In the material handling business, space is a hot commodity. When an end-user is looking to increase square footage, there are many options that they can consider: buying a new space, expanding/building on to the existing space, or adding an additional structure. Often, new structures are not the first thought, but installing a work platform can double the space in the facility by using the vertical space available. After looking at all the options, if a work platform is the best choice, the question that comes up is, “How much does it cost to build a mezzanine level?” The answer is not as simple as a uniform dollar amount but a combination of many different factors. In this technical tip, we will break down the various features that go into the cost of your new mezzanine level.
Tips Category: Technical Tip
Safety in the workplace is crucial for the employees and staff at Steele Solutions and for the occupants and workers who use the equipment platforms SSI designs. The #1 hazard for lost-time injuries and workplace deaths, as indicated by OSHA, is fall protection. Most of these injuries occur during construction where workers are in precarious situations with exposed, unprotected areas and working on unstable structures. However, over the structure’s lifetime, the number of workers/operators on a finished platform will far exceed the number of workers during construction.
SSI offers most, if not all, options for structural steel framing members for the design of equipment platforms. Every framing member type has its advantages and limitations, and this discussion will highlight some of the benefits and drawbacks. Structural steel platforms have three common member types: beams, columns, and bracing. Beams can be grouped into joist members and girder members, depending on their primary purpose or function. Joists primarily support decking and span between girder members, whereas girder members are larger and support the joists.
Steele Solutions has the production and design capabilities to provide solutions for equipment platforms outside the material handling industry. SSI excels in small to medium size structures. These platforms vary from a small one-level access platform for equipment operation or maintenance to 4-level tower structures that can be up to 60 feet above ground level. The design of these structures may require a bit more coordination and design time to provide fully engineered solutions, but this does not limit SSI’s ability to provide a solution for equipment access and support.
In a warehouse or distribution facility’s daily operations, getting from point A to point B is half the battle. It can also be the most time-consuming part of operations in a labyrinth of conveyor systems and equipment. Many facilities circumvent this issue by creating access points and walkways that avoid dangerous or hazardous areas and make daily operations more efficient. How frequently these walkways are used and by how many people could dictate drastically different design criteria.
Steele Solutions is continuously looking to improve and adapt to the material handling industry’s needs and desires. Headlining the changes to SSI’s designs is the rollout of a new bolted stair design.
Construction of a new mezzanine or support structure is a big investment, and there is little room for error. In this Technical Tip, we will break down some of the initial steps for getting a new project started.
The 2021 version of the International Building Code (IBC) has been released and is now available. With the release of any new code, there are concerns and adjustments for changes in code language. Fortunately, the 2021 IBC release has few changes that affect the structural design, specifically the material handling industry.
An equipment platform’s design needs to satisfy two significant constraints to meet code: Strength and Serviceability. Designing for strength ensures that the platform will resist all the required load combinations for vertical and lateral loads without exhibiting any failure. In addition to meeting the strength requirements, the individual members and structural system must also meet specific serviceability requirements. Serviceability is the acceptable amount of deformation under the daily use of the platform. The equipment platform’s performance is typically examined by the serviceability of the structure and the human comfort associated with it.
The International Building Code (IBC) defines the “means of egress” as a continuous and unobstructed path of vertical and horizontal egress travel from any occupied portion of a building or structure to a public way. A means of egress consists of three separate and distinct parts: the exit access, the exit, and the exit discharge. This discussion’s focus will be on the exit since most material handling platforms and structures are located in open buildings with little to no separation of areas within the building. When laying out the structures and access to the building structures, the distance to an exit discharge must be considered. This results in creating an egress plan.