Defining and developing a specific segment within the tiling market is James Reed’s outstanding achievement during his career.
It was 1986 when he joined the family business, tile importer and distributor Reed Harris, originally set up by his grandfather in 1925 and inherited by James’ father in 1946. Eight years later, he and business partner Nigel Brimacombe took over management of the business.
The company’s niche is, and always has been, at the premium end of the market, dealing in porcelain, ceramics, natural stone and mosaics. The quality of the product range, combined with the company’s commitment to partner closely with contractors, architects, interior designers and retail clients, has led to Reed Harris’ products appearing on some highly prestigious projects – many of them in London, where the company is based, but also in diverse parts of the country where clients are willing to invest in high end tiling work. A recent project for Reed Harris has been on the restoration of Lews Castle in Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides.
Other exciting projects have included Watches of Switzerland for their new flagship store on Regent Street, Selfridges in Wigmore Street and 40 Strand, Central London.
James doesn’t see increasing specialisation at the premium end of the market as a risky strategy, but conversely as the best way to capitalise on a market opportunity. The company has found that this sector is relatively recession-proof and that there are customers out there who are willing to pay a premium price for a premium product.
In fact a recent development has been the use of water jet cutting to create bespoke designs. Clearly this kind of work has a price tag attached to it, but James feels it is important, both in terms of maintaining the premium USP for the business and also meeting the needs of his highly discerning customer base.
In recent years the company has strengthened its presence in the capital and now has two London showrooms, one aimed at architects and specifiers and one for retail customers. It also has a further showroom and warehouse in Reading.
For the future James is looking to grow further the architectural and design side of the business. He believes that capitalising on the design element is the great opportunity that exists with tiles, and that in the future this could be promoted through smaller high street design studios.
It is this kind of thinking about the future of the tiling sector – where it is going, how it can develop, how the industry can become more prosperous – which makes James a worthy recipient of the Outstanding Contribution Award for 2017. He and his business are ambassadors for excellence and integrity within the tiling industry.
EXCELLENCE IN MARKETING
INSTARMAC GROUP PLC
Instarmac is a multi award-winning market leading company. A specialist in the manufacture of cement and bitumen based products to the world market for nearly 40 years. The company has built a solid reputation based on the research, development and production of innovative materials. Today, products are produced in a modern, automated facility and are sold under six brand names: UltraCrete, UltraScape, UltraTile, UltraFloor, Wondertex and Granfix.
The new Instarmac website was launched in January 2016. It was developed using the latest online technology and was designed with the needs of customers in mind. It boasts many improvements and new features including a dedicated homepage for each brand. Each of these feature common sense product categories allowing visitors to find what they need easily and quickly.
Visitors to the website also benefit from the improved product pages which have been designed so that information can be found quickly – essential when contractors are on-site and need details instantly. Every product includes an enhanced product calculator, related products and a download area where visitors can view and download technical and safety datasheets, brochures and application videos.
In September 2016 the Instarmac product planner app was launched to complement the website, offering an off-line solution for instant on-site product queries.
Both UltraTile and Granfix have dedicated product pages allowing the user to find information easily and quickly.
Each product has its own enhanced product calculator, technical and safety datasheets.
SAINT-GOBAIN WEBER – weberfix pro lite
Weberfix pro lite is a wall tile adhesive that is smart and sophisticated with high performance characteristics that set a benchmark in technical performance. It comprises a ready-mixed acrylic wall tile adhesive, suitable for fixing all ceramic and small porcelain tiles. Weberfix pro lite is designed for interior use and its inherent flexibility helps to absorb limited movement and vibration. This is vital in eliminating the effect of any expansion or contraction in the substrate ensuring performance and continued aesthetic attributes.
Designed with lightweight materials, Weberfix pro lite enables extra coverage without increasing the load and is supplied in pails weighing just 13kg but which still yield an impressive 10L.
