Irish Construction Industry Magazine

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ISSUE 5 2021


ContraCting sustainability rmi infrastruCture l





Director Shane Curran on his plans to make the division the top fit-out firm in the country


Unlocking the potential of Ireland’s retail demolition market


New competition gives students the chance to help design and build Zambia school

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IRISH construction industry


Letter from THE EDITOR The government’s new Housing for All plan promises to deliver over 300,000 homes by 2030. That’s a lot of houses and with construction firms voicing concerns about skills shortages, not to mention historic planning and public procurement issues hampering the sector, it seems like the Department of Housing has set itself a mammoth task. For this issue of ICIM, we caught up with the SCSI’s new President, TJ Cronin, who believes that existing barriers in Ireland’s housebuilding industry need to be addressed before progress can be made. Investment alone won’t provide a solution, he says; measured and effective policies must be put in place if a carefully thought-out system, with as few unintended consequences as possible, is to be delivered. For more on TJ’s views on the government’s new housing policy and his ambitions as SCSI President, turn to page 26. On page 16 of this issue, we spoke with Unbuilders Director Richard Geraghty who aims to make the company the number one demolition firm in the retail space. There are also plans to expand further into the UK and a possible acquisition over the next few months could see a second UK firm added to the Unbuilders portfolio. With employers returning to the office, good office design has never been more important. For this issue, we spoke with Shane Curran, Director at Interiors by Sisk, about trends in the interiors market and why technology is more important than ever. He aims to make Interiors by Sisk the go-to company for the corporate office sector. For more on his plans, turn to page 28. We hope you enjoy this issue and if you have any comments or opinions, we’d love to hear from you: email

Denise Maguire P.S. Don’t forget to join Irish Construction Industry Magazine on Linkedin and share your messages with our platforms. Irish Construction Industry Magazine Publisher: MCD Media Ltd. Managing Editor: Michael McDonnell Editor: Denise Maguire Subscriptions & Circulation, Accounts/Administration: Linda Doran Production & Design: Catherine Kelleher

1st Floor, 103 Newtown Park, Malahide Road Industrial Park, Coolock, Dublin 17. Telephone: 01 8482286 Mobile: 087 4184353 Irish Construction Industry Magazine is circulated to: Architects, Quantity Surveyors, Developers, Contractors, Engineers, Suppliers, Manufacturers and Distributors, Ireland’s Top Construction Companies (as compiled by Irish Construction Industry Magazine), county managers in Ireland’s city and county councils and Government departments. © 2021. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publishers. The views and opinions contained in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publishers. The publishers do not accept responsibility for accuracy, errors or omissions in articles or advertisements, or for unsolicited reports or photographs. Reference in this publication to commercial products, process or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favouring by Irish Construction Industry Magazine. The views and opinions of authors and contributors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of Irish Construction Industry Magazine nor does it assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the information contained or submitted. Want news updates fast and to your PC or device? Sign up for our newsletter and stay informed and up-to-date email:

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CONTENTS News & Industry Analysis 4 News

A look at what’s been happening in Ireland’s construction industry


10 Concrete


The winning Irish entries for the ninth cycle of the International Concrete Design Competition have been announced

14 Housing

CUDA and Initiative Ireland have announced the approval of a new €600m fund for Approved Housing Bodies to support the delivery of 10,000 new homes

18 PMI

Construction firms see further sharp rises in activity and new orders


Features 16 Demolition

ICIM caught up with Director Richard Geraghty to find out why Unbuilders is set to become the go-to demolition firm in the retail space

20 Technology


Construction professionals can promote their services and attract new business on

22 Support

New report from the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity demonstrates vital support for construction community

26 Cover Story

New SCSI President TJ Cronin talks to Denise Maguire about the barriers that may impede the government’s new housing plan and his ambitions for the new role


28 Interiors

ICIM caught up with Sisk Interiors Director Shane Curran to talk about the new division and how he intends to make it the number one fit-out company in Ireland


32 Report

Turner & Townsend’s new market intelligence report shows the Republic of Ireland’s construction industry continues to warm, despite lingering Covid-19 challenges

