Architects Dixon Jones specified 600m2 Junckers solid oak flooring for Marlborough Primary School, a multi award-winning building on a densely populated urban site in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea in London.
The brief to create a primary school much larger than the original Victorian building on the existing
site challenged Dixon Jones to design a school where teaching accommodation is arranged
vertically around a series of cascading roof terraces. With nursery and reception classes on the
ground, children progress upwards through the building the older they get, with the junior years
arranged on the upper floors.
The interior forms an equally dynamic environment for students and staff with teaching spaces arranged around communal halls and generous circulation areas. A large main hall and multi-use space flooded with natural light from two central roof lights, features Junckers wide board oak flooring throughout, providing a natural, unifying backdrop. Junckers’ FSC and PEFC certified floors are a durable, long-lasting choice with low lifecycle costs. Made in solid wood, the floor can be sanded and re-finished multiple times without losing its good looks or performance, ideal for a thriving community school.
Main contractor: Mace; Joinery contractor: Swift Crafted; Photography: Paul Riddle.
Meet Richard Aylen, our Technical Manager. In a new series of technical articles, Richard will be sharing his expertise and keeping us up to date with all things wood flooring. First up, he explains the new set of guidelines set by the ESFA, The Education and Skills Funding Agency, crucial knowledge for architects, specifiers and contractors involved in building and refurbishing schools.
For schools and education facilities, there are usually three overwhelmingly important factors to consider when it comes to flooring: performance, longevity and cost. This is true for sports floors as well as for floors throughout a school, and a balance between those three factors is of crucial consideration to specifiers. If a school or education facility is applying for funding to upgrade or build new facilities, there is a new set of guidelines to follow as part of the specification process. Familiarising yourself with these new guidelines means you are well equipped to advise clients in the education sector on how best to secure funding, and crucially, end up with a high quality, high performing floor.
The Education and Skills Funding Agency, (ESFA), is an executive agency sponsored by the Department for Education. It is responsible for £58m of funding for the education and training sector, a proportion of which is dedicated to improving sports and activity facilities. To ensure public funds are properly spent, deliver both value for money and safe, high performing sports flooring, the ESFA has recently changed its design standards and of particular interest here is how their changes relate to floors for sports and multi-purpose halls.
Prior to the current phase of education spending any activity or sports hall in a school had to have a point elastic “P3” rating under EN 14904. However, the ESFA now requires Area Elastic category A3 or A4 systems. Also, the types of school hall have been more clearly defined and there are new rules relating to retractable seating.
Point Elastic P3 floors, though of low initial cost, have been deemed to be lacking in performance and safety. The softer surface can tend to “lock” the foot in place, which may result in tendon strains. The harder surface of most area elastic floors offers a “controlled slide” which allows the user to stop, but not so abruptly that the body is over-stressed. There has also been some dissatisfaction from wheelchair athletes about the higher rolling resistance of point elastic floor surfaces compared with the harder top surface provided by area elastic floors.
Area Elastic systems offer the best in terms of safety, longevity, performance and cost. They will typically have a “sprung” undercarriage of some kind with either a synthetic, engineered wood or solid hardwood playing surface.
An area elastic floor has high levels of shock absorption and vertical deformation making it a safe surface for sports, PE, dance, performance and multi-use, allowing freedom of movement and protection from injury. Users of the floor can perform at their best as they will have good ball control and consistent ball bounce. The correct friction rating allows players to move rapidly over the floor and reduces the risk of falls and strains. A floor with a timber surface is able to withstand rolling loads such as trolleys and retractable seating or if the floor is to be used for performances or exhibitions.
The ESFA requires the main halls in all secondary schools with 900 or more students to have retractable seating. Solid hardwood floors are very suitable for this however careful choice may be needed with other surfaces in order to avoid permanent indentation, rucking, delamination and permanent wheel “tracking” marks. Retractable seating systems create the possibility to host revenue-generating events and functions.
For many clients a solid hardwood floor offers the best in terms of performance, longevity, exceptionally low life cycle costs and ease of maintenance. Solid hardwood is one of the most durable surfaces available and with a typical lifespan of 60 years, it is virtually unbeatable in terms of lifecycle costs.
