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How can large-scale commercial and industrial facilities ensure that the floor underfoot will provide the necessary properties for decades to come? Flowcrete discusses.

Installing floors that only do the trick for a short period of time might be initially more cost effective, but it will subject the business to years of expensive repairs and refurbishments. This is especially true in demanding market sectors such as the food and beverage industry, where a floor failure could not only make the site unsightly and slow down the movement of staff – but it could make the business fail to meet legislative requirements on hygiene and sanitation.

These demands have made polyurethanes a popular choice among contamination sensitive market sectors, as this type of flooring material is able to retain a finish that meets the strictest standards of hygiene for an extended period of time.

In fact, when you take a 15-year view of flooring, the longevity of polyurethane makes it one of the cheapest materials available. For example, on average a 1,000 sq. ft. polyurethane plant floor will cost approximately £8,500 over 15 years, whereas epoxies are typically £9-10,000, carpet comes in at £15,000 while vinyl flooring and linoleum can cost in excess of £19,000.

Polyurethanes are available that have been HACCP International certified, which proves that they will help to facilitate a clean and effective production environment for the long term.

Putting in place an effective Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) food safety management plan has become a central priority for any facility involved in the production, processing or storage of food and beverage produce.

This preventive risk assessment system ensures that all food safety hazards are assessed and that appropriate controls are put in place to eliminate or reduce contamination.

National and European food and beverage legislation stresses the importance of implementing due diligence procedures, many of which rely on HACCP’s advisory framework for facility design and construction. For example, the Food Safety & Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 reiterates Article 5 (1) of Regulation 852/2004 of the European Parliament, which


states that “food business operators put in place, implement and maintain a permanent procedure or procedures based on the HACCP principles”.

Getting the floor area right is a critical part of implementing a HACCP plan, as otherwise this part of the facility can present a variety of challenging health and safety

concerns - especially for large-scale industrial facilities where slip risks, contamination threats and potentially dangerous working practices all need to be carefully accounted for.

The HACCP International certification programme highlights the importance of seamless and impervious flooring, as seams, joints, grout lines and gaps can become breeding sites for bacteria, fungi, mould and mildew. Making sure that the floor provides a seamless surface will help the cleaning regime quickly wash unwanted substances out of the area.

Should an inadequate floor be installed and it becomes cracked and porous then it will become a prime environment for microbes, dust and mould to thrive – turning the finish into an unsightly, unsanitary and unsafe surface

General conditions within the food and beverage industry can easily affect an insufficiently robust finish. The floor could be subjected to impacts, thermal shock, point loading, heavy foot traffic and exposure to corrosive by-products such as fats, hot oils, blood, sugar solutions and natural food acids. Additionally, these substances can infiltrate the concrete material resulting in microbial growth and the spread of bacteria, which will in turn degrade not only the production environment but may contaminate the products themselves.

Understanding the demands that will be placed on the floor over an extended period of time is essential to identifying a floor finish that will be up to the task at hand. This process can be significantly aided by knowing the accreditations, such as HACCP International, that exists to validate the ability of building materials to provide the critical functionalities that will be required not just today but ten years after installation.

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