Fire Protection Methods for Warehouse Mezzanines

Fire Protection Methods for Warehouse Mezzanines

Mezzanine floor system provide a practical and cost-efficient way for businesses to optimise their space without resorting to major renovations or relocation. They can be installed quickly and tailored to meet a variety of needs. However, regardless of its purpose, materials, or design, it’s essential to prioritise the safety of your warehouse – not only to protect the goods stored, but most importantly, your employees. 

One area that often gets overlooked are fire protection methods for your mezzanine. These elevated spaces can present unique challenges when it comes to fire protection. Fortunately, with careful planning and the right precautions, risks can be significantly reduced. At Unistor, we always emphasise safety first, which is why we’ve created this easy guide to help you understand and implement fire protection methods for your warehouse mezzanine

What Fire Safety Features Are Required for Your Mezzanine Floor in Australia?

In Australia, compliance with fire safety regulations is a fundamental aspect of any construction project, and mezzanine floors are no exception. Given the unique nature of each warehouse operation, a one-size-fits-all approach to fire safety doesn’t exist. Therefore, consulting a qualified fire engineer for a comprehensive evaluation is crucial for each project, whether it’s a new building construction or the addition of a mezzanine floor. For those considering installing mezzanine floors in Australia, here’s a general overview of fire safety features to consider:

Fire-Resistant Materials

Using fire-resistant or non-combustible materials for the construction of the mezzanine can substantially reduce the risk of fire:

  • Flooring: Opt for fire-resistant flooring materials like Unistor’s UNILIN panelling, concrete or 100% Australian-made steel
  • Dividers & Partitions: If you are using partitions on your mezzanine, ensure they are made of fire-retardant materials.


Mezzanine Insulation Elements

Depending on their size and purpose, different insulation methods are used for fire-proofing or improving the structural integrity of mezzanine floors in case of a fire event. Here are some commonly used fire protection elements:

  • Column Casings: These do exactly what they say on the tin – insulating casings that create a barrier between mezzanine columns and fire, keeping them intact and therefore holding the mezzanine in place for up to an hour, giving those working underneath or around it enough time to evacuate.

  • Edge Fascias: As the name suggests, edge fascias are fitted to the edges of a mezzanine floor to prevent the flames, heat, and smoke from reaching the mezzanine floor from the edges.
  • Cavity Barriers: These barriers are placed within the small spaces or gaps between walls and ceilings in many structures. When exposed to heat, they expand, acting as a shield that stops fire, heat, and smoke from spreading through these gaps.
  • Suspended Ceiling Panels: Think of these as protective tiles placed below the mezzanine floor. If a fire starts on the ground level, these tiles help block the fire and heat, offering protection for up to an hour.


Install Fire Suppression Systems

These systems are designed to be the first line of defence. They detect and suppress fires before they can spread:

  • Sprinkler Systems: Automatic sprinkler systems can quickly put out fires. For mezzanines, opt for early suppression fast response (ESFR) sprinklers that can manage high-challenge fires.


Maintain Clear Exits and Signage

In the event of a fire, having a safe evacuation plan in place is absolutely crucial.

  • Marked Exits: Always have clearly marked exit points from the mezzanine level.
  • Emergency Lighting: Install emergency lights to guide individuals during power outages or in dense smoke.
  • Evacuation Plans: Regularly train employees on evacuation routes and procedures.

Regular Inspections and Maintenance

A system is only as good as its maintenance!

  • Routine Checks: Regularly inspect all fire protection systems, ensuring they are in optimal working condition.
  • Professional Assessment: Talk to our team of professionals at Unistor to assess your warehouse’s unique risks and provide tailored solutions.


Effective Warehouse Layout

Sticking to the time-tested principle, “prevention is better than cure,” it’s vital to ensure warehouses are designed with fire safety in mind! Effective warehouse layout can include:

  • Organised Storage: By systematically arranging goods, not only is it easier to locate items, but it also significantly reduces the chances of accidental fires, as items aren’t piled haphazardly.
  • Reducing Clutter: Keeping aisles and spaces clear is essential. Excessive or misplaced items can easily become unintentional fuel for fires. A clean, streamlined space minimises risks, ensures smoother operations, and promotes overall safety. 


Fire Safety Training

Equip your staff with the knowledge they need:

  • Training Programs: Conduct regular fire safety training sessions. Ensure that every employee understands the risks and knows how to respond. 
  • Fire Drills: Practice makes perfect. Conduct periodic fire drills to ensure everyone is familiar with the evacuation process.


Is Fire Rating Essential for All Mezzanines?

Not all mezzanine floors need a fire rating. For example, mezzanines used exclusively for storage or those not accessed frequently may be exempt from these requirements. However, floors used for industrial activities like manufacturing, retail, or office work that have constant or frequent occupancy must be fire-rated. Size also makes a difference! Small mezzanines (typically less than 20m in both length and width) may not need a fire rating. With regulatory goal posts shifting over time, you should always seek advice from licensed professionals to understand the necessary fire protection measures for their mezzanines.

Consult Unistor for Expert Fire Safety Guidance

While mezzanines offer valuable additional storage space in warehouses, it’s important to be aware of the potential fire safety risks in your warehouse. By implementing the protective measures detailed above, you can ensure the safety of both your goods and your staff. As Australia’s leading manufacturer and supplier of mezzanine flooring solutions, Unistor are dedicated to providing solutions that prioritise safety. If you have any questions or need further assistance with setting up fire protection systems for your warehouse mezzanine, don’t hesitate to reach out to our expert team. 

Choose Unistor as the right mezzanine solution and increase your storage capacity by double.

Double the floor space in your warehouse

Contact our professionals today to tailor a Mezzanine Floor solution to meet your requirements