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Better And Better

Flooring in healthcare locations is expected to meet exceptional performance needs:

Altro supplied floors and walls for the award-winning Ferndene Children and Young People’s Centre, Northumberland, to create a healing environment that is attractive, as well as safe, hard-wearing and hygienic.

The £25m inpatient centre provides assessment and treatment for young people with complex health, behavioural and emotional needs, including learning disabilities.

The 6,000sq m project, was conceived as a ‘hand-shaped’ design, with four bedroom blocks spanning out as ‘fingers’ from a central activity building in the palm. All the young people have their own bedrooms, most with en-suite facilities.

There are also therapy, educational, social and recreational facilities; a flat for visiting families; and office accommodation for staff.

The centre has won a host of accolades, including International Academy of Design and Health’s Best Mental Health Design, Best Innovation and Budget award category for the Society of British Interior Design, and the Building Better Healthcare Best Use of the Arts award.

Scott Stewart, interior designer at Medical Architecture, which designed the centre, said: ‘We chose Altro because our relationship with them goes back many years and we trust their products.

‘Also, for a project like Ferndene the floors and walls had to comply with regulations such as slip ratings, cleanability and lifecycle. This is a young person’s mental health unit, so safety is paramount and it must be able to withstand pretty much anything thrown at it – quite literally.

‘But in addition to the basics, we wanted a product range that would give us the freedom and flexibility to create and design a colourful and therapeutic healing environment. Patients and staff helped us choose colours and designs through focus groups.’

Altro Suprema II safety flooring was used in kitchens, bathroom areas and back of house. In Ferndene’s ‘secure’ environments, Altro smooth flooring was used with Altro Everlay B, an acoustic cushioned underlay which reduces noise.

In a palette of 40 colours, Suprema II was developed in consultation with customers, architects, end users and colour consultants, taking into account current, future and interior trends. Its sparkle-free finish makes it suitable for dementia and mental health applications. It also incorporates Altrosan bacteriostat for enhanced hygiene.

Described as a decorative and hard-wearing flooring, it features subtle and abstract patterns designed to increase the floor’s soil-hiding properties.

Suitable for heavy use areas and where high standards of cleanliness are important, it said to be easy to clean, with a permanent PUR finish for added protection.

Altro flooring at Ferndene was installed by FPL, a member of the CFA. Owner Ian White comments: ‘This was a large and quite complex project and it was necessary to work closely with other contractors over a long period of time.

‘We had a team of three consultants and eight fitters and it took us three to four months overall to complete. The finished results looked superb. Altro is a very professional company to work with and we have a close relationship with them.’

Flowcrete UK says its floors harness the natural power of silver for an effective method of infection control at ground level. Polygiene compound in its systems is said to bring safe, clean flooring systems underfoot within the health care sector.

A special additive in Polygiene is designed to emit ions of silver, which breaks down the cell walls of harmful micro-organisms. This helps prevent the spread of harmful bacteria, viruses and yeasts. The system is locked into the resin matrix of the flooring system for maximum efficiency.

Polygiene is claimed to be capable of killing MRSA and C.Diff, as well as other types of bacteria on contact, assisting in infection control.

These qualities also offer benefits for hospital food preparation areas, due to the ability to control salmonella and E-Coli.

Polygiene is used in Flowcrete’s Flowfresh range of seamless systems, as well as the high-wearing seamless terrazzo Mondéco. The process is said to be invisible and remain active throughout the lifetime of the product, even when damaged or worn, unlike coatings or surface treatments.

Alan Dean, md of Flowcrete UK, said: ‘The hygienic qualities Flowcrete floors offer, coupled with tremendous wear resistance, slip-resistance and durability, deliver exceptional benefits to the healthcare sector.

This is flooring for the 21st century, offering an independently tested means of controlling infection, which is consistent, efficient and cost-effective.’

Mapei claims that many levelling compounds, particularly two component latex based products, do not achieve the required compressive strength.

A number of the floorcovering manufacturers specify a minimum compressive strength of 28N/sq mm when their products are installed in sensitive healthcare applications.

Mapei’s Latexplan Trade is said to easily achieve this figure and has the added advantage of being ammonia and protein-free, therefore will not promote the growth of bacteria if penetrated by any waste or spillages.

It also carries the GEV Emicode EC1 labelling for low emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds.

Truvox Multiwash is used at Horsham Hospital, a two-ward, 50-bedded community hospital, owned by West Sussex Health, which has seen more safety flooring used in recent years.

Stephen Partlett, the hospital’s facilities supervisor, explains: ‘Safety flooring is tricky to clean as our existing buffers tended to glide over the top.

What we really needed was a machine that would ‘dig into’ the floor without damaging it, and remove the dirt rather than just spread it around.’

Truvox was invited to demonstrate Multiwash, alongside a machine from another, well-known cleaning industry name.

Multiwash was selected because Horsham Hospital felt that it offered better value for money, with superior handling and reach.

Multiwash is described as a multi-purpose floor cleaning machine that washes, mops, scrubs and dries on both hard and soft floorcoverings in one single pass.

Described as quiet in operation, with excellent manoeuvrability, it is suitable for hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare settings. The machine is said to be highly effective on ‘difficult’ floors, including non-slip safety floors, low pile carpets, tiles and escalators.

It is available in four models: The MW240 and MW340 are for smaller areas of hard floor; while the MW340P and MW440P offer greater productivity thanks to their additional four-litre solution tanks and pump sprays, allowing larger areas of both hard floor and carpets to be cleaned.

Contra-rotating brushes in Multiwash are designed to exert just the right amount of extra pressure needed to tackle grime in the grouting of tiled floors, as the bristles safely dig deep into porous tiles and grout lines, loosening and removing soils.

It is therefore said to use about 30% less water, meaning less chemical.

With less water the floors dry in minutes, according to Truvox.

Stephen Partlett concludes: ‘Multiwash delivers is a marked improvement in the patient environment.

Hospital floors are very visual things. If they are seen to be dirty it gives a very negative perception of the cleanliness of the rest of the hospital.’

Paul Mallorie, Truvox’s regional account manager for the south, says: ‘Multiwash is also extremely quiet in operation, meaning that disturbance is kept to a minimum whether used during the day or the night.’

Uzin products were used to install 25,000sq m of Altro Suprema safety flooring and over 3,000sq m of Aquarius wet area safety flooring at the new emergency care centre at Royal Infirmary of Aberdeen. The hospital is committed to providing the highest standards of healthcare, so required an environmentally friendly and low emission flooring installation.

Veitchi flooring contractor, a member of the CFA, reportedly chose Uzin and Altro products to meet these high safety standards and to ensure that VOC’s were kept to a minimum, providing a healthy indoor environment.

The £110m, state of the art facility brings emergency and unscheduled care services in Aberdeen under one roof and provides 350 inpatient beds to replace ageing accommodation at Aberdeen Royal infirmary.

Uzin PE 360 was first used to prime the floor, before Uzin PE 540 was mixed with Uzin NC 150 levelling compound and then applied to create a flat substrate. Uzin KE 2000 S and Uzin WK 222 adhesives were then used to install the Altro safety flooring.

Veitchi used a ‘just-in-time approach’ to ensure the project was completed on time and the final finish was exceptional.

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at