Steel wide flange beams, C-sections, bar joists and girder joists are all used to create mezzanines used for storage, material handling and other equipment support.
Each piece for industrial framing has specific qualities that must be considered when designing a pre-engineered mezzanine system or platform. Those qualities affect the structure’s load capacity, size, maximum span, depth of structure, and cost.
As with any elevated structure, mezzanines are designed to resist sway in various directions and dissipate energy from seismic events, from traffic or equipment movement on the mezzanines, or from loads. Though a mezzanine may meet 125 PSF design load, other factors can affect how comfortable workers may be on the platform, such as deflection or joist spacing.
- C-Section – These spans, up to 20 feet, are usually formed from flat structural steel and are typically used in small to medium-size applications, normally less than 2,000 square feet. A C-section mezzanine can be cost-effective for smaller needs. One limitation is the number of columns needed for support.
- Beam and C-Section — A beam and C-section combination allows spans more than 20 feet in one direction, while keeping the depth of structure to a minimum. This combination can be used in all size mezzanine applications. While mezzanines of this design typically cost more than C-section systems, they offer flexibility in column location and have no load limitations.
- Beam and Beam – In this approach, all wide-flange beam design is used when heavy loading or unusual spans are required. Beam-and-beam mezzanines are typically less than 2,000 square feet. This type of system offers great flexibility in column spans.
- Beam and Bar Joist — This system is used for medium to large projects were wide spans and high capacity are needed. The beam and bar joist combination allows large spans and open webs which easily allow conduit or pipe passage.
- Bar Joist and Girder Joist – This set-up is open-web in both directions and is typically used in large projects or in large spans where high capacity is needed.
Structural mezzanine systems are more flexible than permanent construction yet offer the same reliability, quality and performance. A free-standing mezzanine can be custom designed to fit in your building and are considered a piece of equipment and, thus, may have depreciation benefits for a business as compared to the costs of new construction.
Kevin O’Neill is Sales and Marketing Vice President at Steele Solutions, a mezzanine system designer and manufacturer based in metropolitan Milwaukee. More information on mezzanines for warehouses and distribution centers can be found at www.steelesolutions.com.