects that we have posted on this website have storage wall in them. Please have a look at some of the projects on our Storage Wall page for a better description and as this will give you a better idea of what can be done. On that page are also some projects with photographs so you can see what the systems look like.

  • We can introduce a pass door through the wall.
  • Glazing can be included
  • One of the most popular features is the construction of an Audio / Visual bay within the wall. This is ideal for either showing a screen, or hiding it, and including all of the presentation and sound systems within the wall. When not in use it is all put away.
  • We can build a back panel to the wall so that it finishes off the back of the cupboard in a matching wood finish
  • The internals are imensly flexible, pull out frames, lateral filing, plain shelves, or even a coat rack and hangers is possible.
  • Finishing the front of the doors we can also apply a digital image so that the doors look hidden.

If you would like to know more please give us a call on 0138 738844, or email us at info@cre8tiveinteriors.co.uk

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News

Made in Britain

This may seem a topical post at the moment with the current news on Brexit, it is however relevant to us at Cre8tive Interiors. We note with interest what is going on, as we only use UK suppliers and have done for the last 20 years, whatever happens will not affect our projects. Made in Britain products are important to us.

Our background in Engineering and Manufacturing has meant we are very much supportive of British Manufacturing, over the last 20 years we have always thought of where product is made. We have experience of a competitor of ours that won a project against us using an imported office furniture product a few years ago. It was for around 30 workstations where the supplier was overseas and they had a manufacturing problem in supply. There were some technical issues with some of the parts of the desk frame not going together properly. Due to the distance and language problems it took 6 weeks to get replacement parts which put the contractor out of business. Just this last year we have also been made aware of one of our suppliers having problems with parts coming from within the EU. In our view there is always a potential supply issue using overseas manufactured product. Parts may be cheaper but risky to use in our view. All the product we supply is made in the UK, in the unlikely event of something going wrong we can get things sorted quickly. Sometimes problems do happen, we did have an issue last year with an install but it was resolved the same day, so the customer was not actually affected at all and was none the wiser.

We do not know what will happen with trade, the potential barriers with customs, or duties to any imported item at this time so we do not think this makes much sense in using overseas suppliers just for those reasons alone.

Combined with the uncertainties of Brexit, exchange rate, import duties and the length of the supply chain we will definitively not be changing our made in the UK policy on manufactured goods supplied to our customers. It was never going to change anyway, Brexit or not.

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News

Is my existing Mezzanine floor fire rated?

We come across this question quite a bit, and to the untrained eye it can be difficult to tell. Only an expert like Cre8tive Interiors can really delve into the detail. What should happen of course, is once a mezzanine floor has been installed, the company installing must provide a Building Regulation approval document to demonstrate the structure has been inspected, from initial design through to construction. The design of the floor depends on the function required and the areas involved.

Small floors that are purely used for storage, dependant on the floor area and means of escape may not need fire protection. If the design has been checked prior to construction, there are certain things like the composition of the floor slab, that need to be considered in the initial design. Depending on the height of the floor, the spans of the beams and what the floor is going to be used for depends on the amount of loading that travels down the pillars. Often assumption have to be made, and the bottom of the posts can have large floor plates in order to spread the loading onto the base floor that the mezzanine structure is going to sit on. So it is not usually an issue.

Another consideration if whether offices, or people are going to be working on the raised floor area. If offices are built, then there is an extra level of fire protection needed, which is usually where suppliers fall down. Many ceiling fitters for example, will just fix a cheap basic ceiling and no-one will know the difference. However ceiling tiles and grid may not necessarily be fire rated, so in effect you do not have any fire protection for the underside of the floor. You may think so what? As mentioned in our previous posts, the problem with a steel floor is that in the event of a fire, the whole structure bends and softens. The steel will not melt, but the steel beams are stressed formed, rolled sections, so the heat anneals the steel releasing the stresses that are creating in formation of the shapes, so in effect go soft. What happens is that the whole structure twiists and if people are working on it, they have no chance of getting out, and this softening can happen really quickly.

Getting back to the main question, well how do you know? Most people will not. Fore example you be provided a test certificate on a ceiling tile, which may say it has been tested for 60 minutes, and you may get another test report for a different grid also showing 60 minutes, but unless they have been tested together, and in the situation needed, so under a steel mezzanine. then the certification is useless.

On a new mezzanine floor the supplier should provide a test report for the tile and grid, tested to 60 minutes if office are required above, under a steel mezzanine floor. To our knowledge so far there are only a couple of combinations that comply. Just looking at the grid and tile to see is pretty hard if there is no identification on it, however various website are available online to look at the profiles and sections of ceiling grid in order to determine this. The same with the tile, you can look online, and then if you do not have the certification you can contact the support desks from the major suppliers of components.

