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May 2018

Hygiene in wet environments

No one wants to wash or change in a dirty environment, but what about the contamination that’s not obvious?

If safety flooring isn’t cleaned properly, a hazardous level of dirt and contaminant build-up can accumulate on the surface, potentially increasing the risk of a slip to as high as one in twenty. In a wet environment, the effects of a slip or fall could be devastating.

A build-up of bacteria on floors or walls can lead to mould growth, the effects of which range from exacerbating allergies to respiratory problems. Older people and children, as well as those with existing health issues, can be particularly affected by this.

Altro Aquarius and Altro Pisces contain Altro Easyclean technology which requires a less stringent cleaning regime.

The lack of studs on Altro Aquarius and Altro Pisces also makes them easier to clean as there is nowhere for limescale to build up.

Altro Whiterock hygienic wall sheets have a stain-resistant, wipe-clean surface that is watertight and impervious even when installed over tiles. As it’s a fully-bonded system with fully sealed edges, abutments and jointing systems, not only are liquids unable to penetrate but there is nowhere for bacteria to go. This means it can be cleaned easily and effectively.

The perfect partnership

Altro Whitrock Satins has been designed to fit together perfectly with Altro Aquarius or Altro Pisces, forming a sealed, watertight system for enhanced safety and hygiene. This integrated system includes welded jointing, coveability and compatibility with drainage. This means: installation is easier, there is no need to worry about joined surfaces ‘parting company’ and the system will require less maintenance.

The integrated system

  • Totally sealed, hygienic system
  • Impervious, non-absorbent and washable
  • Withstands extremes of hot and cold temperatures (+60°C to -30°C)
  • Coved junctions between wall sheets and flooring create an impermeable seal, which is easier to keep clean
  • Sound investment – designed to maintain performance and retain appearance for up to 20 years
Posted: 03/05/2018 08:00:00 by Heather Mussett | with 0 comments

Altro assists Alstom in Good Shepherd Charity refurbishment

When global rail infrastructure giants Alstom volunteered to refurbish the kitchen at the Good Shepherd Ministry as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative, Altro were keen to help in any way we could.

The Good Shepherd Ministry, a charity based in Wolverhampton, assists the homeless and others in need by providing basic necessities including hot meals. The Good Shepherd Ministry are based in the Darlington Street Methodist church, a listed building which was in need of some refurbishment. Knowing this, the Alstom Midlands team offered to refit the kitchen using their volunteer days.

Altro donated 40m² of Altro Stronghold 30 in Monsoon, including weld rods, for the project.

  • Taking up the old kitchen floors, consisting of ceramic tile and old, wet-through parquet wood
  • Sealing the concrete subfloor and boarding with plywood
  • Fitting Altro Stronghold 30
  • Preparing and repainting all painted surfaces
  • Preparing and repainting the corridor leading to the kitchen

The project has been completed to a great standard and Altro are proud to have worked with Alstom to aid such a worthy cause.

Posted: 17/05/2018 08:00:00 by Heather Mussett | with 0 comments

Digress-in to Resin

Our technical guru Roger Moore gives an introduction to resin flooring systems.

Altro resins are a versatile flooring system. They have a lot of advantages when the right option is chosen for the right area. In this edition I am going to cover when to consider a resin floor, and some dos and don’ts when it comes to installation.

What makes a resin floor different is that it’s applied in a liquid form which then cures to produce the final synthetic resin finish. Resin floors can withstand high temperatures, chemicals, impact, heavy abrasion and high point-loading. This makes them an ideal choice for areas within industry and healthcare, and it’s a particular favourite for food preparation.

There are many types of resin floors so they can be tailored to suit the installation. A wise person at Altro said that choosing the right resin product is like making a cake. You choose the ‘ingredients’ you need to make the final product you want, for example, level of impact resistance, thickness and guarantee length.

We categorise resins using the same terminology as FeRFA (The Federation of Resin Formulators and Applicators) which keeps it simple. To make the selection process even easier we’ve introduced a brochure dedicated to all things resin which you can find on our website.

Check the conditions and take action if necessary

As with any installation, there may be issues onsite. These could cause problems that affect the floor and it’s a lot harder to put right than a traditional vinyl floor, so make sure the conditions are assessed, and contact us with any problems. Common problems faced are a porous or damp substrate, or poor curing conditions.

