Industrial Commercial Flooring

Industry stalwarts and flooring construction professionals hail Industrial and Commercial Flooring Conference organized by CII Southern Region

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Southern Region organized a two-day Technology Conference on Industrial and Commercial Flooring at Chennai Trade Centre, Nandambakkam, Chennai, from 26-28 Sept, 2016. This first ever conference on Industrial Flooring in south India, provided the much desired platform to construction professionals and all stakeholders to come together to exchange expert views, share market insights, evaluate the flooring sector, and discuss emerging technologies.

The theme 'Technology, Trends, and Innovation,' brought forth information on the latest technologies, new flooring materials, machinery, flooring maintenance, challenges, and solutions. A series of sessions included topics on Design and Standards, Engineering, Processes and Materials, Equipment and Automation, Quality Control/Quality Assurance and Performance Testing, Floor Finishes, Repairs, Rehabilitation and Upgradation, need for Standards and Regulations in the industry, Technological Advancements in other countries, Latest Cement, Concrete and Mixing Technologies, Mechanization of flooring, Floor Coatings and applications, Polishing and Hardening of concrete, Pavement Technologies and materials, Repair and Rejuvenation of existing floorings, Flooring Chemicals, and Green Technology. M V Satish, Chairman, National Conference on Industrial & Commercial Flooring & Senior Executive VP, Larsen & Toubro, were invited to welcome the audience on the first day and present the theme address. Mohan Ramanathan, MD, Advanced Construction Technologies, presented the 'Status of Indian Flooring'. A keynote address was also given by Dr C N Srinivasan, MD - C R Narayana Rao Consultants; A Sundaresan, Chairman, Schwing Stetter India; and Vivekanandan Margasahayam, co-Chairman - National Conference on Industrial & Commercial Flooring and VP - Flowcrete India (a co-sponsor to the event).

The flooring market represents a significant portion of India's construction industry with approximately 25 million sqm of flooring constructed per year. The size of the organised industrial and commercial flooring industry is estimated at around Rs.4,000 crore and expected to grow by 16-20% over the next decade.

The floor area is vitally important to the functionality and aesthetics of any building, and a strong, durable flooring is an essential part of any industrial/commercial structure. Over the years, the flooring industry has been shifting from conventional to engineered flooring systems that are more cost-effective, easily maintainable, aesthetically pleasing, and eco-friendly. New and innovative flooring technologies with stressed-out techniques has significantly driven the domestic flooring market in the past few years.

In the current scenario of ongoing infrastructure development, industrial flooring is witnessing rapid growth. Government initiatives, ease of doing business, Delhi-Mumbai corridor, FTWs, automation, etc, are the growth drivers. There is increasing demand for international quality flooring materials, standardization, and performance parameters, along with fast speed of construction, uniformity, longevity, and anti-skid properties.

Organised retail is also pushing demand. The entry of multinational companies is further compounding healthy competition as they bring in new techniques and raise the bar for high-end materials. There is increased focus on floor toppings and coatings, densification, coloured concrete, ceramics, etc, and interest in untapped areas such as flooring for car parking, which is still in the nascent stage of development.

The Indian industrial and commercial flooring Industry has moved beyond preconceived notions. The right flooring for any industry is about the requirements specific to it. There are various permutations and combinations and different floors for different departments within a single industry. Before devising a flooring solution, an expert will take into account movement of people/machinery, ambient environment, nature of activities within the building, etc. Educative sessions presented advantages and practicalities of state-of-the-art flooring solutions and advancements in materials, machines, and maintenance.

Mohan Ramanathan, MD, Advan- ced Construction Technologies, while presenting a theme paper on the Status of Indian Flooring (co-authored by Ajit Sabnis, President, ACCE), commented that there are no Indian codes for Industrial Floorings, hence, the industry continues to follow international good practices for slab on grade, floor level tolerances, namely Concrete Society TR 34, ACI 360r-10, 302, DIN 15185 and ASTME 1155.

