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THE IMPORTANCE OF FLOOR COVERINGS

floor coveringIn healthcare establishments, soft floor coverings and ceramic tiles can legitimately be prescribed by the main contractor.

More than any other type of building, hospitals must provide a healthy, clean and sustainable environment. Flooring plays a major role in this area. They must meet the specific requirements of these establishments: resistance to impact, wear (frequent passage of rolling stock), punching, chemicals, frequent and sometimes specific maintenance operations, etc. There are additional requirements for the safety of persons in the case of establishments open to the public. So, how to approach the “problem” of flooring for a care facility?

FOUR TYPES OF ZONES

Whatever the destination of the hospital premises, a perfect match between the designer and the client is necessary. The question of soil will, of course, be approached differently if it concerns clean rooms or basement storage areas, for example. There are four main areas, each of which must be specifically addressed.

First, areas dedicated to traffic and common areas (corridors, stairs, waiting rooms, external consultations …). Characterized by a strong passage, they require above all a resistant soil, easy to maintain and which simplifies the movement of heavy loads. Let us add those aesthetics implemented in these “common areas and circulations” also plays an important role: these areas often serve as “showcases” for the establishment.

For their part, the “hotel” areas include room services, rooms, living rooms, health posts and wet rooms such as showers. In these places too, the atmosphere must be reassuring. Hygiene is essential. Non-slip and waterproof in wet rooms, the floor must allow barefoot travel.

The technical zones include the emergency rooms, with their decoy room, or the operating and obstetrical ward, with the operating theaters and patient preparation rooms. Concerning the soil, the requirements mainly concern the prevention of infectious risks, maintenance and stain resistance. It must also facilitate renovation, be either very resistant, especially heavy loads, or easy to replace.

Finally, in the administrative and logistic areas, there are the storage rooms for the products, the pharmacy, but also the general services and the catering areas. Soil must be a vector of resistance (storage), especially punching, because of the often large quantities of stocks.

The question of UPEC rankings (1) is at the heart of the prescription of soils in healthcare institutions. The coverings must correspond to the UPEC classification of the premises according to the nomenclature applicable since 31 January 2005.

SOFT FLOORS AND TILES

Regardless of the room in the hospital, a flexible floor covering must at least have a classification equal to or higher than the classification U3 P3 E2 C2. Higher classifications are required for some health rooms: the floorings in the central pharmacy, for example, must be U4 P4s E3 C2. In the operating room, the ranking is U4 P3 E3 C3. In these rooms, the laying of a strip under PVC is mandatory, to avoid any continuity of static electricity. In addition, hygiene requirements often lead contractors to prescribe coatings with protective polyurethane films on the surface or having been treated with Sanitized® (antibacterial) or Top Clean treatment, in order to optimize maintenance.

Ceramic coatings also provide an appropriate response to the requirements of medical institutions. They are able to meet the expectations of durability in the face of numerous wheelhouses. Ceramic tiles withstand chemical attack, solvents, detergents, etc. In terms of hygiene, it should be noted that 98% of a tiled surface consists of ceramic tiles, which have the characteristic of being biologically neutral, non-porous and rot-proof. The remaining 2% concerns the joints between the tiles. A study by the Pasteur Institute of Lille proves the ease of disinfection of these joints. It shows in particular that after using a bactericidal disinfectant detergent, the joints do not retain the bacteria.

Concerning safety, and especially slipperiness, it is important to remember that non-skid coatings are now subject to XP P 05-011 (2) relative to the classification of premises according to their resistance to slipperiness. As a rule, the company must ensure the implementation of the products in accordance with the rules of the profession, in this case, those defined in the NF DTU 52-1 and NF DTU 53-2 standards governing the implementation in the traditional new work. It will have to pay special attention to products under technical advice, which is the case for most of them

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