Weberfix pro lite offers increased water resistance for intermittently wet conditions making it the ideal solution for domestic and commercial showers, wet rooms, kitchens and bathrooms, although it is equally suitable to dry conditions making it dual-purpose. In heavy wet areas, a cement-based adhesive is recommended.
Weberfix pro lite adhesive meets the D2 TE Classification for improved dispersion and reduced slip and has very high initial grab attributes. Its easy-to-use formulation allows quick and easy application with an extended open time of up to 30 minutes after spreading.
Additionally, no priming is required and it is ready for grout in 24 hours. Weberfix pro lite is packaged to stand out from the crowd, to be innovative and to create brand recognition and preference. On-package technical information is reduced with straight-to-the point benefits and instructions for use, with communication that goes beyond the product itself, presenting new functions that add value for the customer.
BEST ANCILLARY PRODUCT
FILA – FILANO RUST
Rust is one of the most difficult stains to remove from stone and granite, as well as one of the most unsightly. Stains can be caused by a variety of things, including metal furniture on limestone flagstones, accessories on ceramic tiles or marble countertops in the bathroom, and cast iron skillets on a granite kitchen work surface. A stubborn stain or damage caused by unsuccessful removal often leads to expensive replacement of a whole surface, especially in the case of a seamless countertop – but this need not be the case.
FILANO RUST is specifically designed to safely remove old and new rust stains from stone, marble, granite, agglomerates, porcelain and ceramic, terracotta and concrete. It has a non-acid formula, which makes it particularly suitable for delicate surfaces, including polished marble and acid-sensitive limestone. The treatment was launched in the UK at the Surface Design Show 2016.
The solution has a pH-neutral consistency of 7.5 and a highly viscous ‘gel-like’ formulation, which optimises its performance and avoids wastage. It can be applied onto horizontal as well as vertical surfaces – indoors and outside – where it ‘stays put’ and acts directly on the stain, rather than running off.
After 15 minutes’ contact time, FILANO RUST turns from a clear colour to deep purple, which indicates a reaction with the rust. Excess product is then wiped off and the surface rinsed with clean water. If stains are stubborn, the procedure can be repeated if necessary.
FILANO RUST is available in 75 ml units and is safe to use in domestic home and contract environments.
HIGHLY COMMENDED IN BEST E-COMMERCE WEBSITE/APP
HOUSE OF MOSAICS – www.houseofmosaics.co.uk
House of Mosaics is an online boutique, specialising in innovative and inspirational mosaic tiles. The company is passionate about providing its customers with the best selection of stylish mosaic tiles, of the utmost quality, at the most reasonable prices.
It aims to keep on top of the latest trends in tiling, as well as interior design and decoration, to encourage co-ordination of the look of a kitchen or bathroom with the rest of the house. The company aims for a product range which is contemporary and stylish.
Therefore it only stocks the latest on-trend tile designs…and with over 100 designs to choose from, there should be a style to complement any customer need.
The ‘Inspire Me’ section of the website offers customers ideas on how to use mosaics, a style guide, trend spy, personal stylist service, and a blog with interesting and up to date articles.
Also within this section is the tile design studio, which helps to see the end vision, and will help narrow down the selection process, creating a personalised and bespoke look.
The company views the creative and design element of mosaic tiles as very important, but also aims to back up the product selection with great customer service. It has a dedicated team, working around the clock to ensure that the customer experience from the start, in terms of samples and ordering, right through to the finish and after sales service, is first class, exceeding expectations.
BEST E-COMMERCE WEBSITE/APP
TILE MOUNTAIN – www.tilemountain.co.uk
Tile Mountain is one of the e-commerce pioneers of the tiling sector. The company has based its success on sales via the internet and it is today almost exclusively an online retailer.
Since its founding the company has had a core philosophy to use the power of the internet to make available the widest range of high quality tiles to its customers. Early on the company founders decided to commit a unique level of investment to internet activities, spotting the opportunity for online growth within the tiling market.
