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Wed 25 Feb 2009 04:00 AM

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Walk of life

Andrew Gwyther, managing director of specialist flooring firm, Flowcrete Middle East, explains how airports must make purchasing decisions that will stand the test of time.

Andrew Gwyther, managing director of specialist flooring firm, Flowcrete Middle East, explains how airports must make purchasing decisions that will stand the test of time.Flowcrete's products were used in the new Terminal 3 at Dubai International. What was the brief given to you by the airport's engineers?

That's correct. Flowcrete provided flooring in several areas of Dubai's Terminal 3. For the car park, engineering and design firm, Dar Al-Handasah (Shair & Partners) wanted an upmarket look, but equally wanted to ensure protection and longevity of the building structure from the kind of damage typically encountered in multi-storey facilities.

How did you decide on a flooring finish that was appropriate to each specific area of the new airport terminal?

With regards to the car park, left uncoated, the substrate concrete of the car park would be worn smooth by the constant traffic flow, creating a skid hazard. This is often exaggerated by the presence of water or airborne particles and attack from engine coolant, battery acid, AC fluid, diesel, petrol and oil.

What was the solution?

A fully trafficable, polyurethane resin, deck coating system was therefore specified for the entire car park area, as well as several other high traffic areas within the Terminal 3 and Concourse 2 buildings. A total of 366,000m2 of the flexible, waterproof wearing Deckshield has been installed, of which 110,000m2 was installed on all five levels of the new multi-storey car park, including the exposed top deck.

How long does it take to apply this type of floor coat?

In order to provide a quick-drying, hard-wearing substrate for the deck coating, the entire car park area was first installed with a semi-dry cementitious screed. The reduced water content of these screeds provides added strength and durability.

Conventional screeds such as sand/cement often crack, curl and debond, leading to failure of the final deck coating. These cementitious screeds eliminate those problems. Curing times can be as little as two to four hours, as compared to seven days for other screeds.

Drying times are also significantly faster, with cementitious screeds requiring only 24 hours per 10mm thickness (depending on ambient temperature), while sand/cement can take up to 11 weeks. Some 40,000m2 of the same screed system was also installed beneath the external tiles at the passenger setdown area at the departures hall.

What further demands were made by the engineers and designers?

In the kitchen facilities of the DCA and VIP Lounges, durability and ease of cleaning were two of the main criteria for the flooring finishes. Here Flowcrete provided its Flowfresh system, a seamless, polyurethane resin floor with integral anti-microbial agent for protection against bacteria.

How have flooring trends changed over the years?

Over the last three years, we have noticed a significant swing away from tiled floors to seamless systems in aggressive kitchen environments. Our track record of installations at Le Meridien Hotels in Dubai, Jumeirah Group and DIFC kitchens helped demonstrate the performance properties of the system.

"For the car park, engineering and design firm, Dar Al Handasah (Shair + Partners) wanted an upmarket look, but equally wanted to ensure protection and longevity of the building structure"

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