UK manufacturer Howe Green has supplied its high quality 5000 and 7500 Series stainless steel access covers for The Wintergarden, Bluewater’s newly re-designed food village. Having undergone a multi-million pound redevelopment, The Wintergarden re-opened to shoppers with a new 3,900 sq ft restaurant served by seven big brand food concessions and providing the centre with 50 per cent more covers.
The Howe Green access panels give The Wintergarden an easy and reliable method of accessing the essential building services that supply the new contemporary dining spaces and food preparation areas. Specialist flooring contractor DMC Group carried out the tiling programme and fitted 20 Howe Green covers using a combination of light duty 5000 Series and heavier duty 7500 Series stainless steel access covers in single and multipart configurations.
For an excellent aesthetic finish, they inlaid the access cover frames with Travertine and Limestone tiles to match the surrounding flooring. Designed to sit perfectly flush, the covers pose no trip hazard and are industry proven to withstand heavy foot traffic. 7500 Series covers can also accommodate a load bearing of up to 5 tonne pneumatic tyre wheel loads, ideal where cars and light delivery vehicles need passage. They are resistant to rust and corrosion and double sealed to prevent water ingress and dirt trapping and provide a more hygienic solution with the added peace of mind of trouble-free maintenance and a cleaner floor.
A hinged HSE 75 access cover with gas springs and internal and external release latches was also installed above a machine room in one of the main approaches to the concessions. The HSE 75 stainless steel cover was the perfect solution in an area where a heavier loading combined with the need for regular access was required and health and safety was paramount.
Bespoke tree pit covers were also designed specifically for the project. These custom-made panels and frames facilitate access to the root chamber and make for straightforward maintenance of seven decorative and highly valuable trees, which help bring a touch of the outside in. Importantly from a design perspective, they also enable the flooring to continue uninterrupted to within just millimetres of the tree trunks for a seamless and monolithic effect.
Made from 304-grade stainless steel, each was manufactured to individual size specifications to fit with the tile grid, accommodate light fittings and the tree pit void underneath. Resistant to rust and corrosion, they are also double sealed to prevent moisture or dirt ingress, helping to further protect the tree and keep soil free from contamination.
Howe Green is a customer-focused company and many of their existing access covers have been developed as the result of a request for a solution to a particular access problem or situation. Tree pit covers were originally developed to answer such a need but have since been specified for many prestigious interior and exterior landscape projects including One Hyde Park, the Broadgate development and Heathrow’s T5.
“Working with Howe Green is always a good experience and The Wintergarden looks excellent” said David McCartney of The DMC Group “The covers are all made to order so there’s never any issues. We know that when we place the order they’re going to fit and that we can take delivery within days. Installation on site is easier too because the covers are such good quality”.