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Making an entrance

As the floor is the largest area in a building, the choice of floor coverings available and therefore the investment, can be substantial. For facility managers, making the right decisions in terms of product at the beginning of the design stage can help immensely when it comes to the overall cleaning and maintenance costs and the health and safety of occupants, not to mention the aesthetics. Garry Bateman, head of technical sales at Forbo Flooring Systems, explores the benefits of an effective entrance flooring system in terms of cleaning and maintenance, aesthetics and cost

When it comes to creating a first impression, entrances are the ideal opportunity to promote a company and its values. However, wet and dry soiling can create slip hazards and when tracked further into a building it can make interiors look dirty and unattractive.

Hence why entrance flooring is fundamental to modern building design: An effective entrance system can stop up to 90 per cent of dirt and moisture being brought into a building on the soles of shoes and wheeled traffic – minimising maintenance costs, protecting the interior flooring and preventing slips.

It’s the one area that gets the highest volume of foot traffic, with people bringing in dirt and moisture from outside. To avoid foot borne soil and moisture spoiling the appearance of interior floor finishes and causing unnecessary wear and tear, it’s necessary to choose an entrance matting system that will meet the needs of the building. Therefore, facility managers should make sensible decisions over flooring products from the beginning, considering all elements and areas of the building and how these will be used.

For instance, it’s not enough to throw down a mat at the door – in fact, the Health and Safety Executive advises against the use of loose lay mats which they state “can introduce a range of hazards and are not always very effective.”

Instead, entrance systems can stop 90 per cent of what’s walked in from getting any further into the building and the toughest high performance products, such as engineered entrance mats, will last up to 15 years. Entrance systems certainly preserve aesthetics, reduce repair and maintenance costs, as well as the amount of cleaning needed – saving on chemical usage. In fact, research shows that cleaning bills alone can be cut by up to 65 per cent.

Creating an effective entrance flooring system involves thinking about footfall – the number of people walking in and out in a given period – and walking routes (the directions they take once inside) and applying that information in the design of the entrance area.

From the moment an employee or visitor walks up to the doors of a building, effective entrance matting should be installed and one of the best ways to plan an entrance flooring system is to think of it in applications:

    Any matting placed outside the building entrance is the first line of defence against foot-borne soil, scraping the coarsest dirt from the soles of shoes before they cross the threshold. As the recognised market leader in engineered entrance flooring systems, Forbo’s Nuway offers a wide range of rigid single and double sided made-to-order mats which provide an outstanding first line of defence against soil and moisture entering a building on the soles of shoes and the treads of wheeled traffic.
    Moving inside, the next line of defence, is used to remove foot-borne moisture and finer dirt particles.
    Other areas in the building also suffer from soil and moisture; reception areas, corridors, walkways, elevators, staircase exits, etc. All these areas will be prone to residual soiling and will benefit highly from a purposely designed entrance mat to absorb this soiling.

Choosing a modular entrance flooring system can help reduce costs even further, as the flexible approach enabled by this type of product offers a number of efficiencies. Products that offer maximum moisture absorption and effective dirt removal. Nonetheless the tiles can also significantly reduce installation time and wastage on site, which in turn delivers exceptional cost savings.

What’s more if the entrance flooring system is accidently damaged at any time, it is very easy to lift the spoiled tile and substitute it with a new one – without having to replace the entire system.

Entrance flooring systems also have a critical safety role to play. Slips, trips and falls made up more than half of all reported major injuries in 2012/2013 causing suffering and financial loss for individuals, companies and society at large.

About Sarah OBeirne

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