The company’s online portfolio now includes a fully commercial website and a range of social media platforms. These include Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Twitter. The Tile Mountain ad on YouTube has had 71,500 views, while thousands more have watched company videos on the Tile Mountain YouTube channel. Many of these videos have been developed to deliver style and inspiration advice, as well as ‘How to do it’ customer education, featuring TV presenter Craig Philips. These demonstrate that the company aims to promote quality in the marketplace and establish a relationship with its customers.
This relationship is further developed through the company’s consistent use of TV, radio and consumer promotions.
The website itself has been developed to provide a stress-free and straightforward shopping experience, being clear and user-friendly. The site offers customers the opportunity to pay by credit or debit card and also PayPal.
Tile Mountain is leading the industry, showing what is possible through investment in appropriate online platforms, while delivering great customer service and one of the widest ranges of tiles, accessories and ancillaries available from any UK retailer.
BEST RETAIL SHOWROOM
In 2015 Casa Ceramica decided to embark on an ambitious project that would see the company produce a level of showroom not widely seen here in the UK; certainly, not outside of London. After 12 months of searching the company discovered an old garden centre with a gorgeous stone frontage and huge greenhouses to the rear just perfect for helping realise the vision.
This was to create a gallery style showroom, something that would take customers on a journey to experience how tiles can be used in different ways and environments. The journey starts before you enter. The entrance ramp consists of 400mm x 1200mm x 20mm thick porcelain, which has been installed using one of the many possible-fixing methods for this material.
The next task was to create a striking entrance; something that would amaze people as they entered and give them something to remember as they leave. As the floor sloped up we decided to make the ceiling slope down thus making the entrance shrink the further you entered! This is where the Alice in Wonderland theme was born. Our specially commissioned black and white floor was designed so that the floor appears flat when viewed by the naked eye but is transformed when viewed through a camera lens creating what appears to be a floor with a huge dip in it and also creating the illusion that the wall tile continues into the dip. The wall tiles have different size frames on them, which fit perfectly into the theme; eventually these will contain select quotes from Alice in Wonderland.
The reception area features a Lithos CNC carved stone reception desk with copper top, on the floor are varying colours of one of our concrete collections in 1000mm x 1000mm.
EXCELLENCE IN MULTIPLE RETAILING
TOPPS TILES PLC
Over the past 50 years Topps Tiles has developed into one of the biggest tile retailers in the world and today is the undisputed market leader amongst multiple tile retailers in the UK.
With 350 UK stores, Topps has never been afraid to take on both the DIY multiples and the specialist retailers, whom it recognises to be its strongest competitors, and in fact the slogan which sums up their strategy is to ‘out-specialise the specialists’. The strategy has enabled Topps Tiles to grow its market share continually, hitting its target of taking a third of the UK domestic tiling market a year early in 2016.
The tile market is challenging with home owners and trade customers having high expectations. Topps aims to exceed these expectations by being the absolute specialist in its field, stocking the best range of all the latest tile designs to suit all budgets, as well as offering expertise and convenience across all service channels.
The last 12 months in particular have seen significant activity from Topps, designed to drive growth through the business and improve the customer experience. Topps opened its 15th small format Boutique store in 2016, enabling customers to access the Topps range and expertise in locations where a larger store is not possible. The company also launched over 50 new ranges, with new products making up over 12% of sales in the last 12 months, most of these being exclusive.
BEST USE OF TILE IN A DOMESTIC ENVIRONMENT – KITCHENS
JOINT WINNER – ARMATILE
The brief for this project required Armatile to source, supply and fit a tile with a rich marble look for the kitchen and ground floor area of a new home that would create a large, flowing open space with an unfussy and contemporary vibe, but also homely and inviting.
Armatile’s design team interpreted the client’s needs and chose the tiles to translate this vision into reality.
