Selecting the right industrial floor can be a difficult and crucial decision for a facility manager. The floor is one of the most important components of a facility since it is exposed to continuous stress on a daily basis. An improperly specified floor could lead to high replacement costs and financial damage from the disruption of operations.
As you decide on the right floor for your facility, contractors will be eager to pitch their solution as the best choice available. You can easily get overwhelmed with all the information and therefore, it is important to understand which solutions correspond to your needs. You should be considering the following points when deciding on the right floor.
1) The first factor is the type of traffic that your industrial floor will be exposed to. Will vehicles be accessing the floor, and if yes what types? If you have forklifts and pallet trucks you will need a floor that is much more resistant to heavy wear and tear than the type of flooring needed in a retail space, for example. If your floor will only have foot traffic, you may want to consider a rather more elastic flooring choice that will minimize scratching from heels and boots.
2) You also need to consider the frequency of traffic in your facility. For example, a car-park in a mall needs to put up with thousands of cars passing through every hour. The specifications would need to be very different compared to facilities with storage space that hardly sees any traffic. Try to estimate the daily traffic that goes through your facility as well as the type of traffic (pedestrian, vehicular, etc.) so that your flooring supplier can make a suitable proposal.
3) The choice of color for the floor is not just a decorative choice but also affects daily operations. Architects may fall in love with white floors, but they are notoriously difficult to clean. Someone may want to specify a flashy color like yellow or red but these colors can be very tiring on the eyes and won’t provide a healthy working environment. For facilities that are getting little natural light go for light colors (like a light grey). Light colours will make the space look larger and brighter, thus creating a more pleasant environment. Furthermore brightening up the space could also help you save on lighting costs. You may also want to select a color that suits your type of business: car parks choose grey to hide the tire marks, meat facilities tend to choose dark red colors, etc.
4) Don’t forget to budget for cleaning and maintenance of the floor right from the start. You many need to invest in new cleaning equipment and have a regular maintenance schedule for your floors. Be aware from the outset what types of maintenance costs you will be dealing with. Also keep in mind that forklifts need to be regularly maintained as worn tires and wheels may damage your new floor.
5) Make sure you let your contractors know of any other conditions that may be unique to your floor. For example what are the working temperatures of your facility? The types of products that can be used in freezing chambers are very different to the types of product suitable for steam-washed rooms. Make sure that you understand the technical characteristics of the products that will be used.
By considering the above five points, you will be able to narrow down the possible solutions that are suitable for your floor and acquire a clear picture on how to move forward.Always remember to ask for project references when you are speaking with contractors.Get in touch with the facility managers there and try to arrange a visit to see how their floors have been performing.
Akis Apostolopoulos is general manager for KTISIS, you can reach him via his blog at: www.learncoatings.com.
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