You need more space because your business is growing. Congratulations!
What will you do? Build? Rent more warehouse space? Add on to your existing facility? All of these options are viable if you have great cash flow and have little problems with shutting down operations for a while. This may not be an acceptable option for many companies.
There is another solution. Look up. That’s right. Look up at all that unutilized space and imagine an efficient use of that space along with the potential for a more efficient operation in your existing facility.
This is what adding a mezzanine can do for your productivity.
Mezzanine benefits and considerations
Mezzanines offer many benefits for manufacturing and warehouse operations. But there are several items to consider before rushing out to install one. Understanding your needs, structural requirements and the different types of mezzanines available are important.
What solution will a mezzanine solve? Is there a need for additional storage space? Do you need to expand the manufacturing area? Is office space becoming tight? Perhaps it is a combination of several of these. Each need has its own requirements for construction, cost and disruption.
The solution solved by adding a mezzanine is important. However, an equally important aspect of this planning is knowing whether your facility can accommodate a mezzanine. Typical warehouse and manufacturing operations have a six to eight inch thick slab on which the building is constructed. This type of slab usually has a load capacity of approximately 25,000 lbs, more than enough for a mezzanine under normal conditions. However, sandy soil and locations with a high water table can cause safety issues.
Additional support often is needed in these situations. The additional support is in the form of concrete footings. Concrete footings are expensive and create delays. Construction crews must cut through the slab to remove the soil, replacing it with poured concrete. Mezzanine columns rest on these footings. Always consult with a building architect or structural engineer on the need for footings prior to investing in a mezzanine. These experts have the ability to guarantee the mezzanine is rated for the correct capacity.
Once you know the intended use and structural capacity requirements, the next step is determining the best mezzanine option. Mezzanines offer several options. The most common are mezzanines supported by racks or shelving along with free standing and building-supported options. Again each offers benefits if used in the right setting.
A shelving-supported mezzanine is an ideal choice if the current shelving units are near capacity. This type of mezzanine is a quick and economical solution for lightweight storage needs. Only certain shelving units can accommodate a mezzanine platform. Metal shelving units bolted or riveted together provide necessary strength for the platform. Be sure to use lightweight decking material such as a perforated deck.
A rack-supported mezzanine provides companies with a lot of flexibility. It installs much more quickly when compared to structural or freestanding mezzanines. This type of mezzanine also provides companies with previously unused space for more pallet racks, office and work areas. The platform of the mezzanine bolts directly to the upright beams of the pallet rack, giving the system and platform more strength and stability. The rack-supported mezzanines have the ability to handle heavier loads than a shelf-supported mezzanine.
A building-supported mezzanine offers many benefits to companies wanting to take advantage of unused space. However, those benefits come with additional requirements. A building-supported mezzanine has increased load capacities because it uses the building’s structure for support. These mezzanines use floor joists and beams much like typical construction of a building. Adding a building-supported mezzanine requires building owners ensure the structure can support the mezzanine and meets all local building code requirements. With all the benefits of added space, there is one downside. This type of mezzanine once installed is considered part of the building structure and subject to local property taxes.
A freestanding mezzanine affords the most flexibility of the four mezzanine types. It is not dependent upon the building or supports such as shelves or racks. It is an independent structure within the facility. However, like the building-supported mezzanine, the freestanding mezzanine must have approval for installation. The building slab must meet appropriate load capacities by itself or with the help concrete footings. A building architect or structural engineer must approve and certify needed load capacity requirements.
Once this is done, the freestanding mezzanine not only offers the ability to add space for manufacturing, warehousing or other needs, this structure offers other benefits. The freestanding mezzanine provides tax advantages when depreciated capital equipment.