Unfortunately the distributors of tile and grid still get it wrong, only this week we contacted a supplier, and they gave us the wrong information. Only the manufactures can supply the correct details.

As well as the suspended ceiling, there are other aspects to look at as well. The floor loading, edge protections, escape routes and protection of office / warehouse all have rules. Other things that need to be considered include heating and ventilation, all legal requirements with Building Regulations.

Some of our mezzanine floor projects are listed below if you want to have a look.

If you have any questions please give us a call or email us to get in contact with us and I am sure we can help.
01380 73 88 44

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Mezzanine Floor Fire Protection

Mezzanine floor fire protection is the most important task to determine correctly when considering a mezzanine floor, old or new. When a new mezzanine floor is installed by us we always liaise with Building Control to ensure that the correct level of fire protection is carried out on the steel structure. You may think that steel is pretty strong which it is, but in a fire the steel will tend to twist and deform at not very high temperatures and there are several reasons for this.

The effects of fire on a steel mezzanine floor structure

The steel sections that are used in the construction are in themselves very strong but will have been formed from flat sheet steel and either rolled or welded to form the sizes required. Heat on steel anneals or softens the steel which wants to convert to its pre-stressed state. The effect of this is that the whole floor structure twists and due to the weight of the floor, what is on the floor and the steel the whole lot can come crashing down quickly.

All of our steel structures are calculated, and often have triangulation steels in the corners of the floor to prevent twisting in just loading conditions, so the design needs to be calculated properly.

Mezzanine floor fire protection – Suspended Ceilings

Contrary to popular belief and pure incompetence by many of our competitors there are actually very few suspended ceiling types that are fully tested with a specific suspended ceiling tile to give the 1 hour fire protection required by Building Regulations. Some mezzanine floors which are small in proportion to a building and maybe are just used for occasional light storage may not actually require any protection as there is actually no perceived danger to employees and staff. 99% of floors will need mezzanine floor fire protection.

There are a few advantages of using a suspended ceiling over a plasterboard one, the main one is you can hide the services inside it. It is also a finished product without the need for skimming or painting. It can also provide sound performance preventing noise from the ground floor going through the floor. It is also quick to install.

We visit many installations carried out by others where the cheapest ceiling tile has been used, and the cheapest grid, and there is absolutely no way that the suspended ceiling is fire rated and we have to advise the customer of this fact.

Mezzanine floor fire protection other items.

There are many other things that need to be considered but that is perhaps for another article, if you are in any doubt please give us a call and we can check.

What else needs to be done to a Mezzanine Floor once built?

Cre8tive Interiors can carry out all of the work required so that the client can just use the space straight away. This will include the following:

  1. Initial design and layouts for the new space along with costs
  2. Building Regulation Approval
  3. Planning for the work to be done, understanding what needs to be carried out prior to the install date.
  4. Supply and Installation of the mezzanine floor, including relevant fire protection
  5. Electrical work
  6. Partitioning and suspended ceiling work
  7. All lighting, emergency lighting, air conditioning and ventilation
  8. Construction of any toilet areas, canteen or warehouse areas
  9. All types of flooring and decoration.
  10. Office furniture if the extension is for offices.

What Mezzanine floor projects has Cre8tive carried out?

  1. Mezzanine floor in Devizes (light storage)
  2. Fire rating of a Mezzanine Floor in Warminster for Offices
  3. Fire rating of a Mezzanine Floor in Milton Keynes for Offices
  4. Converting / Fire rating an existing storage mezzanine in Corsham for use into Offices
  5. Installation of a new mezzanine floor into an existing warehouse to create offices in Gloucester
  6. Installation of a new mezzanine floor to extend existing offices at first floor level and below in Salisbury
  7. Construction of Fire rated partitions on top of an existing mezzanine floor to meet Building Regulation in Corsham
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Why do I need Building Regulations for my offices?

Building Regulations are a legal requirement enforceable by Law. The building regulations are designed so that occupants of a building are safe in the event of a problem or issue. The chances of anything happening are of course pretty remote but they do happen, and when problems happen people can get hurt. The Regulations have not been designed as a set of rules that prevent people from doing what they want do and to be as obstructive as possible, there are very good reasons for them.

They are designed to protect staff within buildings from unscrupulous owners of buildings or directors who do not care, or do not know that they need to comply with the law. We focus on offices, and there are many Building Regulations that relate to all kinds of properties, but offices is our speciality. Building Regulations for offices are not too onerous, and the main thrust of them covers fire protection and access routes for staff to get out of a burning building as safely and as quickly as possible. Associated with this is that it is a mandatory requirements that all commercial premises must have a fire risk assessment carried out every five years, we can organise this if the customer does not have one in place.

