Armstrong’s recycled Ceilings brook no arguments
Work is drawing to a close on the installation of more than 80,000m² of ceiling tiles on the largest construction project in Peterborough since the cathedral was built 800 years ago.
And thanks to an industry-leading off-cut recycling scheme operated by interior solutions provider Armstrong Ceilings, some 8,000m² or 32 tonnes of the manufacturer’s tiles – equivalent to the weight of two double-decker buses - have been saved from landfill.
Architects Nightingale Associates approved the use of Armstrong’s Bioguard Plain mineral tiles, which contain fungicides and biocides which actively combat harmful fungi, mould and mildew, yeasts and bacteria, throughout the new 612-bed major acute hospital that is the largest element of the £335 million Greater Peterborough Health Investment Plan.
The new 95,000m² Peterborough City Hospital comprises the acute hospital and a 98-bed mental health unit on the site of the Edith Cavell Hospital (ECH), and a 39-bed City Care Centre on the former Peterborough District Hospital (PDH) site. Both ECH and PDH remained operational throughout their respective builds.
A PFI project backed by Brookfield, HSBC and Macquarie Bank, it is due for completion in October (2010) after more than three years on the 14-hectare site.
Ceilings installer Roskel Contracts, an Omega (Armstrong-approved) contractor, has been on the acute site for 18 months, combining a standard installation, albeit a major one, with the logistics of running its first off-cut recycling scheme.
This proved particularly challenging because of the large number of relatively small rooms – a total of 4,500 different rooms, each of which required three handovers (after the initial trim, installation of the ceiling grid and service tiles, and then finally, the tiles themselves). This totalled 13,500 handover processes, approximately one every 15 minutes, although this was fine-tuned down to blocks of rooms.
Roskel’s team of up to 40 men filled wheelie bins with pre-sized bags inside, which when full, were wheeled round to a secure facility. When this was full, the contents would be removed by articulated truck to Armstrong’s plant in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, where they were recycled.
David Wilson of Roskel Contracts said: “We preferred to win this with UK-manufactured material to give us security of availability. The supply was well coordinated and the quality of the tiles and grid were consistent as usual. We have been very happy with the overall concept and methodology.”
Chris Fairhall, procurement manager for Brookfield Construction UK, said they had spoken to a number of ceiling manufacturers about recycling but none could match the Armstrong offer.
“The performance of a product needs to first meet the specification and our contractual obligations, then it needs to be competitively priced. Being able to recycle it is an added benefit but recycling is an important factor as the environment and sustainability is driving more and more projects,” he said.
“The other suppliers’ schemes were not as advanced or as convincing as befits the market leader. Credentials such as these are becoming more important and are definitely an influence,” he added.
“Ceiling tiles are one of the building materials that suffer particular damage and the waste would usually go straight to skip. But in this case, Armstrong’s tiles were actually going back and being recycled. This meant we didn’t have to pay the same amount of landfill tax so there was a cost saving to us as well as the environment. From Brookfield’s perspective there were no drawbacks at all.”