Armatile’s design team worked with designer Darren Morgan to select the perfect high quality porcelain tile that delivers an inspiring floor finish to suit this project – the beautifully rich toned, large format and digitally printed Stone Calcutta Smooth 800mm x 800mm with rectified edges from Italian manufacturer Casa Dolce Casa. This tile has a smooth, almost velvety texture, with a distinctive marble shading and characteristics in a satin sheen finish.
Initial discussions with the client noted the architect had selected an 80mm Anhydrite Calcium-based Flow Screed as a ‘fast track’ option to be fitted over an under floor heating system. When Armatile’s research identified that Flow Screeds are fast to install but actually take longer to dry than traditional cement:sand floors, it was tasked with sourcing an alternative product to meet the programme of works.
Armatile worked in partnership with The Tile Association colleagues, Mapei, to carry out technical site visits and to specify a complete package of compatible products to enable the installation of the new large format tiles for an almost seamless, flowing finish throughout the kitchen and ground floor.
JOINT WINNER – CREATIVE STONE & TILE
Creative Stone & Tile put forward a beautiful country manor in Northern Ireland. The owners of this new-build wanted a traditional exterior with a modern classic interior. The owners’ brief was to use tiles to achieve a sociable layout and interior design inspired by luxurious hotels.
The bespoke two-tier kitchen was designed by Greenhill Handmade Kitchens, featuring a statement island with a solid walnut breakfast bar. Donegal slate was chosen for some of the exterior and interior cladding, extending the Donegal slate into the kitchen for continuity.
Creative Stone & Tile put forward the concept of selecting a porcelain tile collection that could be produced in an interior and exterior finish (frost and slip resistant without compromising on the colour and style). This enabled the continuity with the open plan kitchen/dining area and outside patio area, creating the feeling of a seamless connection between inside and out, enhanced also by the glazed lean-to doors.
The company put forward a porcelain ‘Italian flagstone’ with a unique patinata finish; the large flagstone sizes being 600mm x 1200mm. The client wanted to bring in a mix of sizes to add a little traditional element to the design so a mix of 600mm x 1200mm and 600mm x 600mm was selected.
The end result is a stunningly authentic flagstone floor, and the perfect canvas for the kitchen. As well as creating a luxurious floor finish, being Italian porcelain, it is also very practical, being chemical resistant, frost resistant and easy to clean with conventional floor cleaners, so suitable for a busy family.
BEST USE OF TILE IN A DOMESTIC ENVIRONMENT – BATHROOMS/WETROOMS
Casa Ceramica worked with Rob & Marie Shorten who were building a new family home in Yorkshire. Tiles were to be a big feature throughout the home, including huge 1.6m x 1.6m x 6mm tiles throughout the ground floor. The Master suite was one area where they wanted to make a statement without being over the top.
After many design meetings and site visits the couple decided to go ahead using the company’s large format thin porcelain for the wall areas in the shower and specially-cut 100mm x 600mm wood effect porcelain in a Chevron format, which also flows into the dressing area for continuity.
The wall tiles from the Casa Ceramica classic marble collection are made from 6mm thick porcelain and mimic natural Statuario marble. Each slab measures 1.2m x 2.4m and weighs about 40kg so they aren’t that heavy, compared to a standard thickness tile. This tile, which is available in sizes right up to 3.2m x 1.6m, can be supplied in a chain, where the veining on the tiles runs seamlessly across multiple slabs. In this case, there are six slabs available giving a seamless run at 7.2m long. This allows a complete bathroom to be seamlessly wrapped in this stunning material.
The benefits of this 6mm tile hugely outweigh using real stone. The technology used has improved so much over the last couple of years meaning that it is very difficult to distinguish these slabs from the real stone. The lightweight properties and not to mention the cost and labour-saving benefits make this tile the perfect choice for a statement bathroom.
