Specifier Review
Altro floors and walls

Altro floors and walls help create BREEAM ‘outstanding’ Co-op headquarters

Altro floors and walls have been installed in the Co-operative Group’s new £100m beehive-inspired headquarters in Manchester, helping to create one of the most innovative and sustainable buildings in Europe.

Designed by architect 3D Reid and built by BAM Construction, the structure uses a range of energy-efficient features, ranging from a trio of giant earth tubes to a ventilated double-skin glass façade. These have helped the new Co-op building achieve the highest BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ score of any UK office.

The internal layout of the 16-storey, 325,000 sq ft building allows flexible use of the space and state-of-the-art technology. An integrated energy system promotes renewable energy. CHP units can run on pure plant oil harvested and refined from Co-operative farms. A sustainable drainage system stores and recycles water as needed.

Altro flooring and walling products can contribute towards a BREEAM assessment via the materials category, with many achieving the top A+ rating. All Altro safety flooring is 100% recyclable pre-installation, with some being 100% recyclable post-use. Altro safety flooring contains post-consumer waste as an integral raw material.

The Co-op appointed Prime Design Shopfitters to specify floors and walls for the building’s new kitchens, and they recommended Altro products. Design consultant Jon Vann said: “We know and trust Altro products and recommend them for 98% of our projects. The quality is second to none and the service is always spot on.

“For the kitchen floors throughout the building I specified Altro StrongholdTM 30 heavy duty safety flooring. The kitchens could see a lot of water underfoot, and this flooring offers superb slip resistance and long-term tolerance in those conditions.”

Altro floors and walls

It was also specified for general store areas within the building, providing a safe, durable surface. Altro Stronghold 30 is a 3mm-thick flooring designed for safety in wet and greasy conditions where frequent spillage is likely. Ideal for commercial kitchens, it boasts Altro’s highest rating for slip resistance. It minimises slip resistance in areas of heavy traffic and offers long-term durability and ease of cleaning.

The 3mm thickness helps noise reduction and provides comfort and strength underfoot. It also contains a bacteriostat to inhibit the growth of bacteria, contributing to hygiene standards and reducing the risk of cross-infection.

John Vann added: “For the kitchen walls, we had no hesitation in specifying Altro WhiterockTM wall cladding. This is a very popular and affordable surface that is easy to clean and low maintenance; plus it looks good too.”

Altro Whiterock is a cost-effective sheet extruded from a high quality, food safe PVCu polymer for operating temperatures up to 60o. It is easy to clean, impact resistant and grout-free. It meets all current EU Directives on health and hygiene.

The Altro Whiterock wall cladding was installed by MGD Specialist Interior Finishes. Sales and Contracts Manager Justin Dorling explains how the project panned out. “This was a great job to be involved with – what an impressive building! We installed Altro Whiterock in kitchens on three floors, with a team of around six installers. We put up 750m2 of product – that’s about 250 panels, so it was quite a sizeable contract.

“Some of the kitchens in the building are used for wine and food tasting, so it was very interesting to work in those areas. The project went very well; we have worked with BAM many times before, so they knew just what to do to prepare the walls for us.

“Altro Whiterock is also great to work with. It’s a superior product. I’ve seen many others come and go on the market, but this is without doubt the best in hygienic wall claddings. Altro’s service and back-up are also hard to beat.”

John Abbott Flooring installed the Altro Stronghold 30 in general stores, kitchens and tea areas across all floors, laying down 537m2 overall. Steve Evans, Quantity Surveyor at the company, said: “This is one of the most prestigious buildings in Manchester, so it was a very exiting project for us. In our 20 years of working with Altro we have done many projects of this size, so we are used to working on this scale.

“We had a team of 11 installers working over five months. It was pretty straightforward because the product is very easy to use and Altro’s support on the job helped it run smoothly.”

Kathryn Mitchell, Design Manager at the Co-op, commented: “Altro products are renowned for their quality and safety properties, overall performance and sustainability credentials, so we were delighted that they were specified for our new headquarters. The end result is superb. The floors and walls look really impressive and they are proving easy to clean and maintain.”

Altro’s commitment to sustainable manufacturing was recognised with the Arup Award for Sustainable Manufacturing at the 2012 Manufacturing Excellence Awards. Altro is one of two founder members of Recofloor – the vinyl flooring industry’s take back scheme for post-use vinyl – which launched in September 2009. As the first manufacturer capable of recycling safety flooring in-house, Altro collects and recycles all the safety flooring on behalf of Recofloor, irrespective of manufacturer.