Anand Sundaresan, Chairman, Schwing Stetter India, presented several case studies of different flooring types in various industries and their performance over the years when subjected to daily movement of trucks, trailers and heavy-duty equipment. He gave a realistic view supported by images of floorings that have survived over the years and of others that were damaged earlier than expected. He also suggested correct methods for surface preparation based on soil condition, excavation, filling, composting, drainage, strengthening, and curing of concrete, etc.

Vivekanandan Margasahayam, VP, Flowcrete India, during his presentation on stamped concrete systems and specialist resins said that the flooring industry is still fragmented with the second highest rate of litigation in the construction industry. Costs of specifying incorrectly are very high as within two years, 50% of installed floors are not performing as per their original expectations. Unfortunately, selection of materials is based on aesthetics, picking the cheapest, reusing the same again, with little attention paid to substrate and final traffic loading.

He added that poor surface preparation results in delamination and degradation of floor finishes due to chemical spillages, heavy equipment (high point loads), the laitance has not been removed during substrate penetration, or the substrate does not provide a sufficient key to bond the resin flooring. Selection of a resin flooring system should be based on type and degree of traffic, temperature exposure, nature and duration of chemical contact, wet or dry service conditions, slip resistance requirements, ease of cleaning, aesthetics, moisture content of the substrate, time schedule, and site conditions.

Flowcrete's Group Technical Director Grant Adamson gave insights on specialist resin flooring solutions and finishes that are designed to meet the demands of contemporary construction projects, and discussed Resin Floor Finishes such as Epoxy, Solvent-free PU, PU Concrete, and MMA along with their advantages and disadvantages, and hybrid systems.

According to Dr.C.N.Srinivasan, MD, C.R.Narayana Rao (Consul- tants) Pvt. Ltd., any dysfunction of flooring will have a direct impact on the unit that it serves, for instance, disruption of factory operation and movement, dust generation affecting quality of product, sudden undulation affecting safety of man, material and movement. Flooring assumes great importance due to its extensive and uninterrupted usage all the time by all the people. One expects cost-effective, zero maintenance, long lasting, user-friendly, visually acceptable, safe, and a 'fit and forget' type of solution.

He added that a floor means different things to different people: customers look for value for money and do not care much for techniques or technicalities. Designers look for CBR value, beam on elastic foundation, coefficient of sub-grade reaction, load distribution, acceptable deflection, settlement (both total and differential), tolerance, coefficient of thermal expansion, etc. Operators look for crack-free, level, firm and capable of normal overload and abuse. The maintenance team wants a dust-free, oil repellent, easy to maintain, long lasting and self-healing floor. General users want a floor that is visually acceptable, easy to tread, non-slippery, and free of undulations.

In his presentation on designing durable floors, Navneet Narayan, Technical Manager, NV Bekaert SA, said that any floor in an industrial environment must be able to meet the service and operational requirements of the end client, without any distress (cracking, settlements etc), and need for extensive maintenance in the design life, and a long problem-free service life. The floor is the most important part of an industrial structure because it carries more loads, undergoes wear and tear than any other element of the building, is difficult to repair once the industry is in operation, and the maintenance manager hardly gets time or permission to shut down operations to cure the floor.

He added that, generally, flooring execution is the last activity of industrial construction (due to delays in earlier activities). Operational efficiency of the facility solely depends on the quality of flooring. Now, the pace of construction has become rapid, expectations are high, time is short, and since space is limited, people are building taller. There is more importance given to the life cycle cost of a project. The user wants performance guarantees on specific parameters for flooring, and there is increased focus on green technologies. All these demands are pushing for the next generation of flooring solutions.

According to Janis Oslejs, CEO, Primekss Group, Latvia, jointless floors, which have proved to be very successful in Sweden, are finding demand in India. Jointless floor design means reduced amount of joints, joint spacing upto 50m, smaller maintenance fees, less injuries to workers, less loss of merchandise, more hygienic, less repairs for MHE, and less joints to maintain. When applied in regular warehouses, there is an increased speed of MHE, increased turnaround of the facility, and increased health and safety protection. In factories, there is also less probability of spillage of materials, and increased resistance to loads and heavy equipment.

