Identifying all the requirements of a facility is crucial to the success of your client’s specialised or industrial flooring project. The coating systems that make the floor safe, functional and attractive are unique to your client’s needs and these requirements can vary significantly depending on the type of facility and the purpose of the floor. Last year we gave you a comprehensive specialised flooring glossary. This time round, we’re identifying the questions you need to ask to obtain the right brief.

Determining the must-haves, good-to-haves and negotiable performance requirements
These are some of the questions you can ask clients to determine which of the performance requirements are crucial, beneficial and not really seen as important for this specific flooring installation (as well as the type of performance requirements that you can specify to meet these needs):

1. What potential dangerous conditions are present in the facility?
Customisable slip resistance – Slip risks are greater in commercial and industrial flooring installations. A variety of slip resistant finishes, from very mild to coarser textures, can be specified according to a client’s needs. Determine what potential dangerous conditions might be present in the facility, such as grease, oil, rainwater, and spilled powders, amongst others.

2. How much downtime can you accommodate for this project?
Quick cure / fast turnaround – Many businesses and factories can’t shut down operations while a new specialised floor is being installed. Ask your clients what their timeframes are and specify quick cure coatings that can minimise downtime.

3. What type of visuals do you want on your floor (if any)?
Special aesthetics – Thanks to developments in the industry, clients no longer have to choose between high performance and visually appealing.

4. What special conditions in your facility need to be considered?
Floor resurfacing – In the case of an existing floor installation, you will need to ensure that the floor is treated to withstand conditions such as chemicals, moisture, frequent traffic, heavy loads or other influences.

5. What chemicals are used in your facility?
Extreme chemical resistance – Ask for a list of chemicals and acids used during typical business operations. Also consider the level of exposure, whether there will be complete submersion of chemicals, is there intermittent spillage and the exposure period before clean up takes place.

6. How important is hygiene in your facility?
Puncture resistance – Small punctures can wreak havoc and cause widespread deterioration and damage in flooring systems. Besides aesthetic damage, this can also lead to an unhygienic facility.

7. Are there any problems relating to odour that you can foresee in the installation?
Low odour application – It is possible that even VOC-free and solvent-free floor coatings can generate odour during the chemical curing process. In cases where this needs to be prevented, a special low odour application formula needs to be sourced, or sufficient ventilation should be provided for during the installation and the curing period.

8. What subfloor and flooring material is being installed?
Thermal shock and steam cleaning resistance – Flooring material expands and contracts with changes in temperature. This only becomes a problem when these changes occur at a very different rate to the floor substrate underneath. High performance industrial flooring systems can ensure that the floor systems expand and contract at a similar rate to keep the floors seamless and hygienic.

9. How watertight is the environment?
Waterproofing underlayments – Many so-called dry storage facilities turn out to be not so dry after all. Prevent costly damage from water, spills, floods and unpredictable conditions by investing in a coating that can keep fluids under control.

10. Has there ever been Moisture Vapour Transmission in the facility?
Moisture vapour control – At first glance, what may look like a floor moisture problem is often moisture vapour transmission (MVT) that moves upward through a slab by osmosis. This can severely damage many floorcoverings leading to delamination, softening and debonding. Assess the floor to find out if a MVT coating system is needed to ensure this doesn’t become a problem in your client’s facility.

11. Are there active electronic equipment and components in the facility?
Static control – Facilities that handle active electronic equipment and components or volatile powders, liquids and gases can be sensitive to electro-static discharge (ESD). Special industrial flooring compositions can ensure the safe dissipation of electro-static charges.

12. Do you have green aspirations for this project?
Sustainability point contribution – some manufacturers offer recycled content epoxy coatings that can help you achieve sustainability ratings.

Specialised tip: Many businesses and factories can’t shut down operations while a new specialised floor is being installed. Quick cure floorcoverings are available to meet this need.

Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to www.florock.net, www.afcpros.com, www.staticworx and www.concretefusion.ca for the information contained in this article.