Let’s start with the IT industry…..
With the diverse IT needs of this day and age, organizations are not only required to invest in multiple computer systems but also arrange for proper storage and maintenance systems. As a result, a proper facility called Data Centre is developed for the storage of various components of computer and telecommunication systems. Generally, the basic components found in a Data Centre are:
-Cooling Air Handlers
-Air Flow Barriers
-Fire Suppressing Systems
Although the structural design of a Data Centre varies across different organizational needs and resources, a raised floor is often used in many facilities. Simply put a floor creates a void between the concrete floor and an elevated surface. The elevated floor allows easy and concealed passage of electric supplies like wiring, cables, etc. Secondly, Data Centres built with a raised floor also have the ability to pass cool air through the hidden void.
These were the Data Centres and their requirement for the raised floor. What about other industries, do they have the same need and urgency for the raised floor. Now, let’s discuss other industries that might or might not use such specialised computer equipment. But all offices have thing that are common to all – people, papers, furniture, which gets damaged when prone to flood and/or fire. Let’s discuss flooding for the time being.
No one wants to go through an episode of flooding (natural disaster or by accidental leakage). When water gets in, everything gets damaged and the smell is something once you have smelled it you never forget.
So, what if your office gets flooded? Well, if you had a raised floor like a lot of modern raised floor manufacturers have now, once you have the water cleaned up you can simply redo the floor without a lot of fuss. If your floor has held the water and it hasn’t got under it to the electrical system, you’re in business. If it has, well, that’s another article for another day.
Design Components of a Raised Floor
The structural design of a floor includes several essential components and features. Some of these are explained as follows:
a) Pedestals – Mostly made of metal, a raised floor has pedestals which support the elevated panels. The height of these pedestals depends upon on the space required within the created void between the raised floor and the solid slab. Some companies use long pedestals to create ample space for the storage of voluminous wires and cables. It is necessary to use high quality pedestals to ensure safe and secure load performance of a raised floor.
b) Panels – The panels of a raised floor are placed above the original, solid, floor surface. Depending on the needs of the Data Centre, different types of panels can be incorporated in the structure of a raised floor. For example, perforated panels allow efficient air flow, steel panels with the internal core made of cement result in sound attenuation and high strength, and so on and so forth. For rather aesthetic purposes, these panels can be covered in many types of finishes. Some of these include: Marble, Tiles, Carpet, Laminates.
c) Lifter – A suction cup lifter is a standardized option widely used to lift or remove the panels. The metal lifter has one or two suction cups attached on the end which make it easy to pull the floor panel without any hassle or delay.
Thus, a raised floor is a false floor of sorts that allows for access to the underneath with little or no mess and fuss. Usually there are just panels that can be removed and then replaced when the work is done. Wires can be hidden in there and it is also a great place to have a heating and cooling system which will allow for better temperature distribution and comfort throughout the office.
We all know that an office is a better environment for everyone with proper air circulation. This can all be nestled under the floor as well, allowing for bad air to be sucked out while fresh air is pumped in in a continuous cycle. This air can also be cooled and/or heated depending on the season for comfort all year long.
False office floors have been all the rage in other parts of the world for decades now, but they’re only just catching on in India. With their ease of access and many functions it’s funny that it has taken this long to become something architects and builders are now considering. What’s more, the flooring options can be just about anything you can think up, even tiles that look like concrete or other strong hard materials, all with a little secret–the tiles can be lifted up for under floor access and then re-laid like nothing has happened.
Raised office floors are the way of the future, even with more and more things being wireless, there will always be a need to hide a wire or two, even if these are becoming less and less noticeable. Does your office have a raised floor? If not, why not?