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FLOORING I


must be easy to disinfect and resistant to cleaning chemicals. Beyond this, designers must consider the kitchen floor’s thermal capacity and look for low-noise finishes in areas where a lot of mobile equipment is used. There are also aesthetic issues to include for large kitchens or canteens where the design must blend into a broader interior design concept. “All in all, there is a great deal for flooring suppliers to consider; luckily, there is no shortage of ideas.”


Solution and innovation Flooring suppliers initially focus on compliance with the regulations which govern commercial kitchen applications, but that is just the start of their thought process. “I can only talk about the regulations with which a floor in a commercial kitchen has to comply in Germany, but I think most of them apply globally,” says André Bartel, director of BARiT, which supplies durable, seamless resin kitchen floors ideal for large institutions’ catering facilities, canteens and casinos. “The floor has to be rough to prevent slipping and in Germany we have code R12 V4 for that. R12 means that a person will only slip if the floor has a gradient of 27° to 35°, and V4 means that 4cm3 of any liquid will stay in – not on – the rough surface of an area measuring 10cm by 10cm.


The floor also has to be tight to all the substances used in a commercial kitchen. That sounds easy, but it’s the biggest issue, as drains, gullies, wall connections, doorframes and pipes all have potential for not being tight. “The floor has to be easy to clean,


though, of course, a rough surface needs more time to be cleaned than a smooth one. But the rough surface should also give the staff a chance to get a clean floor in the end. That is the reason for us to make all the surfaces underneath machines smooth, with a non-slip surface only for those areas where people walk and work on and which can be cleaned by machine.


“The floor needs to be food safe, which means it must not allow any substances – including gases – into the environment. When it comes to the people working on a floor, it should allow easy movement, be silent when things are being moved, and protect knees and hips from more wear than necessary,” he adds. BARiT began working in


commercial kitchens in 1989 and its


Compliance with the regulations that govern commercial kitchens is just the start of the process


A seamless floor makes cleaning easier


seamless resin kitchen floors have evolved to boast excellent chemical and mechanical stability, making them strong and durable. Aesthetic considerations are high on the agenda, and the company’s solutions come with a range of grain sizes based on the RAL colour matching system. BARiT has looked closely at the process of installation with an eye to improving efficiency. “As we got to know this field, all the work on the different layers of a kitchen floor was being done by a different company – one for the screed, one to supply the drains and gullies, one to install them, one to provide the flooring, one to do the sealing, another to take care of the pipes, and so on. This kind of split work involved many interfaces. If you factor in the time for each task, and the possibility of poor co-ordination on top of that, mistakes came to be seen as normal, and unfortunately some of those mistakes were fatal to the construction of the floor, which could get flooded,” says Bartel. “That situation is a total loss and to make it right, the floor needed to be taken out again and repaired. That creates a high cost for the work, as it also involves removing and reinstalling all the machines in the kitchen and, depending on the sort of kitchen, the development of an interim solution in order to be able to supply customers with food while the repairs and re-fit were taking place. “Our innovation was to take all the layers into one hand. Within that we made many small steps to fulfil the criteria of a kitchen floor – such as special round gullies, special edges of gullies and drains, maximum length of drains, connections to cold rooms and so on – but the big difference is that we take care of the floor construction and installation,


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