Altro and Hewlett Packard campus

A 30-YEAR-OLD building, previously part of the Hewlett Packard campus in Bristol, was selected for renovation to become the University of the West of England (UWE) Future Space.

The building is to be used by research and development project teams to nurture start-up companies working in the fields of robotics and smart-controlled machinery and vehicles.

The project was awarded to BAM Construction to complete.

The timelines for the project were tight, but an added complication was half the building would continue to be occupied by the staff of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory. This meant noise, dust, vibration and odours had to be minimised.

Lucie Phillips, at WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff architects said: ‘We felt, as designers, that a standard resin or vinyl floor finish would look bland in such a large space so we started to explore the options of using a feature resin and we’re exceptionally happy with the results of the final product.’

Altro resin flooring was chosen to provide aesthetic interest and Altro Screed 4mm standard variant was specified. The design architects selected this finish with a Pendulum Test Value of ≥50, for areas potentially exposed to spillages such as the coffee-area and circulation-hub, plus the main access route from the entrance to the hub.

The renovation of an old building into a home for such hi-tech industries demanded a significant transformation.

Large new sky-lights flooded the central circulation hub with natural daylight, which in turn greatly increased UV light illuminating the light-coloured quartz floor, so Altro and WSP Parsons Brinkerhoff enhanced colour stability by changing the standard Altro Screed system to include clear UV-stable seal coats.

Within the rentable workshops a durable, easy clean finish was required with the ability to withstand the demands imposed by various as-yet unknown machinery and equipment and Altrotect high-build epoxy coating was specified.

The storage and possible spillage of liquid nitrogen within another area presented the specifier with a difficult choice for the floor finish.

Little or nothing would withstand the attack of liquid nitrogen if it was accidentally spilled. Polydeck worked with Altro to provide a solution with the best resistance available and Altro Crete 6mm slip-resistant variant was used.

Polydeck Resins were selected to install the floors but the project still faced several challenges, some of which weren’t anticipated. Polydeck was able to provide ongoing specification guidance to improve the resultant finishes and problem-solving assistance with programming before and during the installation in order to help to bring the project to completion by the required date.

In the laboratory workshops, uplift of old vinyl flooring revealed numerous construction, movement and day-work joints with small bays, which would present unsightly, poorly-distributed interruptions within the floors of the robotics workshops. One bay had also fractured and this spanned two workshops.

Polydeck identified this during corrective grinding to remove irregularities in the floor surface before commencement and recommended Altro Flexiflow 2mm classic standard variant.
Altro Flexiflow is said to be a polyurethane resin that can handle impact but is flexible enough to withstand building movement.

Keeping the cost-uplift minimised allowed the contract parties to span the joints and fractures, achieving what is reportedly a truly seamless finish in the workshops and adjacent corridors.
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