A Celebration of Vinyl Excellence

by Tania Wannenburg
Polyflor UK trip Jnl 1 16

The award held by Polyflor South Africa, In Search of Excellence, saw them partner with innovative experts whom they are extremely proud of.

Polyflor South Africa’s recent “In Search of Excellence” competition looked to celebrate the best in vinyl solutions across different industries and applications. The aim was to encourage all key stakeholders within the industry to raise the bar in vinyl solutioning, and to push the art of the possible. Entries flooded in for the Architect & Designer, Client, and Flooring Contractor categories and, after an internal and external judging panel had completed their deliberations, the winners were announced. The winners were Heloïse Urry of Graceland Architects for Mediclinic Midstream, Adrian Breckenridge of SPAR for SUPERSPAR Eagle Canyon in the Client Category and, in the Flooring Contractor Category, Pieter du Plessis of Flor Pro for Toys R Us Wonderboom. Special awards for notable achievement were also awarded to Deon van der Merwe of Acumen Architects, Matt Audinwood of Ruben Reddy Architects and Johann van der Wath of Van Der Wath De Klerk Architects.

The award for the winners was a trip of a lifetime to travel to the UK to watch the Springboks compete against Scotland in Newcastle, plus the opportunity to witness world-class manufacture in action at the Polyflor and Gradus factories in Manchester. Unfortunately, Adrian Breckenridge was unable to join the group, and Donovan d’Oliveira of Mediclinic as the runner-up in the category was offered his place.

Not only were these winners able to watch an historical game live in one of the UK’s three largest stadiums and be there to witness our team beat Scotland, but they were also privileged (and lucky) enough to have met several of the Springboks in person and take photos with them. Joining in the fun and educational experience were six staff members of the Polyflor team, namely Tandy Coleman-Spolander, Candice Dippenaar, Prema Charnock, Blythe Scorgie, Sandy McLardy and Ryan Falkenberg, who were equally delighted to be part of this memorable experience.

Other highlights of the trip included a trip down the River Tyne and witnessing an architecturally inspiring bridge open and close for this historically themed trip. On day five of the tour, everyone was transported to the Polyflor Riverside factory, which manufactures heterogeneous vinyl flooring. The tour itself incited several questions, and it was absolutely awe-inspiring to see how these products are made and the processes they go through until the final product is ready for distribution. The group were especially fascinated by the way in which heterogeneous flooring was made at Polyflor’s Riverside factory, using six different printing stations that ensure different colours and designs, which ultimately adds to greater detail. The principal wear layer is also embossed to create the woodgrain or the cement look and feel, both very popular internationally.

During the tour of the Polyflor Whitefield factory, the group also learned about how homogeneous vinyl flooring is manufactured. It quickly became evident that quality assurance and eco-sustainability are top of mind when it comes to the manufacturing of Polyflor products. The visit to the head office and distribution centre in Oldham also showed just how Polyflor is able to deliver any order within 24 hours within the UK, and why stock distribution to Polyflor SA is so effective.

The last factory visit took place at Gradus, who offers solutions for flooring accessories, barrier matting and wall protection. The group was taken on a tour of both its extrusion and matting plants, and were again amazed at the levels of automation and quality assurance that goes into these world-class products.

The tour not only proved to be an amazing opportunity to learn more about how vinyl products are manufactured to European standards, but also offered everyone a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see and meet our Bokke at the World Cup. By the time the group landed back in SA, everyone was eager to ensure their next projects would raise the industry levels even further, so that they could be part of the next winning team in Polyflor’s biennual “In Search of Excellence’ competition.

Charmain Pieterse was fortunate enough to represent FLOORS in Africa on the trip, and said of the trip: “It was an amazing learning opportunity, and also great to spend time with the winners. They all share a passion and a commitment to excellence, making it apparent why they won an award in their specific category. Our sincere thanks go to the Polyflor SA team, who continually demonstrates a passion for flooring and a passion for servicing those who make use of their quality vinyl products.”


Pieter du Plessis, Operational Manager

There were a few highlights for me: obviously the game against Scotland; and meeting the Springboks afterwards at their hotel. The stunning team I went with was also a highlight, seeing all the different factories, and most off all, leaving the tour a lot of friends richer are the best memories I have. The Polyflor team treated us to some fine dining at amazing restaurants and they went out of their way to make it a memorable experience for each one of us.

Heloïse Urry

Being so fortunate to experience the UK for the first time with the amazing Polyflor group and their other guests was really exciting. The trips to the Polyflor and Gradus factories were very well organised, and proved to be informative and interesting. It is good to see how the products we specify are manufactured. The care and attention we were treated with has made a lasting impression on me. Thank you Polyflor SA and your international partners for a very memorable trip!

Donovan d’Oliveira, Interior Designer | Infrastructure Department

For me this trip was a once-in-a-lifetime experience which I felt privileged to be a part of. The highlights of the trip were watching the Springboks beat Scotland in St James Park, Newcastle and then meeting a few of the players after the match. I thoroughly enjoyed the tours of the Polyflor and Gradus factories in Manchester, which were informative and opened my eyes to new ideas and possibilities. A huge thank you and heartfelt appreciation to everybody involved for making this such a memorable experience.

You may also like