Whilst not a stated ESFA requirement, this choice also offers the opportunity to have a floor that is very environmentally friendly, recyclable, low carbon and makes little use of resins, adhesives and plastics. Increasingly, the final choice will often be made with some consideration as to how easily the old floor can be recycled or disposed of at the end of its life.
When it comes to maintenance, every type of floor finish suffers wear and tear and occasional damage. The specifier is faced with the choice either to specify a floor which can be refurbished or one that must be replaced when it is worn. Solid hardwood floors will often need to be refurbished by sanding and sealing after 15 years or so, which is very similar to the service life of a synthetic or engineered floor. Manufacturers will often help designers with life cycle cost information and weighing up initial cost against the cost of maintaining the floor through its life. The differences between one type of product and another can be considerable.
We are happy to announce we are launching a new range of vinyl sports floor systems to sit alongside our flagship collection of solid hardwood floors.
In the UK, Junckers has become a by-word for high quality sports and activity floor systems, and for providing the technical and customer support needed to make every new Junckers floor one that the installer and client will be proud of. As part of our continuous work to develop new products and constantly improve the ability to offer customers a broader choice of floor systems, we have developed a range of vinyl sports and activity floors, based upon the established success of our undercarriage systems.
We have has made the decision to launch a product range which has traditionally been a competitor for its long-established solid hardwood sports floor range after discovering that the range and types of undercarriage being offered appear so limited, even from the larger players in the market. With an established high-performance product, which fulfils all criteria, we are able to offer clients and developers something that is a step up from sub-flooring systems currently on the market.
For many clients, solid hardwood can be the best option – because of its unbeatable life cycle costs, which is always a high priority for sports halls, better environmental credentials, durability, repairability and versatility, retractable seating etc. But some customers prefer vinyl floors, perhaps based upon their past experience, and because they are used to it they feel more comfortable sticking with it. From autumn 2017, we are offering our customers a choice with the launch of our new vinyl sports floor systems.
The EFA (Education Funding Agency) who is responsible for setting the design standards for all school construction in England and Wales, has moved away from accepting “Point Elastic” vinyl floor systems so “stuck to screed” vinyl floors are becoming less favourable and are not really the best surface to play sport or dance on. This means that there is a stronger focus upon Area and Combined elastic floors, which usually require a “sprung” undercarriage, needing a little more expertise to design, manufacture and install. This is not always an area where existing vinyl floor system suppliers excel, but design and manufacture of sports undercarriages has been in our DNA for decades. Being able to combine some of the best undercarriage systems currently available with a vinyl finish means we are able to offer a product which is far superior to vinyl glued to screed.
One of our main strengths is the variety of undercarriage systems we offer. Not only do these give different “sprung” performance characteristics with some suited to basketball, others for dance etc., thanks to experience and technical expertise we are also able to take care of the less glamorous aspects of the installation, such as dealing with uneven sub floors or those where there may be drying out problems. Junckers’ floors are all tested and certified to EN 14904, category A3, A4 or C3. In addition, our own in-house testing and development centre assess the wider aspects of the floor’s performance such as point load bearing ability and lifespan issues such as fatigue testing.
Our new vinyl floor systems are aimed at the education sector, sports halls, leisure centres and dance and fitness centres. When it comes to installation, vinyl floor customers have the same assurances that they currently have with Junckers solid hardwood floors because there is a network of fully trained Junckers Approved Installers on hand to make sure that the floor will be fitted properly.
For more information on our new Vinyl Sports Floor Systems, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone +44 (0)1376 534 700
Riverside Campus at City of Glasgow College has won a multitude of architectural awards for its outstanding design. Home to the world-leading Maritime College, the new building features a grand atrium where Junckers 22mm Oak Harmony finished in Ultramatt lacquer was specified for the expansive staircase and walkway.
Designed in a joint venture between Reiach and Hall Architects and Michael Laird Architects, the building is BREEAM ‘Excellent’ with many innovative on-site energy generation measures. Junckers solid hardwood flooring is made from renewable, sustainable forests and the entire manufacturing process is powered by Junckers’ own on-site power plant, which uses the residual wood of the forested timber. The Oak Harmony floor adds natural warmth to the large, open space and provides a hardwearing surface for a busy college environment. The flooring contractor was McKay Flooring.
