Costed: Flooring - June/July 2013

David Holmes, associate at Davis Langdon, gives an overview of floor finishes and costs

The primary function of a floor finish is to provide a durable, safe, clean, acoustically compatible, attractive and affordable surface. The flooring selection depends on the function of the space. The choice of floor types, quality and colour is enormous and requires careful consideration. Costs – both of the floor itself and any substrate – vary greatly. Each choice will have some effect on the price of the material, as will the area and shape of the space to be covered. Generic key performance requirements for flooring include:

> Acoustics: the floor of any room represents a significant proportion of the overall surface area and its acoustic qualities can play an important role in the room environment

> Durability: floor finishes have to be able to withstand foot traffic as well as support furniture and equipment without undue deformation

> Sustainability: BREEAM is the standard tool for assessing the environmental impact and flooring can have a significant effect over its lifespan. Floors can have the highest and lowest ecopoints per square metre of almost any material.

> Hygiene: all floors need cleaning but some areas are particularly important so specify where higher standards are needed.

> Static electricity: where electronic equipment is present consider anti-static properties to avoid build up of static charge

> Heat resistance: kitchen and some processes need heat resistant floor finishes

> Safety: under CDM regulations the designer must carry out potential hazard assessments including unloading and handling, safe storage, installation, cleaning and maintenance.

Flooring finishes can account for 2% to 5% of the total construction cost and involve a significant investment in the overall project; they are also heavily used, so whole-life costs are as important to consider as capital costs. Rather than focusing on capital costs alone, a holistic approach will deliver maximum benefits. The following guide rates are for the supply and installation of a range of floor types. They are neither minimum or maximum values, but reflect rates typically seen in tenders received. No allowance has been made for any sundry costs associated with protection and storage on site or power provision for installation.