Light industrial properties in Singapore are built with a high ceiling, mostly exceeding five meters. The lure of constructing a mezzanine floor is often a selling point for property agents to their prospective buyers. But is it legal?
Definition of Gross Floor Area
“GFA is defined as measuring all sheltered floor areas of a building and unsheltered areas for commercial uses for purposes of plot ratio control and development charge.”
According to URA, mezzanine floor construction in Singapore may violate the GFA Guidelines with respect to the plot ratio control and development charge. Adding a “Fixed” mezzanine floor structure will be in violation of these guidelines. Therefore one should apply for a GFA recomputation and new development charges may apply.
Guidelines on Mezzanine Construction
Our company has received numerous inquiries for mezzanine floor construction in Singapore. The customer intention for their office renovation is to house a two-tier office and storage facility or vice-versa. Often times, customers are in for a rude shock when they realize that their planning has gone wrong. Most customers are not aware of the compliance and regulations in constructing a legal mezzanine floor.
Let me share a bit of advice and shed some light on this;
1) Before purchasing or renting the unit, you should be clear and discuss your intention to construct a mezzanine floor with the property developer and building management office. Ask for the fitting-out guide and let them explain the requirements and applications required for the mezzanine construction.
“Do not just rely on the property agent, seek another opinion from qualified professionals or contractors.“
2) Furthermore, seek professional help, QP’s like Architects and Professional Engineers can advise on this. Consequently, most of PE’s no longer endorse construction drawing and layout plans if the property is not permissible.
3) Submission to SCDF-FSSB (Fire Safety & Shelter Bureau) is a requirement to comply with the fire code. Approval will require preparation of drawings by a (QP) Qualified Person. The upper and lower floor of the mezzanine will require 2-layers of sprinkler points and probably fireproofing for the protection of the steel structure.
“An application will not be approve if the mezzanine floor is illegal.”
4) Above all, approval from URA and BCA is required for the mezzanine floor to be legal and in full compliance. Therefore, do not follow your neighbors if they happen to build an illegal mezzanine floor.
“Bear in mind that there are occasional spot checks conducted by the building authorities on a periodic basis.”
5) Lastly, if you decide to build an illegal mezzanine floor be prepared for the repercussion. Once caught you will be summoned to tear down the structure immediately and face possible penalties for your actions.
Better to be safe than sorry, you may contact ARID Builders for some advice.
Alternatives to a Mezzanine Floor Construction
There may be a solution should you decide to make use of the extra height in your unit. Erecting temporary structures with light steel construction or metal storage racks is a better alternative. This structures can come with metal or plywood floor decking that can hold weights of up to .5kn/m. It will be good enough to store light materials and accommodate the minimal activity.
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You may also consider reading this related article: Multi-tier storage, A solution to build a mezzanine floor in Singapore