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Mezzanines vs Equipment Platforms – The differences

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In the realm of industrial design and architecture, understanding the distinctions between an equipment platform and a mezzanine is important for optimal space utilization and compliance with safety standards.

At Upside Innovations, we specialize in crafting both stair and platform products that cater to these distinct needs. An equipment platform, typically unoccupied, is designed primarily for storing and accessing mechanical systems or industrial equipment, offering up to 2/3 of the floor space coverage below it. This contrasts with a mezzanine, a permanent, integral part of the building’s structure covering only 1/3 of the floor space. Mezzanines are often used for additional workspace or storage, requiring stringent building permits and adherence to fire safety regulations. Our bespoke stair solutions, whether for mezzanines or equipment platforms, ensure safe and efficient access, aligning with the specific structural and regulatory requirements of each type of elevated space.

Mezzanines vs Equipment Platforms Key Differences

  • Structure: Mezzanines are permanent; equipment platforms are not.
  • Usage: Mezzanines for workspace; platforms for equipment.
  • Impact on Building: Mezzanines affect building’s structure and fire safety requirements.
Equipment PlatformMezzanine
An unoccupied, elevated platform for storing and accessing mechanical systems or industrial equipment.A permanent intermediate level within a building, part of its physical structure.
IBC Section 505.3
Not part of the floor below; doesn’t contribute to building area or number of stories.
IBC Section 505.2:
Considered a portion of the story below.
Size Limitations:Can cover up to 2/3 of the floor space belowNo larger than 1/3 of the overall floor space below
Fire Area CalculationNot included in building’s fire areaIncluded in the building’s fire area
Egress RequirementsCannot be part of building’s means of egressMust have a means of egress (OSHA codes may apply)
Building Permit ApprovalLess stringent processMore stringent process
Depreciation7-year depreciation period31-year depreciation period

OSHA Codes

  • Means of Egress: OSHA 1910.36 (General requirements for egress).
  • Fire Safety: OSHA 1910.39 (Fire prevention plans).

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) provides guidelines and regulations that are relevant to both equipment platforms and mezzanines, primarily focusing on safety aspects. While OSHA does not have specific standards that separately address equipment platforms and mezzanines, their general safety standards apply to both. Here are key areas where OSHA’s regulations are pertinent:

  1. Fall Protection: OSHA requires fall protection for any worker on a walking/working surface with an unprotected side or edge that is 4 feet or more above a lower level. This applies to both mezzanines and equipment platforms.
  2. Guardrails: OSHA standards mandate guardrails on the open sides of mezzanines and equipment platforms to prevent falls. This includes the requirement for a standard railing and toe-board on open sides.
  3. Safe Access: Safe access must be provided to mezzanines and equipment platforms. This includes the use of stairs, ladders, or access equipment that meets OSHA’s specifications for safety.
  4. Load Capacity: OSHA requires that mezzanines and platforms be capable of supporting the intended load with a substantial safety margin. The load capacity should be clearly posted as a warning to users.
  5. Egress: Adequate means of egress must be provided for mezzanines, ensuring quick and safe evacuation in case of an emergency. This includes the number of exits and the distance to exits.
  6. Stairways and Ladders: If stairways or ladders are used to access mezzanines or platforms, they must comply with OSHA’s standards for construction, angle, width, railings, and maintenance.
  7. Maintenance and Inspection: Regular maintenance and inspection of mezzanines and equipment platforms are required to ensure they remain safe to use and comply with OSHA standards.
  8. Training: Employers must train employees on the hazards associated with mezzanines and equipment platforms, including fall hazards and load capacity.

It’s important to note that while these general guidelines apply, specific requirements can vary based on the industry, the use of the mezzanine or platform, and other factors. Consulting with a safety expert or directly with OSHA is advisable for compliance with all relevant safety standards.