Our Technical Service Manager Richard Aylen’s expertise when it comes to combining our solid hardwood floors with retractable seating systems is second to none. Find out what to bear in mind and how installing one can be a lucrative investment.
Retractable seating offers schools and universities more flexible use of their halls and significantly increases opportunities for lettings and generation of income. The benefits of installing a retractable seating system are numerous: schools are able to stage their own performing arts productions in a more professional way with the audience having a better view that sitting on chairs “on the flat”; retractable seating can transform a sports hall into a lecture theatre or more flexible teaching space, both for school/university use and as a hire facility. The potential to generate income by letting the space to outside organisations for arts, sports and other events is usually a lucrative prospect and schools and universities usually see a quick return on investment.
Increasing numbers of clients who are fitting new flooring are opting to install retractable seating systems in their multi-purpose and activity halls. Therefore, the choice of flooring is very important so as to ensure that the surface will not be damaged and the floor is sufficiently loadbearing. Junckers floors have been proven over several decades to be very suitable for this type of use and we use our extensive experience to give the client valuable and well place advice on how to partner the floor system with their choice of retractable seating.
Types of Seating Systems
There are two main types of retractable seating system – fixed and mobile. Fixed systems, which are by far the most popular, are attached to the wall and extended out from the wall when needed. The seating is folded back against the wall when not in use. Fully mobile systems may be stored in a separate area, if full and unrestricted use of the hall is needed. Mobile systems offer the most versatility as they can be located anywhere in the hall, which means that the client can place the seats in one location e.g. for a drama production, and a different one for a basketball tournament for example.
A third option, but only rarely used because of the cost, are so-called air castors. These are used with fully mobile systems and use a cushion of air to move the seating unit around. They spread the seating load very evenly across the floor.
Benefits of Using Junckers Solid Hardwood Flooring
There are thousands of square metres of Junckers solid hardwood flooring in daily use with retractable seating, in buildings ranging from community centres, schools and colleges, through to Olympic venues.
Junckers offers a huge range of solid hardwood flooring, the majority of which may be used together with retractable seating. This versatility stems from the fact that there are a number of Junckers sub floor systems and installation methods to choose from, and so it is usually possible to find a great match between the hardwood flooring, the seating system, and what the client is looking for.
With a Junckers flooring system, there is no need to worry that the “sprung” quality of the sports, dance or performance floor will be disabled by adding strengthening which makes the floor completely rigid under foot. Junckers has extensive technical expertise in this area and, although the sprung batten system may need to be strengthened, it is possible to do this and to leave the sprung quality of the floor unaffected. It is not unusual for under floor heating to be needed as well, and it is possible also to include this beneath the floor boards, again leaving the “sprung” quality of the floor intact.
The surface of a Junckers sealed hardwood floor is very resistant to the type of wear and tear which may occur with retractable seating systems. Seating wheels will not mark or indent the Junckers floor whereas vinyl and other synthetic floors are often impossible to use because the wheels cause permanent “tracking” marks and scuffs. Some types of engineered hardwood floors may initially be OK if a retractable seating system is built upon them, but in the longer term the high loads may cause the core material of the engineered board to deteriorate and the boards will fail.
At Junckers we are able to assess the loads the seating unit will impose on the floor and from this we can offer a suitable design for the complete hardwood floor system- and we will guarantee the results. Many of the sports and performance floor suppliers in the UK are unable to offer equivalent guarantees and technical service, and in fact many do not have direct manufacturer representation in the UK.
Junckers solid hardwood flooring installed with retractable seating at BBC Auditorium, Wales. Images courtesy of Capita Architecture
Phase one of the Government’s £4.4 billion Priority School Building Programme (PSBP), to rebuild and refurbish school buildings in the worst conditions across the UK, is well under way with the final school due to open at the end of 2017. The second phase, encompassing 277 schools, will start later this year.
An essential part of the scheme is to rebuild and refurbish the sports facilities of the identified schools. The Education Funding Agency (EFA) sets a recommended specification for rebuilds and refurbishments. For sports flooring, the EFA specified Point Elastic Floors for PBSP1, phase one of the programme. Following studies and further research, the EFA no longer uphold their specification recommendations for sports flooring and the specification will change to Area Elastic Floors, having identified Point Elastic Floors as inadequate.