If conditions aren’t right, the chosen resin system may not fully bond to the substrate. This can result in the floor peeling up, which could cause problems generally but particularly in areas where water is present.

Surface preparation; it’s vital

Resins form a strong permanent bond to the concrete substrate; they are designed to last for years, which is one reason correct installation is so important. The bond means that taking up a badly prepared or poorly installed resin floor is not easy so it’s better all round to take the right steps at the off.

Get the mixing right

I can’t stress enough how important it is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to mixing the different components of a resin floor. To make sure the floor lays and cures correctly, a chemical reaction needs to take place; this will only happen with the right amount of mixing. It’s very straightforward so don’t be put off! A data sheet offering guidance on mixers can be found on our website, but please pick up the phone and contact us if you have any questions about this.

We also run a resins training school covering a full introduction to this type of flooring. I strongly recommend doing this to gain a full understanding of resins systems. Having specialist training and being able to offer resin systems to your customers can only enhance your business.

 

Posted: 31/05/2018 08:00:00 by Heather Mussett | with 0 comments

Students design for wellbeing

Altro have partnered with Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts London, to conduct an in-curriculum project to create new floor designs to enhance wellbeing in commercial areas. Camberwell College of Arts is part of the University of the Arts London (UAL) and is Europe’s largest specialist art and design university. Camberwell attracts students from all over the world who go on to become some of the leading artists of their generation.

Third year students were invited to take part in Grounds for wellbeing as an extracurricular activity. Students were briefed on the project and were asked to consider applications, target audience and market sectors. During the project students met with project leaders to review, before submitting a final presentation. A number of Altro customers met with the students at the Altro Showroom London to see the final designs. A panel of architects worked with Altro to select the three winning designs and to advise on how to incorporate them in future ranges.

Posted: 10/05/2018 08:00:00 by Heather Mussett | with 0 comments

If it's not Altro, it's not Whiterock

The Altro Whiterock walls system was introduced to the market over 35 years ago and has been a market leader ever since. As a result of its own success and excellent reputation you have most probably heard the term ‘Whiterocking’ a wall. However, if the sheet you’re using isn’t Altro, you’re not ‘Whiterocking’ that wall at all. Does that matter? You ask.

The answer to that question hinges on whether you expect every wall sheet to deliver what Altro Whiterock does.

Is that wall sheet a safe, fire-resistant product? Will the manufacturer provide technical support before, during and after installation? Will it give you your required high-end finish to a design-led and innovative build? Does it provide flexibility with colours and shades to fit aesthetic requirements? Is it a product that will stand the test of time? Will it give hygienic, impact-resistant, protection for busy clinical areas?

Altro Whiterock fits all the above criteria and more. Its product specification gives you reassuring value for money, knowing that your investment has a 20-year guarantee with a 25-year life expectancy. And because Altro Whiterock has been with us for over three decades, we know these figures stand up.

Hygienic and safe

Altro Whiterock is the only globally Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)-certified PVC wall sheet, plus it’s CE-labelled. Made from a high-quality, food-safe PVCu polymer that can handle temperatures up to 60°C it meets all current EU Directives on health and hygiene and is particularly suitable for use in commercial kitchens where fire protection is critical. It is a fully bonded and watertight system that gives bacteria and vermin nowhere to hide and is easy to clean with a smooth finish that you can wipe, steam or power-wash clean.

The Altro Whiterock system, including the sheet and accessories, has been designed to give you confidence and peace of mind with a Class 0 fire rating when used as recommended in the installation guide. The Altro Whiterock walls system meets the required fire resistance for public areas and circulation spaces; not all wall systems do this and if you switch products during planning or build, you may be taking a risk.

Altro Whiterock has been impact tested to BS EN 438-2-1991 and Charpy ISO 179 and is designed to maintain performance and retain appearance.

Design-led

Altro Whiterock, despite the name, isn’t just white. In fact we offer no fewer than 44 shades.

Available in a range of solid, satin-finish shades – Altro Whiterock Satins can be used where aesthetics are important and you want to create a particular mood. Ideal for bathrooms, operating theatres, hospital wards and splashbacks.

