Nowhere else to build a gym but on the first floor? The good news is you can have a gym upstairs, but you need to be cautious about the weight of your gym because upper floors are live load rated, meaning they can only take so much weight.
The risk of overloading a floor is collapse. If a floor collapses, your commercial property could come down, so the dangers are worth considering.
The live floor load of your commercial property depends on the type of property and when it was built. The British Standard (BS) live floor load rating for commercial offices in the UK is 2.5 kN/m². However, in many cases, commercial properties are over-provisioned, with live load ratings of more than 3.0 kN/m². We, therefore, recommend consulting a structural engineer to find out the live load rating of your first floor.
Building a gym on the first floor
So long as your first floor is load rated to an extent that supports the weight of your equipment, including weights and the people who will use the gym, you can have a gym on the first floor of your property.
Calculating floor load is the first step to this. The easiest way to calculate floor load is to request the input of a structural engineer. If you want to do it yourself, eHow has a guide to calculating floor load capacity correctly.
From a safety and functional perspective, the most important consideration for a gym on the first floor of a property is the flooring. A substantial gym floor will protect your property and make your gym a safe environment.
The best type of flooring for a commercial gym is interlocking rubber floor tiles, which are available in 30mm and 40mm thicknesses.
Rubber floor tiles should be paired with rubber underlay on the first floor to absorb sound and provide a soft surface to compress into. Your first floor will use floorboards, so underlay will protect these when you drop weights.
If you are building a gym with several rooms or areas, underlay will reduce the amount of sound and vibration transmitted between rooms. For example, the weights room won’t be noticed by people enjoying pilates in the room next door.
The most important thing is to make sure the rubber flooring in your gym is of an adequate thickness to protect the substrate and reduce risk of injury.
You should install Perspex (acrylic) protection boards on your walls to protect the plaster and have a dedicated rack for your weights and plates. It’s also a good idea to run wires and peripherals under the floor or around the room.