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Liam Walker, from independent flooring company Best at Flooring, shares his advice on providing the most efficient service when installing flooring for hotel and leisure facilities.

MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE When deciding on flooring, it's important to consider the area you're fitting and the purpose of that space.

In a hotel bar area, for example, you'd want flooring that was easy to clean. You'd also want durable flooring that was not going to be damaged by liquid spills. In this instance, the most practical product might be a luxury vinyl tile.

However, it's never as simple as thinking about the most practical product for the job.

When working on a commercial flooring project, close cooperation with the designer or architect is needed to help them achieve their vision, within budget.

This is usually created based on aesthetics. It might also incorporate branding consistency throughout the venue, or across a franchise.

The designer you're working with may have an aesthetic preference for real wood. Similarly, a hotel chain might have an exclusive carpet design they use in all their bars.

In this case, it becomes a matter of working closely with the designer and other decision makers. In our experience, we try to combine our different areas of expertise to work within the specifications and get as close to the original vision as possible, whilst providing a practical and durable result.

We would always encourage commercial facilities and venues to steer away from budget domestic options. These can be a great bargain for homes with a couple of people living in them, but will end up as a more costly solution in the long run if the footfall is multiplied by tens, hundreds or even thousands of daily patrons.


HEALTH AND SAFETY A lot of the health and safety measures involved come down to the contextual considerations of the space you're fitting.

Take restaurant kitchens for example. Not only do the floors need to be easy to clean, but you need to account for liquid and fat spills. You also need to make sure the flooring selected is non-slip.

In pool and spa facilities, you need to consider patrons will likely be barefoot and that the flooring will be wet. In this case, hygiene and non-slip options are a priority. Also, certain flooring types might not be able to handle chemicals like chlorine. All this plays into the health and safety considerations when choosing the best option.

After you've fitted the flooring, it's important that staff at the venue understand how to maintain it. This includes knowing what cleaning products are safe to use. The durability of the finish will largely depend on how well it's maintained.

TOP TIPS When fitting floors in a commercial setting, it is really important to understand the client's business. To be as efficient as possible, you'll need to understand them and their clientele.

Part of this efficiency can come down to the product you recommend. For example, with vinyl tiles it's a lot quicker to install the tiles with click-fitting. Ease of fitting should definitely play a role in considering which flooring to choose.

In terms of timings, fitting overnight typically causes the least inconvenience. But in the instance of bars, clubs and casinos, this isn't going to be the case, so you should never assume and always work with the client to find the most appropriate times.

The teams we use for commercial fittings also specialise in fitting in these environments. Due to their experience, they know the tools to use to create the least noise, especially when fitting in hotels where guests are sleeping.

From the client's side, it's helpful if you ask them to clear the area in advance. This means your team are putting their time where it’s best spent. It also means you're not responsible for any furniture that's moved.

If the project involves multiple areas, we always recommend tackling it in different phases. This means that you get each room or area completed to a high standard very quickly, with minimal disruption. This area is then able to be used, and other areas can follow, each in isolation.

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