When Do You Need Bracing?
X-bracing and knee-bracing are very simple – and unsightly – ways to provide additional stability on mezzanines and platform systems. Most customers, if given the option, would prefer to completely eliminate x-bracing or knee-bracing in their structures to open up space, avoid “head knockers,” and to achieve a cleaner look. For those reasons, Cubic Designs’ team of Professional Engineers works to minimize bracing whenever possible. Cubic Designs’ Engineers consider many factors when designing mezzanine systems: safety, functionality, materials cost, and aesthetics, to name a few. As Cubic Designs’ VP of Engineering Development, Matt Rescorla explained, “We try to avoid the use of x-bracing because it minimizes usable space for our customers and isn’t attractive. Sometimes there is no way around bracing because of structural integrity and serviceability factors, but we work to minimize it when possible.”
There are certain situations in which structural bracing is required. In high seismic areas, Cubic Designs’ engineers might incorporate knee bracing into systems that are either taller than average, have larger bays, or are going to hold particularly heavy loads. In all of those cases, the bracing used is a heavier duty brace and is used to ensure the structural integrity of the system. This means that your customers can rest assured that they are getting the safest system available.
The second way in which Cubic Designs’ engineers use bracing is to address serviceability issues. This has to do with how people on top of the mezzanine perceive movement. If in-plant offices are being placed on top of a Cubic Designs mezzanine, our engineers will, almost without fail, add light bracing because even 1/8” of lateral movement in the mezzanine will be felt by the people trying to do desk work. This type of bracing is also used on equipment platforms that support vibrating machinery. Lightweight serviceability bracing is never required structurally, but it is used to improve the experience of the people who will be working on the mezzanine once it is installed.