‘Will my mezzanine need fire protection?’ is a question we frequently get asked by potential customers planning to install a mezzanine floor. Fire protection (also known as ‘fire rating’) as much as it can be an additional cost is very important for protecting employees or users in the case of an emergency. In the unlikely event of there being a fire the fire rating helps to extend the time users on or around the mezzanine have to evacuate if necessary. It also helps the fire services calculate how much ‘safe’ time they potentially have if they need to enter the mezzanine.
When does a mezzanine need fire rating or fire protection?
Part B of the Building Regulations stipulate that one hour fire protection must be installed to the underside of the floor if any of the following conditions apply:
- The mezzanine is intended for office or production use, where personnel will continuously be working on the first floor
- The mezzanine will occupy more than 50% of the building floor area
- The size of the floor is greater than 20 metres in either direction or the overall area exceeds 400 square metres
- The underside of the mezzanine will be enclosed
This fire protection comprises of a suspended ceiling below the floor with specific one hour fire rated ceiling tiles, a one hour fire rated fascia along all exposed edges and fire rated casings fitted to the mezzanine support columns. Fascia and column casings are available in a white polyester or a galvanised finish.
As a general rule, smaller mezzanine floors intended only for storage will not require fire protection but it is best to consult or be guided by your specialist as all mezzanines should go through a building control/approval process. Your supplier and installer will offer to carry out the building control sign off on your behalf or you can opt to do this yourself.