WALL TILE OF THE YEAR
RAK CERAMICS – COUNTRY BRICK
Inspired by medieval architecture and imposing fortress designs, RAK Ceramics’ Country Brick is a stunning collection of rectangular and hexagon shaped wall tiles. Rustic veining and vibrant colour variation gives depth, creating an authentic stone effect in colours spanning light grey to a rich chestnut-toned brown.
New Country Brick is a gres ceramic tile with a honed finish. The collection includes a 70mm x 280mm rectangular and a 200mm x 230mm hexagon design. Both formats are offered in light grey, grey, dark grey, beige, dark beige and brown. The designs create a striking, robust aesthetic that can be used to decorate walls and create features in linear, chevron and hexagon honeycomb designs.
As well as residential schemes, Country Brick is ideal for design-led commercial spaces, from boutiques to bars. It also perfectly complements wood and concrete effects, and is an ideal partner to RAK Ceramics’ new Circle Wood floor tile collection.
Country Brick was launched at Cersaie 2016.
FLOOR TILE OF THE YEAR
RAK CERAMICS – CIRCLE WOOD
Using advanced digital printing technology, RAK Ceramics’ new Circle Wood tile interprets the essence of real wood. The new glazed tile is brought to life with swirling grains, gnarls and circular annual rings that create a wood effect with the performance benefits of gres porcelain.
Circle Wood is designed for walls and floors, and can be continued from one surface to another to create a seamless cocoon. The palette includes ivory, grey, greige, nut, beige, and brown, and all colourways have a 195mm x 1200mm ‘plank’ format.
The stunning wood effect brings a warm, natural feel to residential and commercial settings, and works beautifully with marble-effects, like RAK Ceramics’ new Country Brick wall tile. It can also be used to create stunning splash backs and feature walls, where each surface benefits from its exceptional performance features.
Circle Wood was launched at Cersaie 2016.
EXCELLENCE IN MANUFACTURING
CRAVEN DUNNILL JACKFIELD
Craven Dunnill first started tile manufacturing back in 1872 at the Jackfield Tile Works in Ironbridge near Telford, Shropshire. Much has changed over the years in terms of the ceramic tile market and manufacturing technology. However, there is still a place in the market for traditional hand-made ceramic wall and floor tiles for restoration and heritage new build projects.
With two dedicated specialist manufacturing sites, one in Ironbridge, Shropshire and one in Burslem in the heart of the Potteries, Jackfield has a unique team of highly skilled craftsmen and women making cutting edge specialist ceramics.
Craven Dunnill Jackfield produces authentic encaustic tiles, geometric tiles, decorative wall tiles, fittings and murals predominantly for restoration projects but increasingly bespoke products are being commissioned for the general interiors market, as architects and designers understand the unique capabilities of the factory.
In 2016 the Jackfield manufacturing team were busy working on a variety of restoration and new build projects. Several of the key high profile projects that have been completed include:
• Palace of Westminster – Encaustic tile restoration for the Royal Gallery, Public Corridor, Lower Waiting Hall and Central Lobby.
• St Georges Hall, Liverpool – Encaustic roundel in the main hall.
• Oldham Town Hall – handmade wall tile restoration project.
• Jamie Oliver Restaurant, Piccadilly – large cast and hand glazed faience mouldings.
BEST ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVE
After winning the Award for Best Environmental Initiative in 2016, Norcros Adhesives has not been resting on its laurels, but has broadened its work to reduce further any negative environmental impact of all aspects of its business.
The company’s work on environmental improvement goes back to the time of its founding. Since the earliest days it has been the intention to eliminate waste going to landfill. This zero target was achieved during 2015, a major achievement for a large scale manufacturing business. In the same year the company also achieved the environmental standard ISO14001 for its work to reduce waste and improve resource efficiency.
In 2016 the company launched the eco-friendly Norcros Pro Ply Tile Backer Board. This does not contain crystalline silica, so it is better for the installer. It is also asbestos-free and, containing no cellulose, is resistant to mould growth. It contains mineral-based magnesium oxide, and critically very little CO2 is emitted during the product’s manufacture.
