Although mezzanine floors appear to be relatively simple constructions, their design and build is actually an increasingly complex business. A major reason for this is the ever-growing role of robotics and automation in the distribution sector. These technologies bring special demands for mezzanine solutions in terms of maximising strength and minimising both vibration and electrostatic resistance.
"You don't know what you don't know, until it's too late," says Geoff Green, Sales Director for MiTek Mezzanine Systems. "If you get an experienced mezzanine company involved early in the life of your project, you can tap into their expertise in order to achieve the optimum design for your business needs, both today and tomorrow." Of course, the greater the experience of your mezzanine supplier, the greater the scope for advice that can save you time, money or both.
Crucially, companies should speak to their mezzanine supplier before signing off their building and layout design. Experience shows that this is the stage when a mezzanine company can add real value by suggesting design enhancements for a project, as well as helping to avoid common pitfalls.
At this point, it is beneficial for potential customers to visit the sites of existing clients to see mezzanines in operation. "Leaving contact until later in the project journey," says Geoff Green, "may mean that your floor cannot be designed in the most cost-effective way – or even that it's not technically feasible, resulting in expensive alterations and delays."
For some countries in Europe, tighter fire safety regulations make it even more advantageous for companies to speak to their mezzanine supplier early on. Sometimes the fire strategy embedded in the building design can be more stringent than necessary, making the installation of a steel mezzanine – with additional sprinklers and so on, to meet the strategy – less competitive than a concrete one. "A concrete mezzanine is generally a more expensive option and obviously affords less flexibility for the future," says Geoff Green. "This is where expertise from an international supplier with local knowledge of the prevailing planning, building and health & safety regulations is invaluable."
Early collaboration also enhances the opportunities for sharing insight about your company's current operations and growth ambitions to help make your mezzanine solution future-proof. "At MiTek Mezzanine Systems, future-proofing is an integral part of our process," says Geoff Green. "When we offer a solution, we are not just thinking about the completion of the project but about whether it will be suitable in six months’ or three years’ time. This requires deep understanding of a customer’s business and future growth."
With proven project management and phasing skills, your a good mezzanine supplier will be able to help you devise the most time-efficient build plan. This enables you to start operations – and begin earning a return on your investment – sooner. "At MiTek, our aim is to minimize business disruption and maximize speed to market," says Geoff Green. "For example, we work alongside other contractors to ensure that our schedules dovetail to achieve the earliest possible completion date. And don't forget," he adds, "early engagement with your mezzanine supplier helps to ensure that your project is allocated the production capacity it needs to minimize the lead time."