If your business operates a data center, large computer room, networking center, or has other spaces requiring considerable amounts of data and power cabling or special HVAC requirements, an access floor can:
- Provide easy access to cabling, allowing for faster maintenance, modification, and repair
- Make installing new cable or ducting runs easy, with no need to touch the building’s structure
- Allow the space between the access floor and the subfloor to function as a plenum, improving overall airflow and decreasing HVAC costs.
Most commonly found in data centers and telecom facilities, access floors have practically become a necessity for use cases involving large racks and cabinets of computer or communications equipment.
With their modular design that allows for easy removal of the rigid floor tiles, there are very few things about running one of these facilities that aren’t made more accessible by placing the equipment on a raised access floor.
If you want to add an access floor to your facility, keep these questions in mind. As you work with contractors to decide who will install your access floor, ask these questions and make sure you’re happy with the answers before you proceed.
If you already have an access floor and need a replacement, these questions can help you choose a contractor who’ll do a good job and offer the fewest possible disruptions to your workflows.
What Experience Do You Have Installing or Replacing Access Flooring?
Access flooring may look simple. Its modular design gives it a prefab look, and it’s easy to think that anyone can install it.
In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. As a suspended surface that’s required to bear live and dead loads weighing hundreds to thousands of pounds, an improper installation can cause significant and expensive damage to your valuable equipment. Poorly secured pedestal bases or stringers can cause floor tiles to fail, dropping your equipment to the hard floor beneath. An out-of-level installation will leave you with tiles that rock and lip and will leave you chasing runaway equipment carts.
An experienced access floor installation company understands the importance of ensuring that every pedestal base is set securely in place, every stringer is square and properly tied to the pedestals, and every pedestal head is level with every other head. They’ll know how to find the right flooring system to meet your needs and how to save you money by steering you clear of more expensive designs that don’t offer any additional value for your use case.
Most of all, they’ll have encountered many different installation types and the challenges each presents. They’ll know how to address those challenges to deliver a smooth, level, and sturdy floor for your facility.
Can I Contact Some of Your Previous Access Flooring Customers?
A reputable contractor takes pride in their work. They have a list of satisfied clients who can attest to the quality of the contractor’s work and the experience of working with them.
Ask your potential access flooring contractor for a list of those clients and if you can contact them. If they’re hesitant to provide the list or have some excuse as to why you can’t contact any of them, it may be time to find a different contractor. (And, no, it’s not common to see a flooring contractor bound by an NDA!)
When you get that list, take some time to call a few of the contractor’s past clients. Ask about the quality of the work, along with questions like:
- How communicative was the contractor through the installation/replacement project?
- Did they make or miss most deadlines?
- Were they transparent about any problems that arose during the project?
- Did they work unobtrusively and avoid disrupting employees as much as possible?
Most importantly, you should ask each former client, “Would you work with this contractor again?” If the answer is “no,” that’s a major warning flag.
What Kind of Support Do You Offer Your Access Flooring Customers?
Over time, access floors begin to show signs of wear and tear. Pedestal heads get adjusted inadvertently by technicians and installers, tiles get worn or broken, and other faults start to appear. When that happens, where will your contractor be?
You want to ensure that your access flooring contractor will be with you for the life of your floor to provide warranty adjustments as long as the warranty is in effect and to source replacement parts, perform repairs, and make adjustments even after the warranty has expired.
As new designs come on the market, finding replacement tiles, pedestals, or stringers for an existing system may become more challenging, and you want to know that your contractor will be able to source those parts when you need them. Ask potential contractors how they support their access floor customers, both before and after the floor’s warranty life.
Do I Have to Shut Down My Facility While You Replace My Access Flooring?
While a good contractor can replace a damaged or worn access floor in your facility reasonably quickly, doing so usually requires shutting down your data center or computer room and relocating your cabinets and racks to another location. At best, you’re looking at several hours of downtime while you shift your equipment out of the contractor’s way, and at worst, you could be offline for days or weeks.
It doesn’t have to be that way. At JLJ and Associates, we’ve developed a proprietary system that allows us to replace an entire access flooring system while the equipment in the room stays online. Our system uses special equipment to lift your cabs and racks while they’re still connected to power, data, cooling, and other systems. While they’re lifted, we can work below, replacing your entire access flooring system with a completely new floor.
With live access floor replacement, the cost of a safe new access floor doesn’t have to be accompanied by the bottom-line impacts of even a few minutes’ downtime. Your employees can enjoy a solid, stable floor to walk on and roll loads across, and your equipment will benefit from a strong foundation with all-new pedestals, stringers, and panels.
Need a New or Replacement Access Floor? JLJ & Associates can Help!
JLJ and Associates is Georgia’s choice for access flooring. With our proprietary technology, we can replace your access floor while your equipment remains online! Give us a call today to find out how we can develop a solution that works for you! 770-961-7600