36 Design

A new competition has given university students the chance to help design and build a school in Zambia


38 Legal

Angelyn Rowan and Laura Mullen take a close look at the government’s new Housing for All plan




IRISH construction industry


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BOLD AMBITIONS angelyn rowan anD laura mullen Take a close look aT The governmenT’s new housing for all plan, DubbeD The ‘single largesT invesTmenT in housing since The 1960’s’


he Housing for All Plan is set to replace the ‘Rebuilding Ireland Strategy’ launched in 2016. In order to address Ireland’s continuing housing crisis, the Plan will require the public and private sector to work together to reach the overall target of 300,000 homes by 2030, the breakdown of which is as follows: • 170,000 homes for the private market • 90,000 social housing units • 36,000 affordable housing units • 18,000 cost rental properties.

An essential feature of this pathway and of the entire Plan is the implementation of the Affordable Housing Act 2021, enacted 21 July 2021. The goal of this Act is to provide support for people on low to moderate incomes in purchasing their first home

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In order to reach the above lofty goals, the State intends to spend €4 billion a year to 2030 on various State interventions and capital investments. The Department of Housing commissioned a report from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ERSI), which indicated that an average of 33,000 new homes needed to be built a year in order for the housing crisis to be successfully addressed by the government. In order to achieve the goal of 33,000 new homes per year, the Plan provides four pathways to achieving four overarching objectives: • Supporting home ownership and increasing affordability • Eradicating homelessness,

increasing social housing delivery and supporting social inclusion • Increasing new housing supply • Addressing vacancy and efficient use of existing stock. An overview of each of these pathways is set out below. 1) Pathway to Supporting Home Ownership and Increasing Affordability An essential feature of this pathway and of the entire Plan is the implementation of the Affordable Housing Act 2021, enacted 21 July 2021. The goal of this Act is to provide support for people on low to moderate incomes in purchasing their first home. The Act also puts a new form of rental tenure called ‘Cost Rental’ homes on a statutory footing, whereby rent is based on the cost of provision rather than on profit maximisation. In addition, there are two new affordable purchase schemes that will be introduced under this pathway: The Local Authority Affordable Purchase Scheme will involve Local Authorities delivering, or facilitating the delivery of, new homes in areas where affordability challenges have been identified. The provisions of this




IRISH construction industry


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HUSQVARNA CONSTRUCTION WILL SOON LAUNCH A NEXT GENERATION BATTERY POWER CUTTER wiTh k1 pace, husqvarna Takes a big sTep forwarD anD offers cusTomers a high power baTTery cuTTer ThaT can hanDle The heavy DuTy Jobs. This is The firsT proDucT To be launcheD on The company's new baTTery sysTem, pace

What we are presenting today is a breakthrough in the market for power cutters. We are extremely proud to introduce a high power battery cutter that fully supports the transition to low-carbon economy the construction industry needs," says Mattias Holmdahl, Global Product Manager Power Cutters at Husqvarna Construction. With more than 60 years of experience as a power cutter manufacturer and with a leading position in handheld cutters, Husqvarna Construction has the expertise it takes to lead the development from petrol to battery powered equipment. With K1 PACE customers can expect power and performance equivalent to petrolpowered cutters with all the additional benefits battery powered equipment brings to both operators and the environment. “We see an increasing number of construction companies striving for carbon-neutral workplaces and as a leading supplier we feel a responsibility to contribute, together with our partners and customers, towards greater sustainability.” The PACE battery system can be utilized for more machines as the battery-powered family expands. In addition to the power cutters and battery system, diamond blades in

12" and 14"/300 and 350 mm have been optimized for battery operation. The machine is also equipped with X-Halt® brake function capable of stopping the rotation of a blade in a fraction of a second for enhanced safety. “We know what it takes to do the high demanding jobs done, and we do not compromise on quality and safety. With K1 PACE, customers get a high-performance battery power cutter that provides zero direct emissions. They can expect lower vibrations, smoother cutting and that the machine's low weight and optimal centre of gravity help reduce the strain on their body.” If you are intrigued by the K1 PACE reach out to one of our Area Business Managers who will be able to facilitate your questions and / or provide a demo; Shane Leavy 087 091 7184 Carlow, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Louth, Meath, Offaly, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath, Wexford, Wicklow Paul Burke 087 640 0811 Cavan, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Galway, Kerry, Leitrim, Limerick, Longford, Mayo, Monaghan, Roscommon, Sligo




