Floors can be beguiling because one does not readily associate new, solid concrete floor slabs with all the costly problems that could arise through lack of initial thought and subsequent neglect of annual care/hygiene issues. The result often is that floors are regarded as so tough that they can be left alone with no need for annual maintenance budgets.

Joints may numerically be the greatest cause of floor problems in a modern warehouse but the most costly single cause of floor problems arises from subsidence issues. On top of the major floor quality issues there are many others that need attention, like the suitability of the floor covering for specific work operations.

Fortunately, advances in floor repair techniques make remedial work much shorter, less disruptive and much cheaper.

Given that sometimes when new floors are laid they require almost immediate replacement, when considering a new project it makes sense to begin by closely vetting your floor supplier, because the quality of these suppliers varies widely, which could account for wide variances in the quotes for the job. Accepting the cheapest quote may deliver a short-term financial benefit but with far costlier, longterm maintenance and operational issues.

To reduce such risks choose a specialist flooring contractor to take responsibility for the complete flooring package from design through production, making sure they have appropriate insurance guarantees. If there are quality deficiencies in the floor slab because clients have compromised on materials quality, for example, then remember that quality deficiencies cannot be eradicated and costly compromises are often the only solution.

As with any flooring quotes it’s crucial that you are comparing like with like. One common mistake is comparing traditional ‘sawn-cut’ slabs against a ‘jointless’ SFRC slab. The latter contains only metalarmoured joints every 40-50 mts compared with every six mts for sawn-cut joints. This is important because hard-wheeled MHE that constantly move over sawn-induced joints will break down the joints as there is nothing to protect the arris from constant wheel impacts. This could force forklifts to move at subpar speeds, commonly by up to 50%, and so reduce productivity.

The really big potential nightmare is when a warehouse operator is afflicted by dishing or seriously uneven floors owing to sub soil-related problems that can have many costly results. One remedy used to be pile driving but that can be so costly and disruptive as to be ruled out. Fortunately, expanding foam injection techniques from the kind employed by Geobear, formerly Uretek, are up to 10 times faster than other methods and between 50% and 60% cheaper.

If floors need only regrinding to bring them back to operational levels then a fairly new kid on the block, Level Best Concrete Flooring, offers the latest development in remote-controlled, laser screed concrete levelling machines, the Ligchine, an American invention made to be more versatile and user friendly than larger machines. The company also offers it Floor Renovation System (FRS) for removing microscopic layers of substances that make floors look dirty, said to be much superior to resins and paints and much easier to keep clean.