WHO MAKES IT - Gerflor’s French staff were sick as parrots when London won the 2012 Olympics. But the UK office was over the moon – it had big plans to supply floors to the new arenas.
Gerflor is a manufacturer of PVC flooring based in Villeurbanne, France. The company has 2,000 staff worldwide and recorded turnover of *336m (£226.7m) in 2005. Contract marketing manager Hazel Cook, based in Warwick, explains how Gerflor sees the 2012 Olympics as an opportunity to supply its indoor sports flooring.
Which sectors do you work in?
Our contracts range from residential to high-spec work in the health, sports and leisure sectors. The retail sector is really busy at the moment. So is healthcare thanks to government funding. And we’re really looking forward to the 2012 Olympics.
What are your plans for the Olympics?
The 2012 Games are a big opportunity for us. Our French colleagues congratulated us through gritted teeth when London won, but they’re delighted because they will help us supply the products. As well as offering flooring that is suitable for the sports venues, we have products that could be specified for the housing in the Lea Valley.
What product would you recommend to specifiers working on sports venues?
The Taraflex brand is doing extremely well. It can be used indoors as a surface floor and has been specified for schemes such as Building Schools for the Future. It has been on the market for five years and we offer it with or without surface treatment, with a range of options. It is easy to clean and maintain.
We have developed Taraflex so that it meets the new European standard EN14904, which covers safe sport flooring. Under this standard, sports floors have to be strong, offer a cushioned point of impact for athletes and good elasticity.
Have other regulations had an impact on your products?
There haven’t been any new flooring regulations in the UK since Part E in July 2003, which covers acoustics in residential and public uses, such as hospitals. We are working on helping to make the corridors quiet at night and to reduce the sound level of beds rolling across the floor. For this, we have developed a range of high-density foam flooring called Brazilia, Forum, Jamaica and Metallica. These heavy-duty products can withstand both a moving weight and the static load.
What other innovations are you working on?
We have developed a surface treatment called Protecsol, which eliminates the need for polish and can be used with the heavy-duty, multilayered sheets. This is useful in environments where users need to have a good grip, but at the same time the flooring system must reduce the risk of frictions and burns.
In the retail sector, we work with specifiers who need a tile interlocking system to put on an existing sub-floor that is not perfectly even.
It’s particularly useful in retail outlets where you have very little time to install the system. The interlocking is invisible once in situ and the system saves the money of redoing the sub-floor.
For the retail sector we are also developing luxury vinyl tiles that are suitable for mezzanine floors. Specifiers want this space to look prestigious but they can’t specify ceramics – there is no real support because the floor is raised. We create attractive substitutes that have a similar look.
How does the company deal with the sustainability agenda?
The factory surface treatment of our products means faster installation and less cleaning, reducing the impact on the environment. Most of our products are recycled and we are increasing the amount of vinyl flooring that is recycled through our Vinyl 2010 scheme. The objective is to reduce the amount of waste from our four plants.
Are there other developments in the pipeline for Gerflor in 2007?
We are going to open a new plant this year and we will continue our programme of CPD, market research and focus groups to discuss ideas with specifiers.
What is the lead time for your products?
We don’t do many bespoke solutions. For the standard and safety products we have a lot of stock in the UK so we can quickly fulfil the needs of the specifiers. Of course, the more advanced notice the specifier gives us, the better.