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Lost underfoot

On top of this you need to take into account, spatial acoustics and footfall noise where “generated noise is transferred to adjoining rooms by means of structure-borne sound transmission, i.e. through the materials used for the ceilings, walls and piping, etc.

Nora explained: “Undesirable noise sources therefore have to be minimised to achieve good acoustics. This means that the construction acoustics need to be optimised in such a way that footfall noise, for instance, is not transmitted from other rooms and so that unwanted noise emissions are prevented in the room itself.

“Floor coverings of any description hardly have any influence on the acoustics in terms of reverberation times, however. This means that to achieve good spatial acoustics it is necessary to resort to other measures, for example using existing acoustic ceilings and wall absorbers and installing additional ones.”

Then there is hygiene and cleaning. “More than a third of the population is susceptible to allergies, for instance to house dust. In contrast to carpeted floors, rubber floor coverings are safe for allergy sufferers because they do not offer a breeding ground for allergy-inducing substances. Their dense, closed surface means that dirt and dust remain on the surface of the covering and are completely removed by the appropriate maintenance cleaning.”

Of course businesses can never overlook design and corporate identity:

“Office and administration areas are also well suited for corporate presentation purposes. The company’s culture is recognisable from the architecture, room design and furnishings. Corporate values such as quality and innovation, but also fun and creativity, are visualised by means of premium quality fittings and new, unusual or amusing designs and arrangements.

“The broad spectrum of fascinating colours and a host of modern surface designs allow all manner of creative designs to be realised. Individual inlays complement the assortment, for example with company logos, meeting points or navigation systems.”

Got all that? Okay, how about a more specific example.

Hibaldstow Primary School in Hopfield has recently undergone major renovations, as a part of which the floor of the main hall was replaced at a very cheap price by flooring firm Dr. Schutz.

This main hall is a multipurpose room, used for serving food, extra work space and physical education. The original floor surface was badly worn and left looking grey and uninviting. The school decided that it was time to replace the floor, but at 100 square metres in size, it was also looking to be a costly project.

Floor Safe, an installer of anti-slip surfaces, was given the brief to establish a bright, clean and, most importantly, safe underfoot environment with hard-wearing and easy-to-maintain qualities. Down time had to be kept to a minimum due to the room being the most highly frequented area within the entire school, a pleasant finish was of course requested, bearing the school crest.

The fact that this many requirements and considerations can rear their heads for one school hall demonstrates the challenges that can be faces and how varied the objectives can be.

But Geoff Bowler, a director at Project Flooring, points out that once the messy business of deciding what type of floor you would like to have is over, you still have to ensure that you have an answer to each of the following questions:

  • Will we need to move furniture?
  • Will we need to disconnect computers?
  • Will the flooring be antistatic?
  • Will the works be carried out of hours?
  • Choosing the right flooring for the job?
  • Choosing the right flooring contractor for the job?
  • How long will it take?
  • Will the flooring contractor be fully insured and supply the relevant risk assessments method statements etc?
  • What is the life expectancy of the chosen flooring?

So let that be a lesson to you, before you get over excited choosing your new floor, don’t forget the basics!

About Sarah OBeirne


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