A raised access floor refers to an elevated structural floor above a solid substrate with a hidden access area between the two. This access area allows the passage of a variety of services, including cabling for data and telecommunications, electrical power, water supply and drainage, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) systems, and cabling for environmental controls, fire detection and security.

Raised access floors are commonly used where the building owner wants to achieve a clean aesthetic and an easily configurable space at reasonable cost. Removable floor panels enable easy access and maintenance in the underfloor services area. The accessible space also allows the indoor environment above to be reconfigured or refurbished with minimal disruption.

In some applications, the floor void can be used as a plenum to distribute conditioned air to the spaces above. Floor plenums are air compartments that form part of the ventilation of the building. A raised floor can be designed to provide ventilation air through floor diffusers directly to the occupied environment above. According to research on thermal behavior in commercial buildings, a raised floor can reduce the cooling load by as much as 40 percent.1 

Given their architectural benefits, it is important for designers and specifiers to understand the key considerations when designing and specifying a raised access floor to meet the requirements of property owners and occupants.

View our Whitepaper on Key Design Considerations for Access Floors >