We come across many offices that have not had any consideration to the Law, offices have been built in the wrong place with no fire rating when they should be and this may be for a number of reasons, it could be that the Interiors company installing the partitioning did not understand the regulations and the customer has instructed the company to install the partitions in on price. Unfortunately it will be the directors of the company who will be in trouble if people can’t get out quickly enough or can’t get out of a building because they employed a fit out contractor that did not give them the right advice, people die and Directors go to jail. Ignorance is no defence in the eyes of the law and it is incumbent on the directors to understand their legal obligations to their staff.

General Office Building Advice Report.

We offer a service where we can provide a report which highlights areas that need to be looked at. It will not go into formal detail such as quoting for any work, or actually producing plans and drawings to get Building Regulation approval, it is designed to be before this stage is initiated as it may not be required. The report is designed for Directors to at least highlight areas that should be looked at prior to any work being commissioned as many Directors and owners of buildings do not know that things need to be considered in the first place.

Please give us a call on 01380 73 88 44 to see how we can help

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News

What is Demountable Partitioning?

Good question. Before being involved with office interiors I did not know what Demountable Partitioning was either. Once in the industry you forget that for most people, they just want an office built or extended, and do not know that there are many different types and options to consider depending on what you want to achieve from the partition.<

What does Demountable mean?

The clue is in the name, the physical partition system can be taken down and relocated after being re-assembled should you wish to move it. The main benefit of Demountable Partitioning is that they create less damage to the ceilings and floors than a traditional metal or timber stud partition wall that is typically found in everyone’s house. Most timber or stud walls are plastered or tape and jointed, which means that when you remove them they make a mess. A demountable system usually has pre-finished plasterboard which is decorated with a wall covering, so when you dismantle the system the fixers just remove the board cover trims, and remove the finished boards.

You do get some mess still but no-where near as much as you would have with a traditional stud wall.

Why do Landlords like Demountable Partitions.

Some landlords actually insist that any offices being built in the office by a tenant have to be demountable. So anyone renting office space should check the small print. The main reason is that if for whatever reason the landlord has to get the tenant out, or the tenant leaves, there is much less mess and damage needing to put the space back to an original condition ready to let out again, if Demountable Partitions are used.

What are the different types of Demountable Partitioning?

The key difference is the thickness of the wall which reflects the performance and cost. All of the systems can have glazing of different configurations, heights, widths, single or double glazed, or silicon jointed. There are three basic widths, 50mm, 75mm and 100mm. The all glass version which has a very minimal frame, uses very thin ‘u’ channel tracks to support the glass

Summary on Demountable Partitioning?

  1. Using Demountable Partitioning is very tax efficient as they are seen as movable items and so can be treated differently in writing down allowances in the accounts.
  2. We can also lease Demountable Partitioning as they are movable, this spreads the costs of having the work done as Demountable Partitions always cost more than customers think.
  3. Leasing of demountable partitioning is very tax efficient and Cre8tive can provide illustrations, please contact us for further information.
  4. Most landlords insist on Demountable Partitions being used for offices as it is much easier to take them out should the tenant renting the space leave for any reason. The benefit is that is saves making a huge amount of mess and destruction that would be need with a conventional stud and plasterboard constructed wall.

Questions on Demountable Partitioning?

If you are not sure about anything as well as taking about all kinds of partitioning including Demountable we love to talk about projects and sort out problems and issues with space, please give us a call on 01380 738844

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Mezzanine Floors News

Can I Alter my Existing Mezzanine Floor?

The short answer is yes, but you will need to take some specialist advice from someone like Cre8tive Interiors. The above photo shows a problem mezzanine that is none compliant with Building Regulations. Hence the question Can I alter my Existing Mezzanine Floor?

Just give us a call or email. The main question that we will ask is what is the purpose of extending, for example offices or storage. We will need to assess the existing structure to ensure that anything we do to it in terms of changing it will comply with current Building Regulations.

My existing Structure was built a few years ago, will it still comply?

The regulations have not really changed over the years as the main aim of the Building Regulations for Mezzanine Floors is to ensure that the floor is adequately fire protected for people that may be under them or on top of the floor. If the existing structure has no fire protection and the upstairs is used as offices, the fact that it was built a few years ago does not mean that people will be safe in a fire, so our advice is for us to examine the overall layout of any alteration, including the existing structure, to ensure that people can exit the building safely.

We will look at exit routes as well as look at fire protection for the overall situation with the extension.

We regularly see structures which have been built by general builders and there are no design calculations to determine what weight can be put on the floor and no evidence that the floor has been submitted for Building Regulation Approval. I am sure in some cases that the structure will be strong enough but often there is no approval to say it is ok. The problem with this is that the owner of the building probably has never been aware that the structure is not safe, and of course to fire protect it will cost money. If nothing is done, there is a high chance that there will never be a problem, but there is a very slim chance that if there is a fire in the building and the owner has not taken adequate steps to look after the safety of the tenant or staff then the owner of the building is in big trouble.

