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What Businesses Need to Know Before Beginning A Raised Floor Search

April 7, 2021 | Raised Access Flooring

With the considerable focus being placed on the adaptive workspace, it is important to clarify what is meant by the term “Raised Floor.”

The term “raised flooring” covers a broad range of products that are very distinct from each other. If you are in the market for a raised flooring system, it is vital to differentiate between types of raised flooring so that you choose the best one for your needs. There are two main types of flooring—the data center raised floor and the commercial office raised floor. To understand the difference, you must identify the primary purpose of that flooring system. The ones used in data centers are typically part of the server room cooling infrastructure, while the ones used for corporate interiors provide adaptive support for your workplace design and IT network.

Traits of The Data Center Raised Floor

A data center raised flooring system’s primary function is to distribute cool air through a densely packed server room, providing a safe operating environment for expensive server equipment and by association, the data housed within those servers. Many businesses have moved their server networks into data centers as opposed to in-house operations to simplify maintenance and save money. And while legacy server systems and highly secure server networks may continue to be maintained on campus to reduce risk, the bulk of these operations are managed in remote and off-site locations including the Edge. Additionally, enterprise data is stored in the cloud and so not a relevant search for a commercial building.

The architecture of a data-center raised flooring system consists of post and panel construction, and provides a sealed space beneath the floor typically between 24 inches (610 mm) and 48 inches (1219 mm). The plenum or channel underneath the floor is structured with alternating hot and cold aisles between server racks, which also house fiber cables.

How to know which Type of Flooring you Need

The traditional post and panel construction floor does occur outside of the data center, the instances of using this type of raised flooring, however, are inefficient. Even so, if you have a data center, this type of floor is a must-have so that you create the most efficient way to cool down all the equipment running in your data center.

What Is A Commercial Office Raised Flooring System

Raised flooring—also known as access flooring, or low profile flooring—is a construction model in which an elevated floor is built above a building’s original concrete slab surface, thereby creating a passage that is ideal for distributing data and electrical cables. A traditional floor creates a sealed air space, called a plenum.
The plenum in the current commercial office may need to provide cooling as in a data center. Some commercial office space does have a need for underfloor air and mechanicals. In those cases, post and panel floors are not just for data centers. However, if a commercial office space does not need underfloor air but rather cable management, a low-profile access floor is the better solution. Because computer equipment is much more sophisticated, the space underfoot has evolved.

A raised flooring system used in commercial office spaces is ideally low-profile and has evolved past the post and panel construction model, making it much more stable underfoot. It provides:

  • Distributive cable management
  • Power access
  • Easily reconfigurability

These features allow facilities teams the ability to adapt workspaces to the ongoing requirements of the workers that use the space.

Underfloor Power and Data Management

The space under a Gridd® raised floor works as a highly adaptive cable management system with channels that evenly and safely distribute network cabling to help things stay organized. “
One further concern IT and AV administrators often mention is how to keep data and power cables from interfering—static electricity can cause data streams to weaken. Gridd® Power Raised Floor System is FreeAxez’s answer to a flexible power infrastructure to accommodate the aforementioned ever-changing demands of a corporate facility.

Gridd Power distributes power over an electrical bus bar to outgoing feeders. In electrical power distribution, a bus bar is a metallic strip or bar that typically resides inside a switchgear, panel board and busway enclosures for high-current power distribution.

Simply put, the bus bar acts as a junction for all incoming and outgoing electrical current needs. An added advantage to having integrated power is not having to hire an electrician when reconfiguring a room.

Handling Changes When Needs Arise

The Gridd® Mobile app is designed to use as a communication tool for cable runs beneath the Gridd system, providing facility managers, IT teams, electricians and maintenance personnel everything they need to know about their power and data cabling beneath the floor right on their smart devices. The app can also provide teams with part numbers and ordering information to simplify the maintenance process.

Many of the commercial-office raised flooring systems on the market are plastic or are designed according to the old post and panel construction. Either of these types of systems show wear quickly and pathways may not be easily accessible. When a system is older, ordering parts may be difficult and even expensive.

Gridd is made of 100 percent USA Steel and all parts integrate with each other, whether they were made today or 25 years ago. Steel is exceptionally durable, however, if more components are needed, ordering new components is simple and efficient.

How to know which Type of Flooring you Need

Choosing a raised flooring system for your commercial space is not really a matter of choosing between the data center model or the low-profile model. It comes down to a matter of investing in a sustainable solution that can go the distance:

  • Reconfigure easily
  • Install easily
  • Adapt to the shape of your room
  • Offer design resources 
    • CAD 
    • BIM/Revit
    • Documents
    • Installation Plan
    • Design support  

Incidentally, Gridd does not attach to the building and that means it can be picked up and go with you to a new room or new building.

A Few Last Points

In-person work is not going away. Even after the shutdown, businesses are realizing that face-to-face meetings in an adaptable space continue to be a spark for productivity and personal well-being. Raised flooring systems that adapt, manage cabling and access to power are an investment in the future. None of us can see into the future and with solutions that are flexible and sustainable, we don’t need to.

If you would like to speak with one of our advisors to find out more about Gridd, feel free to contact us.

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