How big can my mezzanine be?
The answer is as big as you want! The only limitations you have are the total net area within the building envelope.
The next consideration is what the town planning of the local Municipal Shire allows us to do. If you add an extra 100 or 200 sqm of mezzanine floor, you need an extra one and a half car parks per 100 sqm of additional storage area. If the mezzanine is going to be used for storage at 200 sqm, we need another 3 car spaces, or an exemption for that.
In some shires they say great, you’ve added 300 sqm; if you want to use it as an office, you will need an extra 10.5 car parks for that. We want you to pay us $15,000 a year as a car park in lieu levy for us to maintain a car park in your locality. The VicSmart application (a town planning application that you can use for a mezzanine floor) can also be used to apply for an exemption if you require a car park reduction of less than ten car spaces. The mezzanine would have to be under 300 sqm to avoid a full town planning application, which can drag on for months as they aren’t time bound. If you have a factory, in an industrial park with plenty of car spaces this won’t impact you and won’t be a limitation on the size. But if you have a tight space with few carparks around, which is why you want a mezzanine, then you will have that car park consideration. The mezzanine can be as big as you want, but if you want it to be this year, then you need the VicSmart application, providing it is applying for a reduction of less than 10 in the request.
The other limitation on the size is the fire rating. If its greater than 200 sqms, it’s no longer a mezzanine, it’s a floor, meaning you need fire control. The Building Code requires fire hose reels; they look at how long the hose is and what you must navigate around. What’s the length of the spray? What are you storing in there? Is it pallet racking? Is it aisles or is it for a staff gymnasium? Length of path of travel to the nearest exit is another limitation to work around.
If the mezzanine is for staff & staff accommodation, and the total Upper Floor area exceeds 200 sqm, the disability access code must be complied with. This means is from all points of the floor from the building entry we need disabled access all the way up. This normally means you must install a lift, which can easily blow out the budget and make it too expensive for you. People say to us all the time, no one here is in a wheelchair. But the building code is immovable, and we must comply with that.
If there’s a separate contained area and it’s just under 200 sqm or less, then it doesn’t require disability access to that floor if it’s going to be for staff. There have been some interesting situations in the past, where people have argued through legal battles that this mezzanine area is for is for technicians and service people only, who scale up and down buildings for their job, so they have a high level of athleticism. This allows for an exemption for very specific cases.
A mezzanine that exceeds 200 sqm triggers additional fire & disability access where the mezzanine is being used for office space. These are things that you all need to factor in; what are the permits we need? What are the risks we have? And how do we make this happen?
That’s why if you engage professionals. If constraining the total mezzanine area to 199 sqm avoids you a whole bunch of compliance, and we can resolve a whole bunch of space planning issues in other areas of your precinct, there’s all the space you need. You then avoid uneconomical compliance costs with the greater floor area for the mezzanine.
Engage the professionals, we’re here to help you! We’re here to make sure you get a return on investment. We are all about making people happier, healthier, and more productive in their work lives.