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IRISH construction industry


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IRISH construction industry


Constructing an enormous three-level basement right on the Bayswater Road in central London is not a job to be undertaken lightly and for that reason, specialist groundworks and concrete frame contractor Modebest knew it needed the best temporary works support solution available. Modebest is constructing the basement for Park Modern, a new £450 million residential development with views over Kensington Gardens. The development, by main contractor Ant Yapi UK for developer Fenton Whelan, will deliver over 57 luxury apartments over 176,000sq ft plus 30,000sq ft of commercial space. Located on a site bordered by Bayswater Road, Queensway and Inverness Terrace, the development is surrounded by busy roads and adjoining buildings. And to further complicate things, London Underground’s Central Line passes under the Bayswater Road, parallel to the excavation’s southern retaining wall. Support for the excavation, which measures 65m x 25m x 15m deep, is provided by more than 30 of Groundforce’s modular hydraulic props. The props, which include some of the company’s heaviest MP750 units, are braced against a waling beam comprising Super Mega Brace units to support the secant piled retaining wall. Construction of the basement commenced in late summer last year with installation of a guide wall followed by construction of a secant-piled retaining wall comprising 1,000mm diameter piles at 1,200mm centres. Temporary kingposts were installed in certain locations to support the capping beam, which was then constructed. Excavation then commenced and in September the first props for Level 1 were installed. The propping solution is planned in three phases to accommodate the three levels of support required. Level 1, which began in September 2020, will continue until the last props are removed in July this year. Props for Level 2 started going to site in during October 2020 with the last ones offhired in May. The Level 3 props were installed in November 2020 and removed following construction of the basement slab in April 2021. In total, 33 Groundforce props will have been used to support the excavation. Level 1 uses fourteen MP250 units, each with a rated load capacity of 250 tonnes. Five of these props, spanning the central section of the basement, range in length from about 17m to 23m. To

ensure sufficient stiffness over such long spans, these units employ 1,220mm diameter Super Tubes instead of the standard 610mm diameter extension tubes. Level 2 also employed fourteen props: three MP250s (of which one features Super Tube extensions), seven MP375s (375 tonne capacity) of which four had Super Tubes; and four of the largest MP750 props, each with a load capacity of 750 tonnes and each featuring Super Tubes. Level 3, at the bottom of the excavation, was supported by three MP250s and two MP750s and all props used Super Tubes. Groundforce’s Super Mega Brace was used around the perimeter at all three levels: Levels 1 & 2 each used 150m of Super Mega Brace, while Level 3 used 50m. One large section of bespoke steel waler beam was also incorporated at all three levels. The project is notable not only for the scale of the temporary support equipment deployed, but also for its exacting technical requirements. “The job involves high loads and has very onerous deflection criteria,” explains Mark Whitmore, General Manager (Major Projects) with Groundforce. “To keep prop count to a minimum the highest capacity props on the market were needed.” Because of the close proximity of occupied buildings and a live underground tunnel, ground movement has had to be limited to the absolute minimum and constantly monitored. The props themselves, besides being given a visual inspection on a weekly basis, employ Groundforce’s own remote load monitoring system to detect any

movement or change in loadings. Two props at each level were fitted with the system, which constantly monitors the situation and automatically sends an alert via SMS or email if set criteria are exceeded. On this project, the design criteria required that a movement in the secant piled wall of as little as 25mm would trigger an ‘amber’ alert to require investigation and possible remedial action. A ‘red’ alert would be triggered by 30mm of deflection – resulting in an immediate halt to all work pending investigation. Michael Brennan, Managing Director of Modebest said “The success of the project to date is a testament to the collaborative, open minded approach we adopt to problem solving at Modebest and Groundforce have been a key partner in this journey.“ The design process was extremely complex and involved multi-party discussions over many months,” explains Mark Whitmore. Key to these discussions were the local authority (Westminster City Council) and the project’s consulting engineer AKT II. According to Mark, in winning this prestige contract, Groundforce benefited from a good working relationship with Modebest: “We’ve worked with Modebest before on a large job at Canary Wharf where we employed 65m-long props supported on mid-span supports – another very complex application,” he explains. Despite the complexity, the temporary support package has encountered no serious obstacles and all three phases have proceeded as planned and the programme has remained on track, reports Mark. Issue 5 2021 45