In its latest environmental initiative Norcros Adhesives has joined the Supply Chain Sustainability School. Launched in 2012, the Sustainability School is a programme designed to promote sustainability in construction supply chains. It has more than 14,000 members and it provides free practical support in the form of e-learning modules, tailored self-assessment and action plans, sustainability training and networking.
Norcros Adhesives has already achieved Silver status within the School, indicating a high level of engagement with its activities.
EXCELLENCE IN TILE DISTRIBUTION
NICHOLLS & CLARKE GROUP
N&C Group were founded in 1875, being dedicated to the manufacture and distribution of high quality ceramics, porcelains, natural stones and decor tiles and tiling solutions. The company has grown from servicing the capital’s trades to becoming one of the UK’s largest privately owned national distributors of tiles, adhesives and other tiling systems.
With over 17 depots nationwide, N&C offers an unrivalled specialised service. The company stocks in excess of £10m stock value with over 80% of tiles available exclusively to N&C. It constantly invests in stockholding to ensure availability for current and future contracts and sales. It sources only the best quality products, which is reflected in sales growth on tiles year upon year.
In addition to extensive stockholding the company also offers an unrivalled ‘no minimum order’ policy where customers are able to order up to 5pm from any of the 17 branches and receive a free next working day delivery anywhere in the UK with free same day store collections also available.
The distribution network is supported by a nationwide private fleet of over 110 commercial vehicles. The company has full logistical control from the point of manufacture right through to delivery on site. It believes it has a competitive advantage by owning its own fleet of vehicles, improving reliability and customer reassurance.
An on-site workshop ensures that all vehicles operate with optimum performance to get customers’ goods exactly where they need to be on time. Following significant investment in a new ERP system, operations have further improved, with orders being placed centrally and local deliveries made through one of the local depots to help lower the carbon footprint.
TRAINEE OF THE YEAR
CRAIG BENN – CERAMIC TILE MERCHANTS
Craig Benn began his new role at Ceramic Tile Merchants in 2016. He was recruited as a graduate trainee working alongside the present director of the company, Garry Cammidge, to learn the mechanics of the business and in particular to use his skills in IT to move the company forward in terms of computer technology and developing sales.
Before starting employment at Ceramic Tile Merchants, Craig studied Business Economics at Leeds Metropolitan University. One of his greatest challenges since joining Ceramic Tile Merchants has been to learn and absorb the vast range of product information about porcelain and ceramic tiles, grouts and adhesives, the tools of the trade and all the processes involved in the industry. This he has tackled with determination and has achieved an admirable level of knowledge in a relatively short timescale.
One of Craig’s main achievements has been to lead a project to install a new computer software system, Kerridge K8. This enterprise resource planning software manages core business activities, such as sales and purchase invoices, stock control and accounts. It has required a lot of data manipulation within MS Excel, which Craig used extensively during his university course. He has now completed the task of entering all the product information and price lists into the system. He has shown a great maturity and responsibility in leading this project and has been instrumental in training the rest of the staff in the application of the system.
Craig has demonstrated a natural aptitude to working in the business world. He has brought a wealth of experience and skills to his new role and has embraced new challenges with determination and enthusiasm.
EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR
MORAY ANDERSON – ARDEX UK
Moray Anderson has been involved in the tiling industry for over 45 years. In 1988, Moray joined ARDEX as a technical services representative. He has been with ARDEX ever since, assisting thousands in the industry with his expertise and guidance.
