Recently we have been asked questions on the installation of access flooring that we could not answer, so we approached Clint Hastings, director of Peter Bates Flooring, who provided the solutions to the ‘problems’.

When installing an access floor, it is possible to do some of the fitment off-site, or is this a regular practice?
Most of the steel systems are fully assembled on site. However, the cutting of holes for service penetrations, grommets and grilles can be undertaken at the factory or off-site prior to installing.

If the access floor is to contain cabling or airconditioning, how is this achieved? Presumably you must allow them to fit their equipment, and then come back to complete your installation?

This can be approached in several ways:
Option One: The pedestal positions are surveyed, chalked and the 600 x 600mm intersections are marked out with 100mm diameter sections of road-marking paint prior to installation. Independently supported ducting, cable trays, trunking and smoke detectors are then installed and wired up in advance. The access floor pedestals and panels then follow.

Option Two: As above, with the additional opening of rows of panels after the access floor installation to allow for the installation of support brackets attached to the access floor pedestals to carry the cable trays, trunking, busbars, etc, in multi-directions and levels. This allows installation of a higher percentage of underfloor services per ratio of plenum space – normally in highly congested data centres.

Option Three: The access floor is completely installed. Rows of panels are opened afterwards to allow for the installation of all the underfloor services independently supported or supported from the pedestals. This option offers protection of the underfloor services during installation. The potential damage to underfloor services is offset by a small additional labour cost required to open and close the floors correctly.