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Sometimes we need a little extra help getting by in life and a staircase is no exception. The George Quinn Ltd Wall Mounted Stair Handrail Kit is a product which is ideal for any home. When added to the wall side of your staircase it provides that added element of safety as an extra support for children or the elderly, it has also been used on staircases which rise between two walls further proving its versatility. The kit is an all in one package which includes a pre-finished oak handrail with brushed nickel brackets and end caps. All components come in one handy box and the system is very easy to install. It is designed with safety, durability and convenience in mind and also compliments the existing staircase. Whether it is out of concern for a vulnerable person within your home or simply for added peace of mind then the George Quinn Ltd Wall Mounted Handrail Kit is the perfect choice. For further information on our ranges visit or contact 04730093 for a list of stockists in your area.

WAVIN PUSH-FIT HEP2O BRINGS FLEXIBILITY AND SECURITY TO PLUMBING INSTALLATIONS Wavin Push-fit Hep2O is a flexible push fit plumbing system developed for domestic potable water, hot & cold plumbing along with central heating or underfloor heating applications. For the last 40 years Wavin Push-fit plumbing systems (Irish Acorn) have been at the forefront of plumbing in Ireland. Since 2011 the Wavin Hep2O plumbing system with a 50year guarantee along with many patented features enabling quick and easy installation is the no1 choice for many plumbers. Wavin Push-fit Hep2O is a white pipe that comes both in Imperial (½”, ¾” and 1”) and Metric (15mm,22mm and 28mm) sizes and the wrapping is colour coded for ease of identification. The pipe is available in 6m straight lengths or coils. and is fully compatible with copper. A unique characteristic of Wavin Pushfit Hep2O pipe coil is its remarkable ability to remain straight once uncoiled-‘lay flat’ pipe technology. This unique characteristic is a result of the material used which is Polybutylene (PB). PB has very different properties to Cross-linked Polyethylene (PEX). PEX pipe is relatively stiff and when taken from the coil retains a ‘spring’ like quality, which can make it difficult to work with, particularly on long runs 46 ISSUE 5 2021

and installations through joists or floors. The Hep2O (PB) pipe has great flexibility, good impact resistance, an operating temperature to 95°C and pressure resistance of 6 bar. Wavin’s In4Sure patented feature ensures installer confidence with a simple insert, twist and feel the rumble for leak free connections which are tamper proof. The HepKey demounting system enables total flexibility for any system adjustments. The Wavin Hep2O Smart Sleeve Pipe support is made from 316 stainless steel, with a low insertion force, maintains the rigidity of the pipe within the fitting and provides the joint recognition. Also the thinner wall insert enables greater flow rates at the fittings. Wavin Push-fit Hep2O meets the requirements of Class S of BS 7291, parts 1 and 2 and is manufactured within a Quality Management System which satisfies EN ISO 9002. It is also approved by WRAS – deemed safe for use in the supply of drinking water. To obtain a free sample pack go to and for further information contact the Wavin Technical Design team