Making a bold statement? Choose Altro Whiterock Chameleon – the glossy, vibrant wall system that adds a touch of luxury to high-end bathrooms, foyers, serveries, retail and splashbacks.

To ensure your use of colour looks as good as possible, we control the colour of Altro Whiterock to a very tight tolerance so there’s no shade variation from sheet to sheet.

Or if you need to create the right impression with your chosen photographic image or art reproduced onto wall sheets - Altro Whiterock Digiclad is a great choice for feature walls in foyers, wards, patient rooms, operating theatres, recovery rooms and coffee shops.

Altro Whiterock has been used in all shades, in a huge variety of application areas by some of the world’s leading brands, organisations and sporting arenas, amongst many others. You can find many examples in our case studies section.

Technical Services

On top of a 20 year guarantee, Altro's technical services teams  are here to help, wherever you are. They might not thank us for saying it but our team has over 100 years’ experience of working with walls systems. They have detailed knowledge of substrate technology and possible issues that might arise. They can also offer solutions and information on different installation techniques. So, whether you are a contractor, architect, designer or end user, they are there for you.

Our promise

Altro Whiterock provides you with confidence and reassurance of the Altro Whiterock product design and Altro quality manufacture.

Altro invented the hygienic walls system in 1982 and our guarantee is our promise to you.

And don’t forget; if it’s not Altro, it’s not Whiterock.

Posted: 24/05/2018 15:35:29 by Heather Mussett | with 0 comments

Are you confident your wall sheets are fire-resistant?

In 2016 the Fire Brigade in Ireland attended 1221 non-residential fires1 and there were 8 reported fatalities in Local Authority (Social) Housing.2

Selection of wall sheets and systems is a vital decision when designing or refurbishing a building for both safety and aesthetic purposes. Internal wall linings are a critical factor in the spread of fire and it gaining hold and consideration must be given to the fire rating and resistance to fire of any product being considered for specification. This is of particular importance in circulation areas where it can prevent escape.

“A fire at the Metro hotel and apartments in Ballymun last March, seriously damaged 26 apartments, destroyed four and resulted in 150 people having to leave the building.”

www.irishtimes.com

Check!

Sometimes fire tests are not aligned with the wall system you are buying. It is your responsibility to check you have not been misled by the fire certification and you are adhering to the Building Regulations.

Your first steps to ensuring your wall linings are safe and compliant should be:

  1. Ensure the product you are considering exactly matches the product detailed on the fire certificate. Is it the same product and the same thickness?
  2. Check that the fire testing has been conducted and duplicates the method of your installation?
  3. Has the fire test on the product been conducted as a complete system – ie included wall sheet, adhesive, joint profiles and the corresponding substrate?

It is easy to overlook the fire rating of your wall lining material and whilst you might assume the sheets you have chosen, or are installing, would perform to the highest standards, should the worst happen it’s not always the case. Consideration should be given as to how it will react with other parts of the wall construction, since the substrate and adhesive can have an effect on the overall fire rating of the system.

Please note that any changes to the installation of the system or substitution of materials for alternatives will invalidate the fire certification.

The regulations

As stipulated in the Approved Document B of the Building Regulations2 you must ensure the fire resistance of your wall covering meets the required level for the environment into which it is installed.

The fire rating for wall linings varies by area of the building. However, in order to be used in public areas and circulation spaces wall linings need to achieve the following ratings to ensure they are safe and compliant:

  • EN 13501 Class B-s3 d2
  • BS 476 Part 7 Class 1 and BS 476 Part 6 Class 0

Altro Whiterock is also CE marked under the construction products regulation (CPR) and is covered by the standard EN 15102. All decorative wall surfaces in roll or panel form and placed on the market in the EU should be assessed to this standard.

The solution

The Altro Whiterock system has been designed to give you confidence and peace of mind with a Class 0 fire rating when used as described in the installation guide. Our systems can be trusted to do the job in high risk areas such as commercial kitchens as well as general use areas.

With Altro you can rest assured that our wall systems are fully compliant and our Technical Services team can provide you with guidance if you have any form of doubt.

References:

1 www.housing.gov.ie
2 www.housing.gov.ie

Posted: 28/05/2018 08:00:00 by Heather Mussett | with 0 comments