Mezzanine Systems Part II: Shelving-Supported Mezzanines

Mezzanine Systems Part II: Shelving-Supported Mezzanines


This week, we’re continuing to explore the three main types of mezzanine systems in detail.


As a reminder, the three types are:


  1. Free-standing structural steel multi-level mezzanines, designed to maximize floor space and take advantage of unused overhead space. Read Part I about free-standing mezzanine systems in detail here.


  1. Shelving Supported Mezzanines consist of a second floor of decking over an entire lower level of shelving or pallet rack. The second level consists of rack, shelving, offices, or work areas, and allows relatively unlimited placement of items on the second floor.


  1. Catwalk Mezzanine Systems consist of high-rise racking or shelving with decking placed only in aisles. This mezzanine requires shelving to be the same on all levels, but makes catwalks less expensive to construct. This structure is useful for the staff to get from one point to another.


Which type of mezzanine system is right for your warehouse needs? That depends on your budget, your ideal warehouse layout and design, the type of product to be stored, the height of your building, and local building codes. The experts at Specialized Storage would be happy to consult with your business as to the recommended type of mezzanine for your work.


Today, we’re focusing on the logistics and applications of shelving-supported mezzanine systems.

Shelving-Supported Mezzanines


Shelving supported mezzanine systems consist of a second floor of decking over an entire lower level of shelving or pallet rack. This type of mezzanine structure utilizes pre-installed racks or shelves for their foundation, typically metal shelving, rivet shelving, or wide-span shelving.  Then platforms and desking are installed on top of the shelving, creating a new mezzanine level. The second level consists of rack, shelving, offices, or work areas, and allows relatively unlimited placement of items on the second floor.


The benefits to this type of mezzanine system include:

  • Virtually doubling your floor space, as with most mezzanine types
  • Optimizing your space by combining shelf storage and new office space or additional storage space on the second level
  • Utilizing existing atmosphere heating and cooling within the building
  • Simple installation
  • Customized design
  • Can often utilize your existing shelving unites
  • Adjustable shelf heights
  • Access to storage racks from all side
  • Tax benefit through categorizing mezzanine as equipment rather than property



Typical Applications


A common way to maximize space with the shelving supported mezzanine is to install a modular office or conference room on the second level. These mezzanine systems are often used in automotive warehouses and spare parts storage warehouses that need to utilize heavy-duty storage racks in concentrated spaces. In the case of adding a mezzanine modular office, conference room, or employee break room, shelving supported mezzanine systems make excellent use of the space on the first floor for heavy parts storage while opening up the mezzanine level for these work spaces. It is important to note that the capacity shouldn’t exceed 125 pounds per square foot.


Important Considerations


It is important to note that the capacity shouldn’t exceed 125 pounds per square foot.


These multi-level systems may require stamped and sealed drawings from an engineer registered in that particular state who is familiar with local code compliance.


Decking Options


The type of decking used depends on the application, but in general we look for a lightweight decking option.  Resindeck installed over corrugated decking is typically used in scenarios where there is heavy cart or pallet jack usage, and where durability is a major concern. Bulk rack or shelving can be placed anywhere on the second level with minimum deflection and does not have to be restricted to being supported by the shelving or rack below it. You will typically require the installation of sprinklers above and below the deck even though the corrugated steel deck acts as a fire baffle.


Bar grating is another very common method of deck furnished with the shelving supported mezzanine, and it is typically used where there is a desire for air flow or light needing to penetrate through the deck to the lower level. Even though the steel grating allows for 80 percent pass-through of air and water, most building code officials will still require the installation of sprinklers under the deck to prevent fires from spreading.


Handrail Considerations


The type of handrail required around the perimeter will be determined by the local building code and the use of the second level structure.  For example, whether the mezzanine is used for storage or it will become offices in which personnel will be walking up and down the system on a daily basis.


Vertical picket railing is typically required in an office environment.  IBC code regulations state that a stair must have an internal rail to make it handicap accessible.**


The horizontal railing on the perimeter of the mezzanine level will typically be three-rail (BOCA) or two-rail (OSHA) compliant.


Self-closing swing gates or sliding gates are used in instances where product must be lifted through an opening on to the mezzanine with a lift truck or vertical reciprocating conveyor (VRC).


Stair Types


The type of stair required also depends on the application.


Additionally you must consider fire codes regarding escape paths and the potential requirement of a second staircase. Local fire codes typically state that you cannot have more than 75 feet from a primary means of egress in order to be in compliance. So, in the condition that your mezzanine system extends beyond 75 feet from your primary staircase, a second set of stairs will be required.


IBC code regulations state that a stair must have an internal rail to make it handicap accessible. If the shelving supported mezzanine is for storage only, you may not require the internal railing.**


**See your local building code for compliance and for horizontal stair runs.


 Success Stories


Over the years, our dedicated teams have taken on projects on almost every scale. Our talented employees have successfully been able to adapt to the varying applications and budgets, delivering the desired mezzanine structures within budget and minimal issues. The following are some success stories and examples of various uses of shelving supported mezzanine systems.



Frank’s Truck Center:


From the owner: “A few years ago, my company was ready to update and get more organized. The parts department always seemed chaotic to me, so when I started working in that department more, I decided it was time to make a change. So, a few years back I started researching different manufacturers of shelving, racks, mezzanines, etc. After trying a different company first and realizing that I wasn’t happy with it and it was too cost-prohibitive, I came across Specialized Storage, got in touch with them and we got to work right away with some ideas.


We actually did the project over 4 different phases so that we didn’t interrupt operation, as we have a pretty large operation going on at all times. We were able to relocate our parts into the new space as the project progressed.


They touched base with me almost every day of the project – it went very smoothly. I’m extremely happy with the job they did – from design to project completion. We’ve completely redesigned our warehouse now, and it has really changed the culture of the whole department from chaos to organization. My salesmen can find parts right away now instead of spending hours searching. In fact, we’ve got so much extra space that we have 30% of the warehouse empty now – so we are going to expand without having to purchase an additional build-on.”

mezzanine systems


Fred Beans Parts


Fred Beans Parts bought a new building in 1995 and needed to house parts for each of his 22 dealerships and other wholesale operations in the New Jersey Pennsylvania region. They needed a company that was capable of handling a large job, that knew automotive parts distribution, and that could help them get the best utilization of space in the building. Specialized Storage Solutions recommended the installation of a combination Borroughs shelving supported and structural steel mezzanine for their NAPA Auto Parts franchise and wholesale parts business. Fast forward to today, the mezzanine has expanded to over 12,000 square feet and we have been called back to do layout and design of many other areas of the building and have installed used bulk racks, dock levelers, tire racks, sheet metal racks, modular offices, and modular drawers. We are one of their preferred vendors and have also been contacted by several of their car dealers to install the same equipment.

Mezzanine Systems Part II: Shelving-Supported Mezzanines


Johnstons Toyota

Johnstons Toyota renovated and expanded their existing parts and service facility and needed a reputable company to analyze their inventory, design a productive layout, and install a structural/shelving supported mezzanine. They had heard that we had become the go-to guys for efficient layout and design of parts and service facilities, so we were happy to help when they called.  We counted their inventory, designed a layout to make them most productive, and installed a structural/shelving supported mezzanine complete with the right amount of storage for each item. Johnstons has since built a second parts and service facility and called us in to design and build another Borroughs shelving supported mezzanine along with modular drawers, stainless steel counter, structural support, and workbenches. They have had years of uninterrupted use, and we feel confident that they will call us again when they expand further.


Mezzanine Systems Part II: Shelving-Supported Mezzanines