Raised Access Flooring – what does it really involve?

Raised Access Flooring – what does it really involve?

What is Raised Access Flooring?

Raised access floor (RAF) comprises of load bearing floor panels, laid in a horizontal grid, supported by adjustable vertical pedestals, to provide an under floor space for the housing and distribution of services. The floor panels are readily removable to allow quick access to the under floor services.

What are the benefits?

  • Tidies away space-wasting pipes, ducts and cables
  • Improves the productivity and marketability of any office or retail space
  • Can be used to demarcate separate areas within an office or retail environment
  • Controls overheating of computer servers
  • Allows quick and easy access to water / electric / telecoms / air conditioning services for maintenance purposes

What alternatives are there?

Instead of RAF you could consider suspended ceilings, skirting or specialist furniture, although these tend not to be as flexible or have the same longevity as raised access flooring.

What types of businesses and properties use RAF?

RAF is used today in a wide range of situations and properties. From financial companies and call centres where there is a need for a significant level of telecoms and computer equipment installation, to retail outlets that may require raised access floors with special finishes, to pharmaceutical and food manufacturing environments that have stringent health and safety requirements.

What structural requirements do I need to consider?

The versatile nature of the raised access flooring system means that it can be used in many different scenarios, in large comms rooms containing heavy equipment the floor can be strengthened with stringer and braces to the understructure. In more lightweight commercial office applications the floor can go to a lower floor void whilst still allowing for the services contained beneath.

What types of finishes are available?

Raised access flooring panels can have finishes adhered during production including SD vinyls, Porcelain, Stone and a variety of wood finishes. Once the raised access flooring is installed any number of loose lay finishes can be over laid, carpet tiles and loose lay vinyl tiles.

Are there regulations I need to be aware of?

No – other than standard building regulations which cover the fit out works of buildings and offices.

How long will it take?

How long is a piece of string? Timeframes differ for every project and will depend on the size and shape of the area where the raised access flooring is to be installed, the existing conditions of the building and current flooring, and the exact specification of the project. With fit-outs of existing offices and large clear areas the raised access flooring can be installed fairly rapidly and with little or no prep work. Following installation, trades can get back on to the floorplate within 24/48hrs.

Do I need to do anything in advance of getting RAF installed?

All that is required is an existing sound substrate and a suitable height/depth of area to take the floor and the services you want to install beneath it.

Are there any specific maintenance requirements post installation?

Post installation the floor has a guarantee for approximately 25 years and the full system is free standing and requires little or no maintenance. The most common problems occur when untrained operatives access the floor void and replace panels incorrectly. As part of our service we offer training and the relevant tools required to access the floor void.