Implementation checking for industrial flooring:
A guarantee of durability and performance
Implementation checking for industrial flooring: A guarantee of durability and performance
by Agustín Escámez, Monofloor Technical Director
Flooring forms the base for all industrial activity. This obvious statement becomes particularly significant when flooring issues lead to downtime, or make it difficult to perform industrial tasks correctly.
The challenges in flooring construction
Concrete flooring, a fundamental component of any industrial construction project, has traditionally been neglected and poorly considered during the implementation phase, with costs forced down by construction firms and a lack of observance of minimum waiting times before beginning operations. This has led to the proliferation of small businesses with low labour costs and scarce technical resources which present themselves to construction firms as fitters of industrial floors and flooring.
This failure to give the necessary ‘care’ to the floor leads to significant costs and problems. Mainly this is due to the appearance of hidden faults and defects when operations begin, which are very difficult to resolve. Unwanted downtime, expensive repairs and high maintenance costs do not always succeed in resolving the problems to the customer’s satisfaction.
The demands on an industrial floor
Industry has modernised its processes, optimised production times and reduced waiting times, all by using increasingly mechanised techniques. The impact of flooring and the demands placed on it are fundamental factors in the successful operation of a company.
These strong demands, combined with the fact that, once laid, continuous flooring is not easy to repair, create a potent cocktail of issues, which are difficult to manage and, often, hard to resolve. Therefore, the highest level of attention must be paid to correct design and conscientious construction.
Meanwhile, property owners and construction firms are demanding the use of new building methods, in order to reduce final costs and increase building profitability. This, of course, includes flooring. Work and delivery deadlines have become key factors, particularly in light of the current crisis.
Achieving the balance: project checking and supervision
The solution to this conflict of interests involves an in-depth independent survey of the flooring project unit by specialist companies. These companies need to be capable of designing solutions optimised for the relevant industrial activity and selecting the building technique best suited to the project conditions.
In modern construction projects, it is essential that a protocol for checking methods is established and implemented by qualified specialists. These independent surveys and project unit implementation checks are generating incredible results in industrial construction projects, achieving the required flooring characteristics (great levelling, resistance and durability and low maintenance) through high-productivity construction methods (reducing project deadlines and costs).
This service is increasingly being incorporated into the concept, design and construction of large industrial facilities.
The four step approach
- Let’s break down this “magic formula” into 4 steps.
- Optimisation of the solution. Determining the best course of action requires more than a simple awareness of industrial flooring design and construction methods. You must also understand all aspects of operations and maintenance in the relevant industry. For example, the needs of a logistics company are different to those of an agro-food business, where the cleaning products are harsher on the floor than physical wear and tear.
The ability to manage and understand all the issues arising from a certain industrial activity is an essential requirement of a flooring specialist. Compared to a non-specialist engineer, this nuanced understanding enables complete optimisation of the flooring, not only saving on the initial investment, but also reducing future maintenance costs.
- Project planning: building method. Proper planning and scheduling of construction work depends on various questions:
- The characteristics of the flooring: These will determine whether or not it is possible to use mechanical means (laser-controlled pavers and mechanical topping spreaders).
- Project conditions and timeframe: These will require the establishment of minimum performance levels, in line with the general project timescale.
- Conditions of use: If the flooring is highly levelled or if it requires strong reinforcement (as is the case for the foundation slabs of self-supporting warehouses), this will affect the implementation method (strip construction, use of pumps, etc)
- Accessibility: Flooring in projects to renovate existing buildings, work on garages, hard-to-access basements and tall buildings all represent great challenges for designers.
- Checking protocol. The right decisions and correct approach to planning the project will not suffice if they fall into the hands of unprofessional or poorly qualified companies, whose priorities are far from the quality that a finished product requires. To avoid this, the designer must not only plan production, but also provide systematic and detailed specifications covering the following points:
- How to check the conditions of the base on which the flooring will be laid and the criteria for approval.
- How to build the floor, with a detailed description of the materials and application methods.
- What checks must be carried out and when:
- In situ checks of the quality of materials
- Checking of levels
- Checking and approval of additional building components
- Checks on outstanding tasks
- The minimum quality requirements for approval of the floor.
- Checks during works. The checking protocol is useless if there is no qualified technical specialist to monitor its implementation and oversee the smooth functioning of the project.
Today, this service, which includes DESIGN + PLANNING + CHECKING PROTOCOL + PROJECT CHECKING for industrial flooring project units is very popular among building owners, who want a full performance guarantee for their flooring projects. This full guarantee is synonymous with a perfect finish, durability, optimisation and cost savings.
This service, which can be defined as “Advice and Project Management for industrial flooring” is offered by highly specialised companies with great technical expertise, which provide the client with designs and specifications, as well as the human and technical resources required for a comprehensive flooring solution.
On a global scale, there are very few businesses that meet these criteria, but they are increasingly in demand, having achieved great results by applying the “magic formula” outlined above.
Types of Check. Before, during and after.
Preliminary checks: carried out systematically on all building components relating to flooring (quality of the base, perimeter joints, concrete joints, targeted reinforcements in problem areas, meetings of joints, drainage connectors, etc.). A daily check of these elements is necessary in order to avoid future “surprises”.
Checks during concrete spreading: Extensive checking of concrete quality as it arrives on site (abrams cone, waiting times, frequency, fibre mix, sample testing etc) guarantees, to a high degree, that the floor will meet the required specifications.
Checks upon completion: Levels, surface abrasion tests, location of joints, distribution of joints with regard to the project design, depth of cut, finish, surface quality.
All of this must be included in a daily report which will be made available to the building owner as a record of the quality of work carried out.
There is no substitute for the professionalism and good work of the major paving companies. The quality of industrial flooring depends on their skill and good practice. Checking processes assist in the successful completion of works and the optimisation of resources, but they can never replace high-quality flooring construction specialists. Those who believe that a bad paver can do a good job under proper supervision are sorely mistaken. Results will improve, but not to the level required to meet industrial needs. Bringing together excellence in application, design and checking will provide results that exceed expectations, guaranteeing all-round quality.