Raised Floors in the Lobby

18 January 2021 Tate
Raised access floor in lobby

Raised access floors continue to increase in popularity due to the need for greater flexibility and better indoor air quality. The flexibility the floor system provides makes it easier to rearrange the office layout to accommodate organizational or tenant changes. Additionally, the opportunity for Underfloor Air Distribution can provide your office space with better indoor air quality, energy savings and increased personal comfort. Traditionally, the deployment of access flooring was primarily in the open office and tenant areas of a building. The core of the building was typically designed as a “raised core,” built up out of steel, Styrofoam and concrete. But raised access floors are not only beneficial for the office areas. Access floors are a great solution for the construction of the building’s main entry and core areas as well.

When raised floors are used only in the office and tenant spaces, the lobby floor needs to be raised to meet the height of the access floors to create an even transition between the two spaces. This was traditionally done by building up the core with poured concrete over steel deck or Styrofoam, allowing for the installation of field-applied finishes. The three main issues with this process are access to services, price and construction time. When the floor in the lobby is solid concrete, services cannot be easily routed under the floor and must instead be routed up into the ceiling or fed through a pipe encased in the concrete slab. Additionally, raising the core construction out of traditional materials is typically more expensive than using a raised floor and it takes longer than installing an access floor that is level and ready for any finish, whether factory- or field-applied. Luckily, there’s a much easier solution.

If you’re planning on utilizing raised flooring in the office and tenant spaces, expanding the application through the core is beneficial for several reasons. The raised floor allows you to maintain a uniform slab elevation throughout the whole building, simplifying design and construction. Additionally, the ability to maintain an open service pathway below the floor through the lobby is extremely beneficial. This allows for power, data and air distribution to be routed from the building’s core directly to each office without any disruptions or additional material to maintain the pathway. Finally, using raised floors is also less expensive than building up the core out of alternative materials and it is faster and easier to install.

With raised floors, you can choose between field-applied or factory-applied finishes to maintain the design aesthetic of the building. A field-applied finish can be more easily leveled with raised floors than it would be with a raised core. The understructure can be adjusted to accommodate the different height variations in the lobby and to adapt to any finish height, even a poured finish such as terrazzo, a process that is faster and easier than leveling the concrete and finish material. Alternatively, a factory-applied finish manufactured directly to the raised floor panel integrates style and function into each panel with one simple installation. The factory-applied finish makes it possible to maintain the accessibility of the raised floor throughout the lobby and access the power, data and air distribution that is routed under the floor. With a raised core in the lobby, the architect would need to plan for the underfloor services by incorporating pathways within the concrete that services can be routed through. This adds to the cost and creates a more complicated install, which increases the installation time and budget.

Utilizing raised floors in an office building lobby, in place of a raised core, can be very beneficial for your building. It is cheaper and faster to install and provides a continuous pathway under the floor for services to be routed to offices. With so many benefits, it seems like an obvious solution to leveling your lobby floors. For more information, call us at 800-231-7788 or email us at info@tateinc.com.

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