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Stepping into the worldof weddings

DESIGNER Contracts stepped into the glamorous world of weddings when it was awarded the flooring contract for a prestigious wedding venue situated in the beautiful South Downs National Park in Sussex.

Award-winning Alfriston Gardens was part of one of the longest and most ambitious construction projects so far for Star Construction and Maintenance, who undertook the overall scope-of-works for the redevelopment of this luxury wedding and events venue, with doors finally opening in September 2023.

The developers were faced with a whole host of challenges on the £5m project which included planning conditions and environmental considerations and working closely alongside the environment agency during the whole process to ensure the preservation of newts and bats.

Comprising a mix of historical and contemporary buildings, the Alfriston Gardens complex incorporates a boutique hotel, shepherds huts and a barn.

Designer Contracts was asked to supply and install suitable flooring to the Century Barn which, with its dining room, viewing gallery, stairs and landing covers a total of 276sq m and can accommodate 155 guests.

Designer Contracts commercial manager, Christine Lock and her team considered the style and shade of flooring needed to be in keeping with the heritage surroundings, oak beams and vaulted ceilings, but also have the non-negotiable practical and safety aspects required in such a high-traffic, high-energy venue.

Says Designer Contracts: ‘As such V4’s engineered wood in Oak Rustic brushed and matt lacquered finish was selected and installed throughout. Featuring a 3-ply engineered hardboard with tongue and groove profile for a traditional appearance, the rustic oak surface is lightly brushed to remove the soft grain, resulting in a hard-wearing, tactile hard surface.

‘It’s then finished in six coats of aluminium oxide matt lacquer which protects the top layer, maintains the natural oak tone, resulting in a floor that is easy-to-maintain and resistant to wear-and-tear, and scratches.

‘It’s also easy-to-clean and suitable for use with underfloor heating. In addition to the many aesthetic and practical benefits, it features a number of environmental factors, particularly important for the Alfriston Gardens install with the various sustainability considerations in place during the front-end construction works.’

The company continues: ‘It’s fully recyclable and compliant with the UKTR (UK Timber Regulations), is certified PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) which is dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).

‘Naturally low in VOC emissions and PVC-free, the Oak Rustic brushed choice of engineered wood has been redesigned to allow an increase of yield from a tree by 20%.’

Liam Love, Designer Contract’s senior contracts manager said: ‘Alfriston Gardens was a really special project to be part of although the installation process was not without its own challenges: the damp readings were off the scale within the barn, and there was no heating at this point which extended the drying out process.

In order for the finished product to be perfect, the team initially dried out the ground works ahead of installing layered latex to the subfloor allowing them to fit the engineered wood flooring. This extended things slightly, but the result looked fabulous!’

Said a spokesman for the main contractor, Star Construction and Maintenance: ‘It is thanks to the commitment and perseverance of suppliers such as Designer Contracts that we were able to complete this development to a high standard and in good time given the challenges we faced.’

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