Answering technical enquiries and providing on-site assistance, Moray has played a key role in many high profile projects. In 1989 he supervised the refurbishment of the Meadowhall Shopping Centre in Sheffield. Here ARDEX S 21 Rapid Hardening Floor Tile Bedding Mortar was used to fix 15,000sq m of stone tiles. In 2012, Moray was involved in the Aquatics Centre for the London 2012 Olympics. Throughout the site, specialist tiling contractor W B Simpson & Sons fixed 866,000 ceramic tiles, with Moray providing on-site assistance with the specified application system. Ensuring the product’s performance, the resulting Olympic-standard fix firmly secured ARDEX as a solution provider for swimming pool installations and since has led to many other prestigious projects, including the Tollcross International Swimming Centre for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Moray’s involvement in the stone tile refitting at the Burjuman Shopping Mall in Dubai in 2005 is perhaps one of his most notable achievements. Here, he oversaw the application of ARDEX Natural Stone products in a trial against competing brands, leading to ARDEX UK securing the project for the entire 43,000sq m refit. This ultimately lead to ARDEX UK winning their biggest ever project order the following year, where the same products were specified throughout the 165,000sq m build of the Dubai Mall.
EXCELLENCE IN TILE CONTRACTING
2016 has been another successful year for Arrow Tiling, with higher turnover, higher profits and more jobs completed than in any other previous year. The company’s highly skilled tilers have completed numerous successful installations using the latest 6mm thick large format porcelain tiles. 2017 already has a few amazing projects lined up and ready to be completed using this tile. Arrow has previously completed dozens of projects where it has used 20mm or 30mm marble in the same way that it is using this 6mm porcelain tile.
The company’s ongoing relationship with the TTA enables them promote themselves as one of the leading tile contractors in the country, with numerous new leads coming via the TTA website. Sometimes clients who have contacted the TTA have previously been let down by cowboys or inexperienced tradesmen and they therefore have high expectations. Situations like this require clear, accurate information and precise installations. Arrow only uses the best of materials on the market and refuses to take shortcuts no matter what size the project.
Over the last year Arrow has attended an overnight Schlüter training event, which was very well run, as well as a TTA technical seminar on ‘tiling in wet rooms’ and ‘design and construction of swimming pools’, which again was very informative. Arrow used the TTA’s independent expertise for a project in Central London where a previous contractor had made many fundamental errors and the client wanted assurances that the contractor would be using correct methodology for the re-fit. Bob Howard MBE attended on behalf of TTA and confirmed to the client everything that Arrow had previously advised, giving the client complete re-assurance.
BEST USE OF TILE IN A COMMERCIAL CONTACT
ARDEX UK FOR 80-100 VICTORIA STREET
80-100 Victoria Street is a landmark commercial building sitting in the renowned Cardinal Place Development. As one of the most recognisable sites in Victoria, it provides high quality office accommodation and is currently occupied by brands including Microsoft and EDF Energy.
In 2016, refurbishments were completed on several areas of the building, with the project including some 1600sq m of newly installed floor tiles on the ground and first floor lobby areas. Supplied by Pentagon Tiles, each slab measured 2500mm long x 1000mm wide x 6mm deep, presenting a significant challenge to the installation team.
ARDEX provided the specification for the project, collaborating with Pentagon Tiles, Collins Construction and Quadrant, the main and tiling contractors respectively, to ensure the optimum system was recommended.
The specification recommended a system that maximised the contact between the adhesive bed and the tile, and ultimately facilitated solid bed fixing (SBF). With large format tiles, and particularly tiles of this size, SBF is imperative, and failure to achieve this can often result in cracks in places where the tile isn’t fully supported with adhesive. The products specified in this project included ARDITEX NA Ultra Rapid Setting Latex Subfloor Levelling and Smoothing Compound, used to level the deviations in the subfloor, ARDEX MICROTEC X 7001 Rapid Drying Pourable Floor Tile Adhesive and ARDEX MICROTEC X 7001.
ARDEX-FLEX FS Flexible Tile Grout, a water-repellent and dirt resistant, flexible tile grout was also used, as was ARDEX ST Elastic Silicone Sealant, a weather, water, UV radiation and chemical resistant sealant which contains fungicide to prevent the growth of fungi and moulds.
