What is our

raised access floor and

for what purpose does it serve?


How the work and living environment changes ?

In the past the matter was quite simple: A room had a floor and a ceiling, the wall had windows and doors, probably a fire place or some form of heating and some buckets of water.

There was no artificial lighting and the heating and cooling plant was still to come.

No telephones, computers, television, systems, or anti-theft or fire alarm systems.

There was no piping for either hot or cold water, nor extractor ventilation for bathrooms.

No inter-phone, camera or optical fiber for the internet broadband.

Nowadays, our rooms to live and work in, to study or play in, as well as travel are so much more sophisticated.

Looking into the future, some new equipment will be used and one thing is certain : the basic quantity of services to be used on the building will be greater.

The need will grow and we will be ready to meet and satisfy it: could we say the same for our buildings?


a simple and consolidate solution, which solves a lot of problems 


 How raised access floor started being used?


The raised access floor started to be used on the first computer rooms, where high technical machinery were connected one to the other: a complex network of cables, to be carefully protected and yet to be easily accessible for maintenance and upgrading. 


The solution was a simple idea, create a void between the concrete base floor and the floor where the machinery was installed and people were walking. A void to be used to house all the cabling and other necessary services.


A false floor was invented using a grid of vertical pedestals adjustable in height to support horizontal square modular panels which could be easily removed and relocated.


So, on the top surface a clean and smooth operating area for people to walk on and below all the required services and of course the possibility for future implementation of changes to facilitate new technologies. 


Outlet boxes housing connections for power and data were inserted in the panels in order to supply power and data from the void to the right position for the working station, always ready to be relocated and changed where and when needed.


Done: the raised access floor was born!  


What it is and how much does a raised floor cost?


The raised access floor is a kind of raised platform designed to have a surface to walk on and to support furniture. It comprises pedestals applied on the concrete slab to support the panels, creating a void for housing piping, cabling and many other possible services.


The concrete slab will not need a perfect finish, since the pedestals will stand on concrete that will never be visible; money and time spent for that finishing touch are saved.


The raised access floor is basically composed by three elements, the first two with mechanical functions and the third with an aesthetic content:


The vertical support called pedestals, adjustable in height according to the specific requirements for each site or building.


The horizontal panels capable of sustaining the forecasted load.


The top surface finish chosen for aesthetic content or technical requirement.


Where the raised access floor system is chosen with the covering factory bonded, we will create more rigidity on the system, a simple change on the aspect of the finishing will force the change to the whole horizontal system.


For an average raised access floor the technical components i.e. pedestals and panels represent 10% of the final value for the pedestals and 40% of the final value for the panels, the top surface (covering) represents the other 50% of the final cost of the product. referenza.schlumberger.nudo.finito 


For a raised access floor finished with marble, ceramic and or parquet, the covering could be up to 70% of the value of the system and consequently the pedestals will be 7% and the panels 23%. 


It is clear from the above that the change of the aesthetics of the floor means to waste within the 90% to the 93% of the value of the product, practically all! 


Where we can change only the coverings we will be able to maintain to within the 30% the percentage of the total cost, this is a non negligible difference!


What happens on a construction site with raised access floor ?


On a construction site there are regularly several trades people working together, many of them will create debris and dirt, loading, unloading and storing materials all over the site.


All of them will try to do his job in the shortest time possible, generally creating problems to the other sub contractors and the logical sequence of the work is extremely difficult to be planned. One thing is certain, if all the work, storing and movement on the job site are made on the floor and if the surface finish is fragile it will be damaged.


On the installation of all MEP (Mechanical Electric & Plumbing) systems or IT system it is inevitable to create obstacle to the easy circulation onto the floor surface creating problems for the storage of material and their distribution to the needed location.


The common solution is the construction of temporary bridging over the installed services, as mentioned before this is slowing down the circulation and distribution of materials and people on the surface of the floor.


The final solution for this type of problem? Surely a strong and robust raised access floor capable of being used as a working platform; this is only valid and useful if the raised access floor is bare and the final covering is applied at the end of the construction program. In the case of factory applied covering the only solution is to install the raised access floor at the end of the construction program losing the possible use of the system and its performance as a working platform during building construction period. 


The dividing of the installation of raised access floor and its covering could be:


a) the installation of the bare panels with the pedestals will be done immediately after the closing of the building with the external façade, this could be immediately before or in consequence of the MEP installation. This will allow all the fit out of interior to work on a smooth surface and will protect all the systems in the void of the raised access floor.

b) the second stage will be the installation of the covering that will be done only at the end of the whole fit out of the interior or even when the tenant will occupy the premises. This will allow the tenant to occupy a building with a brand new covering or even the opportunity to decide their own choice of covering.





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