UniFace to Uni Floor: ACO’s Access Covers Make the Cut at University of Nottingham Renovation

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The University of Nottingham’s Florence Boot Hall is a student accommodation property that can house 200 students per year. The building is currently undergoing major improvement works to refresh its look and upgrade the building services. As part of the renovation project, access covers were needed at various points along the ground floor of the building, allowing easy access to plumbing and electrics.

The ground floor of Florence Boot Hall was positioned on a latticework of timber joists. Due to this, specialist contractor Spiral Joinery took the lead on the access covers’ installation. A key challenge arose when it was discovered that the access covers originally specified had been temporarily discontinued and therefore a new solution was needed. This presented two problems: firstly, Spiral Joinery needed to source new products fast to keep the project moving and prevent delays. Along with this, openings of 600mm had been factored into the plans and were already part of the timber joists, so the new covers needed to be an exact match.

Selecting a suitable solution

Intended for communal spaces such as common rooms and dining areas, the access covers needed to be able to sit flush with the finished floor and not interrupt the building’s aesthetics once the renovation was complete. They would be used to perform necessary routine plumbing maintenance beneath the floor. After searching several suppliers, Chris Leggett of Spiral Joinery found that ACO offered cost-effective access covers that were ideal for the project.

Soon after Chris contacted ACO. Liam Watkins, Technical Sales Coordinator at ACO Access called to talk through the parameters of the project, ensuring that the right product would be recommended. Following a consultation, Liam recommended UniFace AL SHALLOW Recessed Access Covers, which were quickly approved by the project manager and deemed safe by a structural engineer.

The UniFace AL SHALLOW Access Covers come with liquid and odour-tight seals and offer optimum cover security, meaning that, even in well-trafficked parts of Florence Boot Hall, there is little risk of unwanted ingress of any kind. Their versatile design means that they can be made to blend in with almost any design aesthetic without compromising on usability or safety.

One of the key challenges was to ensure the solution fitted into the existing plans, particularly because ACO’s UniFace AL SHALLOW Recessed Access Covers are aluminium based. Despite the product being slightly bigger than those originally specified, ACO’s technical team worked with Spinal Joinery to suggest an approach that would allow the installation. To ensure the product could be installed securely, an extra 10mm rebate was formed into the timber joists, meaning the access covers fitted perfectly.

Assistance key to success

Chris Leggett of Spinal Joinery said: “Working with ACO was great. We were able to talk through exactly what we needed, and they made sure they really understood the job before making the recommendation to use the UniFace Access Covers and were available to offer technical support at every stage of the process. Ultimately, we went with ACO because they made the whole process easy, and supply was quick.”

Liam Watkins said: “The Florence Boot Hall access covers project has been challenging yet highly rewarding to be involved in. The hurdle of rapidly sourcing a suitable product is always a challenge, so it was pleasing that we were able to partner with Spiral Joinery to find a creative and practical solution that met the project requirements. We were very happy to make this part of Florence Boot Hall’s renovation go as smoothly as possible.”

Spiral Joinery ordered an initial batch of access covers and, once seeing the quality of the product and ease of installation, ordered a further consignment to complete the job.

For more about ACO’s Access Cover solutions, please visit http://www.aco.co.uk/accesscovers

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