In most circumstances, a raised access floor is a one-off, bespoke solution. It is designed for the room it is to be fitted in and is not compatible with other rooms and environments.
However, your company’s circumstances can change with regards to its premises. Perhaps you are moving, and the people who are purchasing your old building plan to rip out your raised access flooring and bin it? Perhaps you are having your building renovated or re-designed, and as part of that renovation your raised access floor will need to be removed? Perhaps your building is being demolished?
With all these considerations, there is often the temptation to ‘re-cycle’ your raised access floor and take it with you to be used at your new premises. After all, a raised access floor is a significant outlay and it’s not very environmentally friendly to simply discard your flooring when it could be re-used.
It is not, however, always possible to recycle your raised access floor. Remember that when your raised access floor was constructed, it was designed specifically for the room in which it was installed, and it was installed by raised access flooring experts. Attempting to reinstall such a system yourself is simply asking for trouble.
In addition, the flooring panels have already undergone a great deal of structural stress during their previous lifetime. It is usually hard to tell whether the panels have already been weakened, and therefore are not suitable for re-use.
Raised floors are generally required to be safe under excess loads of around 9kN, however during its lifetime such a floor will be forced to withstand greatest levels of stress, such as when heavy loads are repeatedly moved across it.
It’s estimated that a raised access floor has a lifespan of around twenty-five years. This does not mean though that a floor that has been in place for fifteen years can automatically be used elsewhere for a further ten. While this might sound logical, the stresses the floor has been under may have had a significant impact upon its lifespan. The removal of the floor and reinstallation elsewhere will automatically lessen the floor’s effectiveness.
With all things considered, re-using a raised access floor without consulting an expert to ascertain the floor’s suitability for re-use is simply a risk that’s not worth taking. A collapsing raised access floor will cause damage to the items it is supposed to support, as well as any cabling below. There is even the chance of a fire or electrical hazards.
Raised access floors can be reused as long as they have been inspected for safety, and by professionals. Your testing team will inspect the panels and access their suitability. If they cannot be re-used, then your panels can be recycled instead of simply being thrown away.
If you want advice on whether your raised access floor can be re-used, then you can contact Fieldmans Access Floor Ltd. We are available to advise about any aspect of access flooring for your company. Call us on