Mezzanine Floor Building Regulations

  • Risk Assessment
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Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

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Mezzanine floors advice guide for employers from Peninsula Business Services UK. Employers call us today on 0800 0282 420.

If you decide to install mezzanine flooring, there are several construction laws you need to comply with first.

Not only do these laws apply before you start building, but they also apply post-production, too. All buildings need to comply with mezzanine floor regulations. If you ignore them, you could face expensive fines, business closure, and even criminal charges.

In this guide, we'll look at what a mezzanine floor is, what the law states, and how to build them in the safest manner.

What is a mezzanine floor?

A mezzanine floor is a semi-permanent platform that's built between the main levels of a building.

It's an elevated platform or balcony that's added in the existing building. However they don't usually count as an actual floor. A mezzanine installation can include stages, stairwells, and even corridors.

These floors are usually free-standing and built for long-term use. But they can be dismantled and relocated; that's why they don't class as a permanent structure.

Despite that, there is planning and construction legislation that every employer must comply with. These are outlined under UK building regulations.

Do you need planning permission to build mezzanine floors?

You don't usually need planning permission to build mezzanine floors. That's because these are often planned for private buildings.

However, you may need building regulations approval from the local council or authority if it's required. You'll need planning permission when the mezzanine floor:

  • Will be used for office space or work.
  • Will cover any areas that require planning permission.
  • Will accommodate external alterations.
  • Is used for office or retail usage of over 200 sqm.

What are mezzanine floor building regulations?

The Building Regulations 2010 outline the main legal requirements on infrastructure. They cover:

  • 'Procedural regulations state what work needs building regulations approval and how it should be obtained'. 
  • 'Technical requirements highlight standards that should be achieved by the building work'.

UK building regulations apply to multiple areas when it comes to construction. But there are four approved parts specific to mezzanine floors:

Part A: Structural safety

This concentrates on the structural integrity of the new mezzanine floor.

It specifically focuses on weight-load found on the platform - at any given time. The total weight capacity considers things like equipment, materials, and even people.

Maximum capacities are calculated according to the mezzanine flooring. If your structural calculations are wrong, it could lead to Health & Safety risks. Especially injuries related to working from heights.

Part B: Fire safety

Employers need to think about fire safety when it comes to their mezzanine floor.

People need to be able to escape from the floor quickly and safely. This is particularly crucial when it comes to emergency situations, like fires.

UK building regulations highlight numerous measures on fire protection. For example:

  • Travel distance towards emergency exits.
  • Stairwell position and maintenance.
  • Fire protection procedures (like alarm systems and emergency lighting).

Part K: Protection from falling

One of the biggest workplace risks linked to mezzanine floors is falling. This includes falls, collisions, and impacts.

Usually, mezzanine levels are built higher than the actual floor of a building. It might be a 30cm platform or a 30m-high work-floor area.

Because it's an elevated floor, people are at a higher risk of falling. That's why you need adequate protection around all edges of the floor. For example, this includes handrails or pallet gates.

You also need to make sure your stairwells are free from slip, trip, and fall hazards. When people fall from a height, the injuries upon impact are usually higher.

Part M: Access and use

This covers the best practice guidance on entering and using mezzanine floors.

To get building regulation approval for them, you need to comply with specific standards on accessibility.

They cover things like suitable stairwells, flooring, and mobility access. For example, you need to think about anyone who requires lift-access. Like people with wheelchairs or walking sticks.

How to get building regulation approval for mezzanine floors

Employers may decide to implement a mezzanine floor solution for any kind of purpose. Maybe you want to extend your work-area; or build more storage facilities.

But before you jump into the design stage, let's take a look at how to get building regulation approval for mezzanine floors:

Planning stage

The first step employers need to take is to outline your planning stages.

Without legitimate plans, you could be ordered to stop or dismantle your floor - even after it's fully built. You could even be forced to pay hefty fines in some cases.

During your planning stages, you'll be required to complete documents and send them to a building regulating officer. These can include:

  • Application process and required consents from local authorities.
  • Layout plans of every level of the building (including ground floor).
  • External or internal building plan showing the location of the floor.
  • Structural calculations of the floor.

Emergency lighting

Along with your plan, you need to think about all structure-related safety areas. An important one is emergency lighting.

It's legally required to have emergency lighting fitted on mezzanine floors. That's because there's an increased risk to safety and welfare.

If you're building them for storage purposes, normal lighting is acceptable (but this depends on the size of the area).

Fire detection

Another important safety area to consider is fire detection. It's not enough to include an alarm system in your design process. You need to be fully compliant with all fire regulations in the law.

If a mezzanine floor project is less than 10 sqm, the only fire-rated requirement you need is emergency lighting.

If the floor is between 10 sqm and 20 sqm, you must have either fire resistance or fire detection methods in place.

Mezzanine floor projects larger than this legally require fire protection and detection methods. This level of fire protection is commonly found in a retail space or office mezzanine floor.

For example, if your mezzanine construction includes a suspended ceiling, you must use cladding materials that are fire-resistance.

Travel distances

You need to think about the travel distance between the mezzanine floor and emergency exits.

Travel distance requirements will differ depending on things like, the number of floors, steps, and levels being built. But this needs to comply with building regulations that cover evacuation plans.

In the past, people would consider these distances against the sprinkler system or ceiling height in their buildings. But now you must comply with proper building regulations.

Approval on completion

Lastly, you may need to work closely with independent building control teams or approved inspectors.

Your building control team will help ensure the mezzanine construction was completed through the safest methods. They'll ensure the floor was built properly. The building control team will also check certification for fire alarms, heating, and air conditioning.

Once the building control team is happy, the approved inspector will sign a building regulations application. This means the mezzanine level has met British standards; and is safe for employees or the public to access.

Are there building regulations for mezzanine staircases?

Yes, there are distinct building regulations for mezzanine staircases. But these will vary depending on what type of staircase you're planning to build.

Industrial staircases are built for production or storage mezzanine floor use. These requirements come under 'Approved Document B'; and include things like step height (rises), stair tread (going), and nosing (edges).

General staircases are ones you'll find in retail or office spaces. Here, you'll need to consider all the above. But you may plan for railings, bannisters, and balcony-glass.

Utility staircases, like fire escapes, aren't normally used on a daily basis. These have the same legal obligations as industrial and general approved staircases. But you may need to consider sufficient landing space and height requirements for guarding.

Get expert advice on mezzanine floor building regulations with Peninsula

Every business must take full responsibility when it comes to building a mezzanine floor. This includes everything - from your construction materials to your mezzanine floor design.

But the whole process involves more than just extending your building. It's about protecting the welfare of your employees and visitors. If you neglect the laws, you could face expensive fines, business closure, and even criminal charges.

Peninsula offers expert advice on mezzanine floor building regulations. Our teams provide 24/7 Health & Safety advice which is available 365 days a year. We take care of everything when you work with our Health & Safety experts.

Want to find out more? Contact us on 0800 028 2420 and book a free consultation with a Health & Safety consultant today.

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