Since PSB1 was launched the EFA has amended its position on which sports floors fall within their acceptable design criteria. Although solid wood sports floors have always been regarded as a high quality choice, they have previously thought to be too expensive. In the past year, Junckers’ Technical Department has worked closely with the EFA to show how a solid hardwood sports floors will provide a safe, high performing floors with unbeatable lifecycle costs that will indeed fall within, and in some areas exceed the EFA’s requirements. This has resulted in the EFA changing their design standards for PSBP2.
A Junckers solid hardwood sports floor is one of the most durable surfaces available for multi purpose sports use. All Junckers’ sports floors comply with EN 14904 with a choice of Category A3 and A4 systems. The A4 classification in fact exceeds the EFA’s minimum performance requirement. The lifecycle cost of a Junckers floor is second to none; can be sanded and re-finished eight to ten times during its life. With 12-year intervals between sandings, a typical lifespan of 60 years will comfortably be exceeded, a claim that probably no other type of sports floor can match. Compared with a typical 15-year life of a synthetic or “engineered” floor there really is no comparison in terms of life cycle cost. Taking advantage of Junckers’ Approved Contractors maintenance scheme ensures periodic inspections of the floor are made. The client will also receive regular advice on care and cleaning using Junckers’ comprehensive range of high quality, professional maintenance products. This will keep the floor in optimum condition throughout its life.
A hardwood floor is one of the most environmentally friendly sports floor finishes you could hope to find. All Junckers’ timber is from properly managed forests with FSC and PEFC chain of custody certification. Timber is harvested from old, established forest areas, which are constantly replanted. Junckers floors are BREEAM A+ rated in the BRE Green Guide and have EMAS 111 and ISO 14001 Environmental Management Certification. In addition, Junckers’ products have low (E1) formaldehyde emissions under EN 14342. All Junckers floors are carbon neutral and at the end of their lives they are very easy to recycle, in contrast to materials made from fossil fuels.
Having the facility to use retractable seating in a school sports hall can make a substantial difference to hosting events, competitions or using the hall as a hire facility to the wider community. Junckers’ flooring systems are perfectly suited for use with retractable seating; hundreds of examples in the UK alone are testament to this fact. Junckers floors can be strengthened in a simple way to cope perfectly with very high seating loads, whilst leaving the sprung quality of the floor unaffected. A solid hardwood floor will not be marked or damaged by the wheels, and surface “tracking” or rucking, commonly seen with synthetic surfaces, is non-existent with a Junckers floor.
A safe, high performing sports floor with the right environmental accreditations and unbeatable lifecycle costs which falls within the EFA’s guidelines and the criteria for Affordable Sports Floors set by Sport England – a Junckers sports floor is hard to beat.
Junckers’ sports floors are made in solid hardwood, one of the most durable surfaces available and virtually unbeatable in terms of lifecycle costs. All our sports floors comply with Sports England and Sport Scotland’s guidance for Affordable Sports Floors and are the ideal choice for schools, colleges and universities.
Junckers sports floor systems comply with EN 14904. Within the Affordable Sports Floor price range we can offer both Category A3 and A4 systems, exceeding Sport England’s minimum performance requirement.
Maintenance and Life Span
Every floor finish, including synthetics, will become damaged over time. The difference with a Junckers solid hardwood sports floor is that it can be sanded and re-finished eight to ten times during its life. With 12-year intervals between sandings, a typical lifespan of 60 years will comfortably be exceeded. Compared with a typical 15 year life of a synthetic or “engineered” floor there really is no comparison in terms of life cycle cost.
Contractors in our Approved Contractors network scheme can offer an inspection service including periodic inspections of the floor and advise on care and cleaning. Junckers offer a comprehensive range of high quality, professional maintenance and finishing products to keep the floor in optimum condition throughout its lifespan.
The installed cost of our floors falls comfortably within the range for Sport England’s Affordable Sports Floors.
A hardwood floor is one of the most environmentally friendly sports floor finishes you could hope to find. All Junckers’ timber is from properly managed forests with FSC and PEFC chain of custody certification. Timber is harvested from old, established forest areas which are constantly replanted. Our floors are BREEAM A+ rated in the BRE Green Guide and we have EMAS 111 and ISO 14001 Environmental Management Certification. In addition, our products have low (E1) formaldehyde emissions under EN 14342. Out timber floors are carbon neutral and at the end of their lives they are very easy to recycle, in contrast to materials made from fossil fuels.