Rajeeb Kumar, Zonal Head – Technical, (East & North Zone), UltraTech Cement Ltd, shared a technically informative presentation on concrete specifications, ready mix concrete, coarse aggregates, admixtures, control, testing and monitoring. He informed that the performance of concrete floor is dependent on achieving a hard and durable surface, which is relatively free from cracks and of proper grade and elevation. Present technology permits only a reduction in cracking and curling, not their elimination, and advised that project requirements should be reviewed thoroughly, prior to concrete mix proportions to minimize shrinkage. The contractor should prepare a sample placement to verify the workability, finishability and setting time of concrete. Every batch of concrete should have desired slump and setting characteristics, and suggested ready mix concrete for consistent quality and good workmanship for ensuring quality of concrete floors.

CII Industrial Commercial Flooring Conference
Approx 340 industry professionals attended the conference

Ajay Singam, Director, Avcon Technics, specifying the selection criteria and end usage of Screeds and Toppings, advised that hardners/toppings should be selected on Abrasion Classifications. Operating conditions should be considered while specifying. QA & QC procedure should be defined and quantifiable. All floor surfaces should be cured by membrane forming curing compound. For durability of floor, proper design, engineering, MOC and construction procedure must be followed. Screeds are more durable and can be installed rapidly for specific applications without the need for conventional IPS type floor or certain bases. Aesthetics are served both in Toppings and Screeds. Capital cost + Life Cycle cost (tangible) for color toppings is barely 25-35% of resin systems. They are ideal for engineering, auto, utility, commercial buildings, parking areas, etc.

Senthil Kumar V, Head - Business Development, Rockland India, gave a technical presentation on Joints in Floor Construction and discussed Armoured Joint Systems, Non-impact Joints and Future Trends, role of construction joints in taking stresses, etc, and the need to consider load transfer (flexion, burst), joint armouring (impact resistance), and accuracy.

Dr. Sunita K Nayar, Scientist, IIT - Madras, gave excerpts from the upcoming flooring design guideline ICU-TC on flooring. It would cover aspects such as soil types and treatments, flooring design, concrete, ancillary reinforcements, flatness, tolerance, finishes, maintenance, best practices, special floorings, case studies, definitions and other relevant information for the target users.

Sachin Surie, Founder, Surie Polex, shared information on floor preparation such as flattening, various steps in polishing of concrete floors, machines used for polishing such as planetary grinder, geared grinder, dual and single head grinders, dry grinding with metal bond diamond tools, grouting, dry honing with resin diamond pads, densification, stain protection, etc, and he laid stress on the urgent need for standardized tools across the industry.

Apurv Kesarkar, Business Development Manager, MC-Bauchemie (India), discussed Special Polyurethanes used in highly developed markets, and enumerated their advantages such as elasticity, chemical, resistance, versatility (coatings, injections, waterproofing joints), and disadvantages such as sensitivity to moisture, and not always resistant to yellowing. He discussed their flooring application methods in areas exposed to bad weather conditions such as ramps, parking lots, footpaths, open decks, balconies, airport hangars, and part water submerged areas.

Matthew Bennett, VP, Somero India, throwing light on Laser Screed systems, said that more and more distribution companies are striving for higher levels of efficiency, increased throughput, automation and cost control. For them, the concrete floor is the most important component of a modern warehouse; it is the 'table top' on which they operate their business 24x7. It is well documented that reducing the number of joints in a floor will have a major positive impact on the operational efficiencies of a distribution warehouse as well as maintenance costs of materials handling equipment and the floor itself. The industry confirms that it is a mistake to be driven purely by initial floor construction costs as this will be at the expense of future functionality.

V.S. Hardikar, Director, Aquarius Technologies, while discussing conventional floor Screeding & Finishing Equipment, shared a presentation on vacuum dewatering system, screed vibrators, modular screed, magic screed, finishing tools, topping spreader, walk behind and edging trowels, and ride on trowels. In his view, the 4 Ms crucial to flooring are material, manpower, method, machines, and all have to come together to generate the 5th M, that is, money.

