£13m Maternity Unit opens at Ulster Hospital, complete with Tarkett floorcoverings

The new £13m Maternity Unit at Ulster Hospital was officially opened by the Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey, at the end of 2007. The three-floor unit will provide facilities for approximately 3000 women a year. Offering state of the art, purpose built accommodation for mothers and newborn children, the Unit was fitted with 5500m2 of Tarkett floorcoverings throughout. The neo-natal unit also features a unique piece of artwork designed by the artist Diane McCormick, which was brought to life with the help of Tarkett’s Floorcraft service.

The new Maternity Unit comprises a ground floor outpatient unit, a 32-bed ward, 14 neo-natal beds, labour rooms, and a holistic therapy room. It also features a unique ‘home from home’ unit that aims to offer the complete natural birthing experience through provision of seven individual birthing pools. The neo-natal unit also incorporates intensive care, high dependency and special care facilities.

4900m2 of Tarkett’s Optima iQ homogeneous vinyl flooring was specified for use in all the main corridors, wards, side wards, public areas and general administration areas of the new Unit. Optima was specified largely due to its ease of maintenance and BRE A-rating, but its range of 30 colour options also allowed the intricate artwork designs to be more accurately recreated. Tarkett’s Granit Multisafe was specified for the birthing pool areas and showers, while 200m2 of Eminent Safe T were used in the stores, cleaning stores and toilets.

Stephen Hanna, Contracts Manager at CB Contracts who installed the new flooring, explained: “Different floor coverings were chosen for their unique properties, such as Granit Multisafe used in wet areas and birthing wards, due to the high slip resistance it offers, especially in bare foot areas. Optima, the primary material used, is a fantastic floor covering to work with and offers a flexibility second to none. It’s durability and appearance retention make it an ideal material for this and similar projects.”

Optima iQ is made from high-quality raw materials and includes 3rd generation PUR reinforcement. This means it requires the absolute minimum of heavy, wet cleaning and needs no wax or polish throughout its entire lifetime. The maintenance costs can therefore be reduced by up to 30% compared to traditional cleaning methods, and the consumption of water, chemicals and energy is also reduced by 50%. The PUR reinforcement provides excellent resistance to abrasions, stains and chemicals ensuring that the new flooring will continue to perform and look good for years to come.

Eilis O’Baoill, Arts Procurement Manager at South Eastern Health Trust is delighted with the new flooring, noting: “The neo-natal ward is a clinical area, so being able to recreate some of Diane’s artwork in the flooring has enabled us to distinguish this very special unit from the rest of the hospital. The nurses, staff and parents all contributed to the initial designs to help create a soothing image, which Tarkett’s Floorcraft service worked brilliantly into the new flooring.”

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