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Think Multi-Tasking, Think Entrance Matting

Architect Christopher Sykes examines techniques for specifying perfect solutions:

THE specification and selection of entrance matting is not rocket science. It is, however, one of those important decisions a specifier or facilities manager has to get right because it affects so much. The right decision saves money; the wrong decision generates a bad and unhealthy image, expensive maintenance and unnecessary distraction, particularly from the legal consequences of slipping.

Today, entrance matting not only has to perform superbly but it has to complement the design and colours of the interior, sometimes with integral logos. Not many other building components have to multi-task so much and for so long and be so cost effective! On average, 80% of dirt entering a building comes in on the soles of shoes. It can also be transferred by wheelchairs or can be wind-borne.

To perform well, entrance flooring must remove this soil, be easy to clean and maintain and must retain its physical characteristics. A small area of matting will no longer do the job because people will not stand and wipe their shoes in the same way as they might do at home. BS 7953 recommends that for larger spaces or entrances subject to high volume, 3-6m of entrance matting in the direction of traffic is recommended. It must allow dirt to drop through in order to prevent tracking – such a prevalent problem with the old coir mat.

Equally important, the system must allow for and not inhibit the passage of disability, walking sticks or high heels. For example, to clean up a wheelchair requires a 2m minimum in the direction of traffic. To do all this effectively is quite a science which is why the best entrance matting comprises a choice of slip-resistant products used together or separately. In some cases, you may need a primary exterior barrier or one with integral brushes (today’s sophisticated version of the standalone boot cleaner).

This will handle aggressive cleaning of mud, snow and ice. It may have wide grid gaps to allow grit and gravel to fall though, such as used in Europe where winter gritting salt has been replaced by granite chippings. Next will be laid a different entrance matting with an open grid and scraping surface or one which combines grid with carpet strips to give shoes a scrape, wipe and dry. The image shows a good example of this formula at Sevenoaks Hospital, in this case using the Plastex Frontrunner entrance flooring system which also includes an integral logo.

Another important consideration is to select a flexible entrance matting which can be cut easily on site to fit round obstacles and deal with irregular shapes, particularly within revolving doors or irregular shaped matwells. This eliminates any need for a measuring template visit, saving both time and money. Flexibility means that the matting will contour over uneven or rough surfaces and always remain stable underfoot. Metal-free entrance matting is best able to do this. It also provides an extra benefit for retailers who can replace those unsightly free-standing anti-shoplifting devices by concealing them underneath.

Today, to ignore the understanding for a high performing entrance flooring system can have both legal and financial repercussions, with the potential for dirty and unhealthy entrances plus the expensive pain from slips and accidents. Fortunately, the solutions are readily available!

www.frontrunnerplus.com

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them online at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.