IRISH construction industry


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MANNOK’S €2.1 MILLION POST-BREXIT INVESTMENT TO INCREASE BAGGED CEMENT OUTPUT Mannok has invested a further €2.1 million in its cement bagging facilities with the acquisition of state-of-the-art technology which will double the output capacity of the company’s weatherproof bagged cement product range. The recent outlay is one of a number of key investments for Mannok this year which align with the company’s growth plans on both sides of the Irish Sea. Leading German brand, Haver & Boecker were contracted to design and manufacture a new ROTO-PACKER® ADAMS® 10 spout bag filling system for packing powdery products in weatherproof bags and a new automatic film reel changer, designed to run at 1,200 bags per hour. The new machinery has been fully integrated into Mannok’s existing line in order to expand the packing capacity. Installation of the industry leading technology was completed in Q2 of this year after eight weeks of installation and is now in production. The latest phase of investment will give Mannok the capacity to bag c50 tonnes of cement in weatherproof bags per hour. This is addition to a similar packing capacity for traditional paper bags. Clean filling, coupled with the packaging’s tearresistance, means waste is minimised and ensures a clean working atmosphere, and thus high protection for operating personnel. The latest acquisition sees the company’s overall investment in its cement bagging facilities over the last 3 years reach over €5m, following an initial multi-million euro investment in

Mannok CEO, Liam McCaffrey and Cement Manager, TP Feehan, join the company’s Irish Sales Team at its Cement plant

2018, when the installation of Mannok’s first weatherproof bagging line enabled the successful launch of its extended bagged cement range. Despite the twin challenges of Brexit and Covid, the demand for Mannok’s popular bagged cement products remains high on both sides of the Irish Sea. The sustained success of the range in both the UK and Irish markets has prompted the recent investment to double the output capacity of the popular weatherproof bagged products. Joining the company’s Irish Sales Team on a plant visit to see the new technology in action, Mannok CEO, Liam McCaffrey, commented, “This is a major investment in our Cement operations which completes the second phase of our investment in our weatherproof bagging line, upgrading it from a single to a double bagging line with a significant increase in output capacity. Our initial investment to bring our weatherproof

PE bags to the market was in response to demand from GB based merchants and we later introduced the bags to the Irish market, where the response was equally positive. We’ve seen customers moving to the weatherproof bags because they’re a cleaner solution which helps reduce product waste and ensure healthier, dust-free surroundings. The packaging also offers greater flexibility, allowing outdoor storage without concern about weather conditions thanks to the tear-resistant and easy handling waterproof bags. The success of the bags in both UK and Irish markets gave us the impetus to invest further in order to increase our output and, despite the challenges presented by Covid and Brexit, we have followed through with our investment plan, demonstrating our commitment to continued growth on both sides of the Irish Sea and placing us in a strong position for the new post-Brexit landscape.”





IRISH construction industry


John Sisk & Son is pleased to announce the appointment of Shane Curran as Director of its newly established interior fitout division: Interiors by Sisk. Sisk has a depth of experience in the fit-out sector over many years delivering small and large scale projects having recently completed major projects for JP Morgan, Deloitte and the IDA. Interiors by Sisk has been established to develop an independently managed fitout offering within the fitout sector across Ireland. It will deliver a client focused experience aligned with the highest expectations and standards of quality required to meet the needs of all stakeholders within the fitout sector and is seen as a strong growth prospect for the business. Commenting on the appointment and the establishment of the new division Donal McCarthy, Chief Operating Officer, John Sisk & Son,

Ireland and Europe said: “I am delighted to welcome Shane to the company and see the great progress he is already making in building his team at Interiors by Sisk. We recognised the opportunity to provide clients with an end-to-end service and Interiors by Sisk will continue to deliver the quality and excellence associated with the John Sisk & Son name.” Shane will be responsible for overseeing the operational running of the new division and will ensure all projects are completed to the highest standard. Shane is an industry leader in interior fitout with almost 20 years industry experience across Europe & the Middle East. He is passionate about fitout and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this sector through his innovative approach, use of technology and sustainable solutions to exceed the expectations of the interior fit-out sector in Ireland. Shane Curran,

Director, Interiors by Sisk said: “I am excited to start this journey within John Sisk & Son. I look forward to working with the team of talented, enthusiastic professionals both within Interiors by Sisk and the wider Sisk business. People are at the core of everything we do, and I want to nurture a collaborative workspace where an environment of transparency & inclusivity will play a pivotal role.” For more information or to contact Interiors by Sisk see /interiorsbysisk Issue 5 2021 47