Retractable Seating Systems
Junckers’ flooring systems are perfectly suited for use with retractable seating, hundreds of examples in the UK alone are testament to this fact. Our floors may be strengthened in a simple way to cope perfectly with load bearing, which leaves the sprung quality of the floor unaffected. A solid hardwood floor will not be marked or damaged by wheels, and surface tracking, rucking or scuffing is non-existent with a Junckers floor.
A safe, high performing sports floor with the right environmental accreditations and unbeatable lifecycle costs which falls within the guidelines for Affordable Sports Floors set by Sport England – a Junckers sports floor is hard to beat.
Hudson Architects have undertaken a complete refurbishment of an historic building to house Norwich University of Arts School of Architecture. The impressive project effortlessly combines the grand, original features of the Grade II listed building with contemporary touches, including a striking central staircase.
Boardman House features over 750m2 Junckers wide board Nordic Oak, a solid hardwood floor with a white-pigmented finish, which creates a natural and elegant backdrop to the imposing interior. Durable enough to withstand even heavy traffic, Junckers FSC and PEFC certified solid oak floors are easy to maintain and can be sanded and re-finished several times, ideal for a busy university.
The multi award-winning Lairdsland Primary School in Kirkintilloch is a contemporary building designed for a range of teaching and learning styles. The bright and lively heart of the new building features over 600m2 of our solid oak flooring, adding natural warmth to the space.
Following an initiative by Scottish Futures Trust to design a reference primary school for Scotland, Walters & Cohen Architects was chosen for the project. After undertaking comprehensive consultation with the community, the new school is a sympathetic and impressive addition to the locale with double height glazing and open plan spaces. Ideal for a busy school environment, Junckers’ solid hardwood floors are hardwearing and easy to care for, adding an elegant backdrop to the interior.
It’s that time of year again – even though some of us have long since left our school years behind, there’s something comforting in the return to routines and the re-focus a new academic year brings. To celebrate, we’re showing you some examples of our floors in schools as well as some important points pertinent to the Education sector we are often asked about.
Junckers multi-use floor at Bushbury Hill CE Primary School, photo: Architype
Safety – about a third of all indoor sports injuries can be traced back to the properties of the floor, a responsibility no educational facility would like to shoulder. Our solid hardwood flooring systems provide the correct resilience, shock absorption and friction characteristics for the ultimate level of performance, comfort and above all, safety.
Caring For The Environment – all our floors are FSC and PEFC certified and our manufacturing process uses 100% of the wood, making us a CO2 positive company.
Standards – All floors used for sports, performance and dance have to adhere to the BSEN 14904 standard, in accordance with government legislation. All Junckers sports flooring systems fully conform to this standard and are BB compliant.
Choice – our factory finished, solid hardwood boards are ready for use as soon as they’re fitted. There is an increasing demand for darker floors, particularly in dance and performance studios – our Black Oak is the perfect choice here. We also offer a wide range of colours and finishes, ranging from bright red to pearlised silver tones.
Retractable seating – our floors are designed to accommodate normal foot loadings but often extra loads such as retractable seating are installed onto our floors. This can require special solutions, including reinforcement. Our Technical Department are very experienced and on hand to help – please contact them on tel 01376 534 720 or email Richard email@example.com
Maintenance and Lifecycle Costs – A solid hardwood sports floor and undercarriage system will last for many years to come with the correct care and maintenance. Our floors are designed for easy and efficient maintenance throughout their life and we can guarantee a floor for 25 years through our Approved Contractor Scheme, making a Junckers floor a very competitive option.
For more information on flooring for the Education sector or any other questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Junckers premium sports flooring system at Central School of Speech & Drama, Jestico + Whiles Architects
Junckers sports floor at St Marylebone School For Girls, Gumuchdjian Architects
Junckers sports flooring system at MyPlace, Aston, Associated Architects
Junckers Nordic Oak (with rectractable seating) at Yarm School, Associated Architects
Junckers Jarrah (with rectractable seating in lecture theatre) at University of Essex