Fullaccess Floors

In the recent past, installing raised access floors for un-derfloor delivery of power, data, and telecommunications services was considered suitable only for technology-heavy spaces like data centers and trading floors, because of the comparatively high cost of these floors. The revolution in desktop electronics and the increasingly fast turnover rates for offices combine to make un-derfloor delivery a much more cost-effective option for many offices, both because of the greater ease with which wires and cables can be distributed and the flexibility that access floors permit. Full-access floors (Fig. 30-10) provide space for both air supply and cabling.

Full-access floors accommodate very heavy cabling requirements and facilitate frequent recabling and re-

Telephone cable

Telephone cable



Figure 30-10 Full-access floor;

connection. Full-access floors were originally developed for data processing areas with requirements for large, fully accessible cable spaces and large quantities of conditioned air. The system allows rapid and complete access to an underfloor plenum.

Lightweight die cast aluminum panels are supported on a network of adjustable steel or aluminum pedestals. The panels are 46 or 91 cm (18 or 36 in.) square, and the floor depth is normally between 31 and 76 cm (12-30 in.). Where air requirements are minimal, the pedestals can be as short as 15 cm (6 in.). The panels are made of steel, aluminum, or a wood core encased in steel or aluminum, or of lightweight reinforced concrete. They are finished with carpet tile, vinyl tile, or high-pressure laminates. Fire-rated and electrostatic-discharge-control coverings are also available. Access floor systems are designed for loads from 1220 to 3050 kilograms per square meter (250-625 lb per square ft, psf) and are available for heavier loads up to 5490 kilograms per square meter (1125 psf). Seismic pedestals are available to meet building code requirements.

Electrical conduits, junction boxes, and cabling are run below the full-access flooring panels for computer, security, and communications systems. The space under the flooring panels can also be used as a plenum to dis tribute heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) air supply, with a ceiling plenum for air return. Ducts for conditioned air can also run beneath the floor. By separating the cool supply air from the warm return air, the system helps reduce energy consumption. The construction is usually completely fire-resistant. The ceiling height must be adequate to accommodate the raised floor. Ramps and steps are among the available accessories.

Access flooring systems are used in offices, hospitals, laboratories, computer rooms, and television and communications centers. They provide accessibility and flexibility in the placement of desks, workstations, and equipment. Equipment can be moved and reconnected fairly easily with modular wiring systems, which also cut down on labor costs.

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