L. S. Kannan, Head Concrete Management Department, Buildings & Factories IC, L&T Construction, laid emphasis on quality control for floor concrete making and manufacturing, design, exposure conditions, material selection criteria, sub-grade/sub-base preparation, execution, Indian standards and various codes for flooring, acceptable norms and good practices.

Muralidhar. V, Director, Mono- floor India, presented International Standards for Surface Regularity – Test & Compliance, and said that India does not have a third party inspection to certify that a flooring has been made as per specifications, and stressed on the importance of measuring flatness, surveys, etc. He said that never before has the selection and implementation of the most suitable surface regularity specification been more critical than in today's production, storing and distribution facilities. It is common to find over-specified floors that are not suited for clients' specific performance requirements, which require more time, resources and money to achieve. In an environment where the Materials Handling Equipment (MHE) operates without suspension systems, the warehouse floor is the all-important surface that affects speed, efficiency, maintenance needs, and often the safety and movement of the distribution centre operatives and their manually or automatically operated hardware.

Ashok Kate, MD, Apurva India, discussed the performance parameters of resin flooring depending on well executed concrete floors. Today, there are higher expectations and higher costs involved. He shared information on types of resin flooring (defined by application and coating) and suggested that before designing one must collect relevant data, structural details, concrete details, joint details, functional need, and budgets. Right product and installer selection would contribute 50% to the overall success of the flooring, and the right substrate preparation the rest 50%, so one must have a QC and execution check list. Decorative flooring is an emerging flooring especially in commercial areas such as gyms, hotel lobbies, shopping floors, etc. Other trends are soft floors, electrostatic floors, and car parking floors.

J.S. Bhalla, Managing Director, JBA, elaborated on the issues with concrete, emergence of the original densifier, sealing, dust proofing, hardening, abrasion resistance, and maintenance of polished concrete floors. According to him, not all chemical densifiers provide the same performance characteristics, nor do their certified applicators provide the same experience and professionalism. Not all manufacturers have specific cleaning and conditioning products for their polished floors. Nor are all warranties equal, and suggested going for proven longevity of manufacturer, product, applicator, performance, warranty from manufacturer and applicator, and LEED certified/sustainable material.

Sanjay Tekale, MD, STA Concrete Flooring Solutions, threw light on the possible cause of concrete floor failure, and its remedies. Failures include cracking, grazing of surface, curling of joints, delamination of surface, spalling of joints and low abrasion resistance. Cracks occur due to point loads and concrete must be allowed to gain strength.

M.S.Prashanth,Technical Manager – Floorings, Sika India, discussed floor expansion joints as the solution for the future for flooring problems that include defective steel profiles, loose joints, broken edges, loss of water tightness, damage to wheel bearings (forklifts, pallet trucks, etc), vibrations and noise while trafficking, and resultant consequences such as costs for floor joint maintenance, costs for forklift maintenance, impact to forklift driver health, and cost for long down times when standard systems are used for refurbishment.

T Ashokan, MD. Civitech India, in his presentation on innovative and types of commercial flooring such as glass inlay, cementitious terrazzo, pigmented and polished floor systems, and finishes, discussed hybrid technology, 3-D floorings, exposed aggregate technology for car parking and other commercial flooring, pervious concrete flooring, olour dyes on top of cured concrete, densification, grinding, polishing, pressure washing chemical surface restarter, and other solutions.

Dr. Prashant Samant, VP-Technology, Aditya Birla Chemicals, discussed surface preparations, epoxy floor coating systems, self levelling floor coating, Blush-resistant floor coating, and the company's Epotec floor coating system. He informed that concrete floors are a significant investment for any construction industry, but are often most neglected and undergo mechanical abuse, chemical spillage, etc, that lead to weakening of the reinforcement and concrete surface. There is now wider acceptance of floor coatings such as epoxy that provide excellent mechanical properties, tough and hard wearing, and long lasting protection to concrete surfaces.