My existing Structure was built by a Builder and is not a designed Structure. What can I do?

Always pretty difficult, and the easiest answer is if you are not sure, strip it out and Cre8tive Interiors can put in a properly designed and calculated structural mezzanine floor that will meet Building Regulation approval. Often it will be cheaper. The above photo shows a problematic structure. The main cross beam as well as not being fire rated just sits on the pillar that supports the outside frame of the building. The building is a portal frame construction and so will have been designed to be a free standing structure without having a massive great steel sitting on one of the pillars taking lots of weight.

We can get around this problem though. If you are unsure about your existing mezzanine floor structure please give us a call.

What else needs to be done to a Mezzanine Floor once built?

Cre8tive Interiors can carry out all of the work required so that the client can just use the space straight away. This will include the following:

  1. Initial design and layouts for the new space along with costs
  2. Building Regulation Approval
  3. Planning for the work to be done, understanding what needs to be carried out prior to the install date.
  4. Supply and Installation of the mezzanine floor, including relevant fire protection
  5. Electrical work
  6. Partitioning and suspended ceiling work
  7. All lighting, emergency lighting, air conditioning and ventilation
  8. Construction of any toilet areas, canteen or warehouse areas
  9. All types of flooring and decoration.
  10. Office furniture if the extension is for offices.

Can I alter my existing mezzanine floor?

What Mezzanine floor projects has Cre8tive carried out?

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How do I create more office space?

Mezzanine floors:

The above photo shows one possible solution which is by making use of any height you have in the building to construct a mezzanine floor. This was one of our mezzanine floor projects, please click this link to view the project or carry on reading this post. (Links at the bottom)

What is a Mezzanine Floor?

Many shops, offices and warehouses make use of the height of a building to increase the floor area without the need to extend the building. The simplest way to do this is by building a false floor across any void.

Focusing on offices and warehouses there are stringent rules and legal regulations that apply to the construction and fire protection of mezzanine floors, the aim of the rules is to ensure that people in the offices working above or below can get out safely in the event of a problem, usually a fire. We do come across structures that have been built by general builders and there is no way that anyone would survive a fire if one took hold and the floor would collapse.

What are Building Regulations for a Mezzanine Floor?

It is very important for any Business Owner to get a floor installed properly, and one that meets the Building regulations as the Business Owner would ultimately be responsible if the worst happened and people lost their lives. Lack of knowledge is no defence. If the construction work does not comply with Building Regulations and the floor has not been signed off by an Inspector then the Law has being broken, quite simple really.

The design of the floor is crucial, as well as taking into consideration the use of the floor, travel distances are really important to fire exits, if over a certain distance then the exit routes need to be protected out of the building. The actual floor itself is made from steel. The steel is stressed steel in rolled formed sections or beams, with timber floors. The whole structure is stressed with triangular support pillars usually at the corner to ensure the floor does not twist. You may think steel is fine in a fire, steel does not catch fire until extremely high temperatures, but it is not the catching fire that causes the problem. If a fire gets hold even in a small area at one end of a floor the steel will start to bend, it’s structural properties start to change and as the mezzanine floor is stressed it will twist and collapse very quickly. Fir protection to the columns and floor is therefore important particularly if there are offices or people up on the mezzanine floor level.

How much weight can a Mezzanine Floor take?

It is actually quite important to understand the purpose of the floor as the structure will be designed to take certain weights. General light storage and offices mean that the beams can be thinner and therefore cheaper. If you storing a bit of weight on the floor then we need to know. We have two grades that will be fine on a normal floor but if there is considerable weight needed to be supported the beams get alot bigger reducing the head room below and the structural slab of the floor will need to be assessed and taking into consideration in the design to ensure that the support pillars can take the weight and do not disappear into the ground.

How do I get a Mezzanine Floor built?

Simply pick up the phone or email us and we can visit you and discuss the various options.

What Mezzanine floor projects has Cre8tive carried out?

  1. Mezzanine floor in Devizes (light storage)
  2. Fire rating of a Mezzanine Floor in Warminster for Offices
  3. Fire rating of a Mezzanine Floor in Milton Keynes for Offices
  4. Converting / Fire rating an existing storage mezzanine in Corsham for use into Offices
  5. Installation of a new mezzanine floor into an existing warehouse to create offices in Gloucester
  6. Installation of a new mezzanine floor to extend existing offices at first floor level and below in Salisbury
  7. Construction of Fire rated partitions on top of an existing mezzanine floor to meet Building Regulation in Corsham