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INSTALLING THE WAVIN WATERLESS TRAP SAVES SPACE When you need a waste trap that can save space and prevent foul sewer gases from entering a building, the Wavin HepvO valve is an alternative to a conventional plumbing water trap. HepvO is a unique waterless self-sealing waste trap/valve. Its slimline design makes it a perfect space saving solution for a range of requirements, It can be installed vertically or horizontally in a range of situations including sinks, wash basins, showers and under baths (without cutting in the floor) and is easy to use in tight spaces. It is ideal for modern minimalist bathroom or kitchen designs. Its smooth lines means that the HepvO valve has a very limited impact on the overall look of a space and can be left exposed without creating an eyesore. If properties are left unoccupied for long periods of time, or drainage systems aren’t properly maintained, the

typical ‘U’ trap with a water seal can sometimes dry out and fail, meaning sewer gases can make their way back into living spaces. This is a common issue for holiday homes or properties left vacant. Also it may be a concern for facilities managers and those responsible for hygiene in commercial spaces as many of them have been unused since early 2020. HepvO waterless trap prevents foul

odours from a waste discharge system entering a building and actively maintains the air pressure equilibrium in the branch waste pipework, by allowing the admittance of air into the system. The unique design of HepvO waterless trap means there’s no U-bend in which waste material can potentially build-up causing blockages and smells. Tests have proven that not even soaps, detergents, hair, or food particles can block the HepvO valve. HepvO valve is the plumber’s problem solver for foul odours and siphonage issues. To find out more about the range of key benefits for builders and installers visit s/hepvo-waste-valves and watch the “How to” videos or contact


For businesses, social distancing and home working has meant staff have not had the ability to connect. We know anxieties and lockdown have had an impact on people’s health and wellbeing. For charities, the pandemic and cancelled events have had a profound effect on their ability to generate funds. As such, on the 1st of January 2021 the staff of Colinwell Masonry & Retaining Wall products embarked on a 100 day step challenge organized by, a social good startup. The aim was for each member of Colinwell staff to walk one million steps in one hundred days and to raise money for local Belfast charity PIPS (Suicide Prevention and Bereavement Support Services). Together the Colinwell staff

walked 5367677 steps or 2683 miles which is more than the distance between Belfast to Halifax, Canada! AND raised a stunning £2000! Renne Quinn Executive Director of PIPS said, “Thank you so much to the staff at Colinwell for taking on the one million steps challenge, all the money raised will enable us to continue to provide lifesaving support to those who need us in their darkest moments. Thank you.” Michael McGuigan, Sales Director of Colinwell, commented, “We are delighted to have been able to support PIPS, in what has been a difficult period for charities. The work that PIPS does is invaluable, and we are honoured to have played a small role in enabling that incredible work to go further.”


In recent years R-Tek Manufacturing have seen a rapid growth in their commercial and retail flooring ranges. They offer both industrial and retail options in their R-Tile, Design Tile, and new Urban Tile. This new product release sees the introduction of the Urban Tile collection being added to the retail flooring options. The Urban tile is a loose lay interlocking floor system that boasts several stone effect finishes. The Urban Tile is a heterogeneous, 100% recycled PVC, heavy-duty interlocking 6.5mm tile. This robust tile is suitable for high traffic retail areas. The commercial classification is 34. The Urban Tile is suitable for wheeled traffic up to 1200kg and can be quickly installed over poor subfloors, making this tile the perfect flooring for renovation projects. 48 ISSUE 5 2021

The range was designed with business in mind with its quick and easy install and even easier cleaning and maintenance. This all means less time wasted and more important it can be installed when stores and spaces are live with no disturbance to business. The final and most important element is all this time saved means a positive effect on finances. The new range has been well received by large supermarket chains and retail manufacturers worldwide. As well as offering businesses time and money saving benefits the Urban Tile offers practical advantages such as an excellent slip rating and the ability to handle heavy weights such as pallet trucks and trolleys. The makeup of the tile means it reduces noise and absorbs falling items much better than traditional ceramic tiles.

For more information on the new Urban Tile range visit our new commercial and retail flooring website Our sales team are ready to answer any further questions or offer technical help.




IRISH construction industry


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