Industrial floors must bear the brunt of plant activity, as well as temperature, humidity, thermal shock, equipment vibration, foot and vehicular traffic, spills, cleaning agents, and other factors that break them down.
Paul Cook, Painters USA VP and co-founder, was recently published in Plant Services, part of the Putnam Media family. In his article, “Put your plant on a strategic footing,” he explains why and how commercial and industrial floors need special care and attention.
For starters, OSHA has outlined flooring requirements (Code of Federal Regulations section 1910.22 for Walking-Working Surfaces) and can levy stiff fines for violations. And while regulatory compliance is a necessity, Paul offers other advice and best practices, summarized below with a link to his entire article at the end.
Work with impartial experts
Paul references a number of independent organizations that offer invaluable advice for flooring specifications:
- National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) will recommend NFSI WACH graduates who can assess the state of your facility’s floor, identify problems, and make recommendations.
- National Safety Council offers assessments for workplace safety.
- International Concrete Repair Institute certifies people as concrete slab moisture testing technicians.
As generalists, most plant maintenance managers will benefit by tapping into these organizations and the knowledge of skilled industrial flooring contractors like Painters USA.
Look for credibility
Paul recommends getting case studies specific to your industry from all the contenders on your short list of flooring contractors. As an example, he says:
Applying a flooring system to a logistics company’s warehouse requires different techniques than replacing the floor at a power generation plant or a food or agricultural facility.
To validate a contractor’s credentials:
- Look for NACE Level 3 certified inspectors and other training and certifications.
- Find vendors with a passion for their craft and familiarity with your processes and your industry.
- Find a vendor with the ability to apply industrial flooring types (e.g., epoxy with an anti-microbial coating, vinyl, polyurethane or urethane) for your needs.
Measure credibility by the contractor’s level of professionalism and experience.
Look for relevant references
Paul advises plant managers to ask for references and not just take those names as a checkmark in a box; actually talk to them and ask specific questions:
- Did the contractor meet their expectations?
- Was the work done by employees or subcontractors?
- What was the contractor’s pre-project planning process?
Insist on a detailed plan with a day-by-day account of project elements, including a timeline, before work begins. The plan should include requirements for removal of existing coatings and other prepping steps, protection of adjacent areas, how long the curing and drying process will take, and any other details that matter to your budgets, timeframes, and production schedules.
Reduce costs through collaboration
Since flooring projects are often priced based on the project, not by square footage, vendors have to build in time and pricing for tasks like moving equipment or products off the work surface. Paul suggests that plant managers can find savings if they have their own people do some of the clearing and cleaning.
While saving money matters, Paul also warns that short-term approaches can lead to bigger and more expensive problems like injuries, work stoppages, and even cancelled contracts. Instead, he offers the following advice:
Savvy facility managers analyze situations, plan for improved outcomes, and spend money wisely. Flooring projects done well are no different.
If your commercial or industrial floors are in need of some attention, or you have questions about current issues, contact us to set up an inspection or to request an estimate.
About Putnam Media
As the publisher of Plant Services and other publications for manufacturing markets, Putnam Media has been helping engineers, R&D, operations, design, safety, and other plant executives run safe, efficient, and innovative plants for over eighty years. Click here to read Paul’s Plant Services article in its entirety.