15 Nov.,2022


pallet rack mezzanine

Mezzanines or work platforms are an excellent way to take advantage of often underutilized warehouse “cube” space.  By cube we mean the 3rd dimension… not just square footage but vertical space too.  You’re paying for the whole inside of your facility, so why not maximize every bit of it, right?

Mezzanines can support office space, additional manufacturing or storage operations. Planning out the best use of this space should include choosing the best method for building your platform to ensure a safe, efficient work space.  There are two primary construction options, both far less expensive than new construction. So if your business is growing or processes are changing and you need more space it is wise to consider these value-adding options.

The two main construction options are:

  • Industrial Work Platform (IWP)
  • Rack Supported Mezzanine

The IWP is a freestanding heavy-duty structure that can be configured to accommodate almost any aspect of business growth.  From small standard designs to multi-level custom structures these bolt-together systems are built to handle the workload of a busy operation.  Heavy-duty rails, stairs, ladders, lifts and gates can be designed into your structure where needed. Several decking choices provide the appropriate coverage for your needs such as moisture-resistant, open grating or heavy-traffic surfacing.

A few pros inherent in IWP construction:

  • Fewer columns than rack supported mezzanines
  • More versatility with column placement and design
  • More versatility with stair, drop gate, handrail placement and modifications
  • More flexible to accommodate operational changes i.e. adding conveyor, carton flow, shelving, workstations or offices
  • Sprinkler systems can be added to the webbing in joist and girder system modules

While an IWP is clearly a solid choice for many applications, there are a few things to consider before settling on this option.  They include:

  • Footings may be needed depending on # of mezzanine levels and concrete
  • IWP is costlier than rack supported mezzanines
  • Support structure is needed for carton flow or pallet flow applications
  • Generally there is less clearance under the module than a rack supported structure

Now, let’s take a look rack supported mezzanines as a comparison.  This mezzanine can be designed within the pallet racking and over the aisle space, or over the top of the racking uprights. To secure the mezzanine frame, it is bolted to the uprights and then the decking is fitted to the frame.  Pallet storage is accessible below and on the perimeters while making use of the added square-footage of the mezzanine above… ensuring a very cost-effective overall use of the pallet rack.  Like IWP’s, flooring options are varied to accommodate the platform function.  As well, railings, stairs, conveyors and lifts can be attached to the structure but may require additional structural support beams.

Pros of rack supported mezzanine construction:

  • Racking structure allows you to support carton flow, cantilever shelving, pallet flow, conveyor, stairs and pallet gates
  • More cost effective than an IWP
  • Generally no need for footings when constructing multiple levels
  • Visually appealing with racking system

Things to consider when deciding on rack supported mezzanines:

  • More columns than for an IWP
  • Less flexibility down the road
  • Harder to expand on to the footprint cross-aisle direction

Overall, the mezzanine is a great use of that cube space you are already paying for.  Both choices are cost-effective when compared to new construction and downtime to build your new platform can even be minimized with proper planning.  Apex Warehouse Systems engineers can help you decide if either of these choices makes the most sense for your growing warehousing needs.  Our design standards guarantee that building codes, load-bearing considerations, fire & safety requirements, etc. are included in your complete project package.  Call us today!

If you’d like to see some of our recent mezzanine builds, check out our gallery page… or give us a call and we’ll tell you all about them!