What is raised Access Flooring?
A raised access floor provides a solution to the problem of housing the many services associated with modern communication technology. It conceals all cabling while allowing easy access for maintenance or changes. The floor voids can also be used as plenums for air distribution. It provides maximum flexibility and therefore the facility to design the floor layout to suit the needs of the modern offices for existing and new tenants.
These benefits are equally applicable for retail, exhibition and education space, computer rooms, control rooms,
laboratories, clean rooms and other applications. A raised access floor system consists of panels, understructure and accessories. Typically the size of the panel is 600mm x 600mm supported by pedestals of various heights from 50mm to 1200mm. As the floor heights increases additional rigidity can be provided by the use of steel cross braces / stringers or other methods such as mechanical fixing of the panels corners to the under structure. The system may also include complementary accessories such as grommets for passing wires through, outlet boxes to house electrical or telephone sockets and lifting tools to remove or replace panels. Cable Tray and Trunking Systems can be installed for the distribution of power, data and voice services, under the floor. Trunking Systems can also be flush to the surface of the floor.
In addition, heating and ventilating systems can be incorporated into the raised access floor using air grills either
set in the panels or by completely replacing panels. There are various types of panels manufactured using
different materials and designs to meet specific customer requirements. Similarly there are various methods of
supporting the floor panels, typically pedestals made from metal with integral adjustment. The pedestals are fixed to the sub-floor, using adhesive. They may also be fixed mechanically is necessary. A gasket may be applied to the
pedestal head to locate the panels, reduce noise or vibration and in some instances provide electrical continuity.
Accessories facilitate specific design requirements and applications e.g steps, ramps and handrails.
Raised Access Floor Systems may be covered with looselay carpet tiles. It is also possible to obtain factory finished
panels which allow designers a wide choice of finishes and colours.
How to choose a Raised Flooring System:
To determine the appropriate raised access floor system, the specifier needs to consider the application, for example
general offices or computer rooms, the specific performance requirement, loading capacity of the floor and possibly even traffic density. Particularly important are the range of loadings that may be introduced by various types of
equipment. Structural grades or classes categorize raised access floors. These relate to specific loading criteria, namely point, uniform and impact loads linked to deflection and safety factor. Consideration should also be given to the possible need for cavity barriers to meet fire resistance and / or sound insulating properties to comply with specific building requirements.