Fire Rating of Mezzanine Floors
Do mezzanine floors need to be fire rated?
The intended use of the mezzanine floor will determine whether the floor is required to be fire rated. As a general rule, to comply with Building Regulations all offices located on mezzanine floors will require fire protection. Mezzanine floors can be used for storage and maintenance purposes and not be fire rated, however some storage mezzanines will require fire protection depending on certain criteria:
- If the area of the mezzanine floor exceeds 400m2
- If any edge of the mezzanine floor is in excess of 20 linear metres
- If the size of the mezzanine floor is more than 50% of the room it is installed in.
- If more than 3 people will be working on the mezzanine flooring area at any one time.
Building Regulations and mezzanine floors.
Part B of the Building Regulations covers fire safety. This includes regulations that relate to warning in the event of a fire, fire protection and regulations covering appropriate means of escape.
Fire protection is an important and necessary part of the building regulations and should be a priority in the planning stage when mezzanine flooring is being installed.
Fire protection for a mezzanine floor usually includes a suspended ceiling installed below the mezzanine. This will include fire rated tiles rated at one hour. Fire protection will also include a fascia being applied to exposed edges of the mezzanine.
As a mezzanine floor is usually supported by columns, it is also necessary to ensure that these are adequately protected against fire in order to comply with building regulations. This protection will usually be in the form of intumescent or fire retardant paint, or PVC cladding with a one hour fire rating being applied to each column.
When the mezzanine floor is intended for office use, suitable fire protection will be included that provides at least 30 minutes protection between the mezzanine office area and the warehouse or storage areas of the building in the event of a fire. This usually means that the partitions around the edges of the office mezzanine floor will continue to the roof of the building. Fire boxes will also be installed above ceiling lights to ensure that the ceiling is not breached.
Before going ahead with the installation of a mezzanine floor, it is important to obtain approval from the local fire authority.