St. John Tradewinds News

Mezzanine Definitions Agree: Not a Self-Contained Level by Gerry Hills

Editor:
Several weeks ago, Tradewinds published several letters regarding definition of a “mezzanine.” This morning I looked up definitions on the Internet, using Google to search. The states I picked were totally random. After about five of them were essentially identical, I stopped checking. Here are the results.

International Building Code, Section 502 — “An intermediate level or levels between the floor and ceiling of any story with an aggregate floor area of not more than one-third of the area of the room or space in which the level or levels are located.”

Florida Building Code — “An intermediate level or levels between the floor and ceiling of any story with an aggregate floor area of not more than one-third of the area of the room or space in which the level or levels are located.”

Massachusetts Building Code — “An intermediate level or levels between the floor and ceiling of any story with an aggregate floor area of not more than 1/3 of the area of the room in which the level or levels are located.”

California Building Code — “An intermediate floor placed in any story or room.  When the total area of any such ‘mezzanine floor’ exceeds 33 1/3 percent of the total area in that room, it shall be considered an additional ‘story.’”

Michigan Building Code — “Mezzanine means an intermediate level or levels between the floor and ceiling of any story.  The total floor area cannot be more than one-third of the room in which the mezzanine is located.”

Seattle Building Code — “An intermediate level or levels between the floor and ceiling of any story with an aggregate floor area of not more than one-half of the area of the room or space in which the level or levels are located.”

Every definition I found said the same two things: (1) a mezzanine must be included between the floor and ceiling of an existing story; and (2) a mezzanine cannot be more than 1/3 the area of the floor in which it is located. 

To my non-expert and non-legal eyes, it seems that a self-contained level on top of a building, with its own floor and ceiling, would thus not be a mezzanine, but would be considered a floor under each of these building codes.