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Commercial Flooring News

Put Price First And The Environment Gets It

EVERY time you undertake a refurbishment project, half the job is taking something out that was there before, be it the existing floorcovering (carpet, vinyl tiles) or the smoothing compound for replacement and such.
This got me thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a system where you didn’t have to do this each and every time. I’m thinking a system where all you had to do is prepare the subfloor once then put in place

‘release’ systems.

Yes I know, nothing new and you have heard about them, but they seem to be forgotten these days and almost never used. Bostik, or Laybond as it was, used to have such a system and it worked extremely well, but it was rarely asked for or specified.

The technology was obviously there and given how long ago we developed our system the technology could even be considered quite old. The way the environment is going surely the future is to cause as little damage as possible to the floor; no membrane, no this, no that, just in and out quickly and job done.
This is actually a very environmentally sound way to approach a floor. So where’s the problem? Oh yes, there is a cost implication isn’t there? And then we have the lack of customer loyalty.

Why would any sane flooring contractor specify to his customer to use a release system, which has a cost and which may equally affect the competiveness of his tender, to benefit the refurbishment by most likely the cheapest contractor tendering next time?

In the current economic climate we all know it is price that wins, and no amount of lip- service to quality will convince me that in the vast majority of cases this isn’t the norm, so why would anyone specify a system that adds to his quote and probably loses him the job?

Systems like this need a leap of faith or the vision of the customer to see how in the medium term selecting such a system is actually going to save them money. It needs the understanding that these systems are good for the environment and for sustainable construction methods as well as saving time and resources.

Dare I say it, but maybe legislation will ultimately be the motivator as tighter standards are imposed upon us, there will be the need to resurrect these products or systems because they will be the only answer to that legislation. Legislation, although much maligned and I give it more than my own fair share of criticism too, does at least create a level playing field where such products are not just a good idea but a tool specified by all contractors because it is the only way to meet imposed legislation.

The flooring industry is often accused of moving slowly and not embracing change like other industries seem to, but innovation and new products are always emerging and manufacturers are not slow to explore technologies. New sealants, new adhesives, tweaks to formulations that speed up installs, extend coverage or like the release system, simply make life and the environment that little bit better for the future, are always emerging and we must not be too slow to adapt.

Maybe in theses austere times, now is not the right time to start a revolution, but maybe now is a good time to start thinking about the way we do things, to open our minds and even those of our customers to new products and methods that can make a real difference. It’s time to evolve!!

John Alcock is technical specifications manager at Bostik Laybond and immediate past president of the Contract Flooring Association

T: 01244 674774