How to achieve a successful work platform design

July 9, 2020 10:03 am

Adding work platforms, sometimes called mezzanine platforms, within the warehouse effectively increases the usable area without adding a building footprint. Work platform storage systems, sometimes incorrectly referred to as mezzanine storage systems may have more than one level. Work platforms allow business owners to effectively use the vertical spaces of a factory or hangar while freeing precious space on the floor.

Work platform systems (wrongly called Metal mezzanine systems) are strong and durable, low maintenance, and fire-resistant. Work platforms (mezzanines) are permanent, completely customized structures; hence one must consider the following:

  • Their intended use and full expected load capacity that will determine its structural design, whether the work platform (mezzanine platform) is used for manufacturing, storing equipment or consumables, assembly, or automation purposes.
  • Distribution of weight across the work platform and the estimated load on the inner columns, which will support more load than the outer ones; for example, a concrete reinforced platform is used for hefty machinery, conveyors, or pallet jacks.
  • Required height above and underneath the structure and what purpose will the space be used for. Ceilings, ducts and bridge cranes, plumbing, and HVAC systems will dictate where and how a work platform can be built.
  • Who will be accessing the work platform, and how will you load and unload in work platform storage systems, or, mezzanine storage systems. If employees, visitors, and customers have access, safety features will have to be installed. These include handrails, gates, stairs, safety loading gates, guard rails, kick plates, and landings.
  • Higher density storage may require work platform systems to support shelf or rack storage.
  • Building Permit process time may be longer than the time required to engineer, design, fabricate and install a project. Plan check corrections can be time consuming and frustrating.
  • Building and safety codes are strict government requirements. Lighting and fire safety equipment must be located precisely. All codes, permits, safety, and structure of the work platform should be met. The slab thickness, soil quality, flooring material, reinforcements, presence of a water table can determine the weight that a work platform system (mezzanine storage system) can hold.
  • Column layout: column spacing is critical to hold a structural work platform (mezzanine). The more the columns the greater the load capacity. However, this may disrupt activities and storage space beneath the platform.
  • If the work platform (mezzanine) will be exposed to heat, moisture, or chemicals or contain perishable stuff, these must be considered during the construction process.

Work platforms (Mezzanine platforms) can be made in various sizes, styles, and materials depending on their intended purpose:

  • Structural: freestanding and column supported.
  • Custom manufactured: Made to order, factory-built, and assembled on-site, may vary in design.
    Preconfigured: Built-in standard size in modules and assembled, with standard safety and code rules.
  • Custom fabricated: The work platform (mezzanine) is built in place and has complex structural configurations.
  • Rack or shelf supported: Custom-made work platform systems store high-density weight in racks and shelves.

A variety of mezzanine structure options can be viewed in the Western Pacific SureSTEP portfolio. It’s essential to thoroughly research your options in order to choose the right work platform solution.

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