BEST RENOVATION PROJECT
HARPER & EDWARDS
When Harper and Edwards Ltd received the order from 8Build for the tiling package on this project, what seemed like a normal job changed dramatically when the company was asked to inspect what was left of an encaustic floor laid to a unique design in the Great Hall of the Club, which was built in 1862 with the intention of restoring it to its former glory.
On surveying what was left, the company discovered that approximately a third remained which was covered with red carpet and the other two-thirds had been removed in the 1970s to be replaced with 100mm x 100mm black and white checkerboard floor tiles.
On removing the carpet, it was immediately apparent that underneath was something special and of historic significance. Having taken numerous photos and some loose tiles from site, the company produced a representation of the completed floor.
To enable the necessary material to be produced, a site meeting was arranged with Craven Dunnill Jackfield Ltd to see if the missing plain tiles and numerous special designs could be reproduced. Following this inspection, it was ascertained that the tiles had been originally supplied by Maw & Co. A number of the plain and patterned tiles were still in current production but more importantly new encaustic moulds could be produced to match those found in the original floor.
After various meetings and factory visits and the production of samples, the new tiles were manufactured, consisting of some 7,000 pieces of material in 40 different sizes, colours and patterns which then allowed fixing to commence over a 4-week period whilst the Club was open.
TRAINEE TILE FIXER OF THE YEAR
GORDON COOK – A DE CECCO
Gordon is employed as an apprentice at A De Cecco Ltd and since his first day in August 2015, he has shown an appreciation for firstly being afforded an opportunity to join Scotland’s oldest ceramic tiling contractor and has grasped the training offered with both hands. Gordon was given a chance to work alongside highly skilled tradesmen within A De Cecco Ltd and jumped at the opportunity. Aided by his work colleagues, he became the skilled artisan that he is now. Gordon certainly has a glittering future as a skilled tile fixer!
He is now employed in some of A De Cecco Ltd.’s projects – for example the refurbishment of Kelvin Bridge underground station. This is a landmark project for the company. Gordon will now go on in his career to continue to excel in his chosen profession as a Master Tile Fixer. In the future he will no doubt pass on to other apprentices the skills he has learnt. Gordon has become a major player in A De Cecco Ltd.’s team and he will enjoy a great future with the company.
The example Gordon has set has now become the benchmark for future apprentices at A De Cecco Ltd! His employer believes that Gordon’s success is attributable to his dedication, hard work and devotion to learning the skills that were offered to him. He took the opportunity provided and made the most of them, becoming an example for all to follow. Gordon won the Gold Medal at the 2016 National Final of Skillbuild.
TILE FIXER OF THE YEAR
SHARON TAYLOR – VIVA TILING
Sharon says: “I have always been creative with my hands, having worked within the packaging design industry for over 20 years. Following redundancy in 2007, I decided to retrain in wall and floor tiling and completed a course with Specialist Trade Courses at Harlow, Essex, and Viva Tiling was born.”
“A couple of months after finishing the course I went on to do the Bisazza Mosaic Course ran by STC which introduced me to mosaics. It was suggested I complete the Advanced Bisazza course at their headquarters in Vincenza, Italy, which I went on to do in November 2008. By this time I was absolutely convinced I wanted to work with mosaics. I also completed a Victorian Geometric tiling course and have attained an NVQ Level 2 qualification in wall and floor tiling.”
“A position as instructor came up at STC and I was contacted by one of the owners, asking me if I would consider working for them, as they had been very impressed with my work. I went on to be employed by them for approximately one year, during which time I learned a great deal and was also able to refine my own skills, although being a full time mosaic fixer was my ambition.”
“A leisure and wellness contractor looking for a mosaic installer for a steam room was given my card and I found my niche. My first steam room consisted of four different mosaics and a curved vaulted ceiling (groin vault). I have since then developed a reputation for working on steam rooms, ice fountains, spa baths, curved seating and shower units, basically any surface that requires mosaics.”