Sergei L. Sorokin, Export Area Manager, HTC Sweden AB, informed the audience of the company's 25 years of innovation in the field of Polished Concrete, and their contribution in setting industry standards all over the world, use of high-tech professional equipment, tools and methods and expert know-how in outstanding floor solutions to manufacturing facilities, warehouses and logistic hubs, malls, hotels, offices, parking areas, exhibitions, sport centers, airports, hospitals, schools, museums, etc.

In his presentation on Floor Finish Failure – Causes & Remedies, Tanveer Mistry, Product Manager, Flooring Solutions, BASF India, said that a floor finish must be selected based on parameters such as performance requirements that include mechanical exposure, chemical exposure and thermal shock, while functional requirements are slip resistance, conductive flooring, and moisture insensitive. Considerations such as cure time, low VOC / non-tainting, food grade / hygienic, ease of refurbishment / service life expectation and cost of production in case of floor repair/refurbishment are also necessary. He discussed issues resulting from wrong product selection, substrate problems, along with installation, protection and maintenance.

CII Industrial Commercial Flooring Conference
Over 100 visitors thronged the 33 stalls showcasing new products and technologies

Elaborating on Joint Repairs, Patch Repairs and Refurbishment with small downtime, H.E.Sriprakash Shastry, Partner, Aswathanarayana & Eswara, said that the most common surface defects and problems faced on industrial floors are structural defects such as joint spalling, structural cracking and non structural defects such as delamination of surface mortar, warping or curling, discoloration, grazing cracks due to plastic shrinkage and pop-outs. He suggested evaluation of deficiency to determine cause of distress, assessment of damaged areas, and identifying if entire floor needs repairs or only certain damaged patches. Some clients don't like to see patchwork over their entire floor as it may not look aesthetically pleasing. Assess the time available for repairs, especially if it's an existing facility where time will be limited to carry out repairs, and where the concrete mix will have to be adjusted to achieve the design strength in 3 to 7 days instead of the usual 28 days. He also elaborated on part and full depth repair methods, structural repair toppings, and unbounded toppings.

Sanjay Das, National Product Manager, Lafarge, shared information on the company's Artevia brand in external application areas such as driveways and car parks in malls, hotels, hospitals and institutions. These areas need heavy point load bearing capacity, maximum durability, high abrasion resistance, aesthetics, color stability, impact strength, fatigue resistance, flatness, skid resistance, moisture resistance and low maintenance. Parking and driveways in industrial buildings face common floor problems such as breakage, undulations, alignment issues, accidents and injuries, color fading, floor settlement, and slippery floor, with recurring cost for replacement / repairing after few years.

Shreekant Somany, Chairman & MD, Somany Ceramics, spoke on the basics of industrial and commercial flooring and its evolution from conventional flooring, emerging trends, right selection of material for every commercial project type, and the company's 45 years of leadership in design and innovation. While industrial floors need to be high on durability and load bearing capacity, commercial flooring application is determined by high footfall and resultant wear and tear. He informed that conventional floor was high grade M30 grade concrete in situ (cast at site) which was a concrete admixture containing accelerators, chips and super plasticizers for high strength. It later graduated to epoxy floors for industrial application, which provided the advantage of instant setting and instant use of the floor. Then came mosaic floors which are precast tile and are a great trend even today.

In organising the conference, CII considered the current market demands that are impacting the flooring industry to bring together industry professionals from various flooring divisions and areas of expertise. Around 340 attendees included academicians, architects, consultants, engineers, project managers, contractors, flooring material manufacturers, software developers and other personnel from industries such as steel, cement, power, sugar, ready mix concrete, construction chemicals, pavement blocks, testing/measuring equipment, concrete flooring machines, material handling, construction, logistics, and other core sector industries.

Also present were project developers CPWD/PWD/ local government bodies, developers of large infrastructure projects like airports, ports, commercial complexes, SEZs, Cement Manufacturers Association, Ready Mix Concrete Manufacturers Association, American Society for Civil Engineers, Indian Concrete Institute, Chemical Manufacturers Association, Indian Institute of Architects, Association of Consulting Civil Engineers (India), Construction Federation of India, Council of Architects, India Council of Ceramic Tiles & Sanitaryware.

Report by Media Partner NBM Media, New Delhi
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