Project Management: 6 Critical Steps for Successful Installation

In commercial flooring,  project management depends on 6 steps for successful installation.

So much of our work goes unseen as revealed by the pictures below.

Project management has always been our most important service offering. For over 18 years we have executed very large, complex projects to small installations. Our proven process ensures your installation experience is seamless, while offering minimal disruption to your employees.

As we continually work with end users, general contractors, property managers, interior designers, and architects our project management process is comprehensive. Here is our 6-step process which delivers minimal disruption to our clients while providing quality installation.

6 Key Project Management Steps for Successful Flooring Installation

  1. Assessment

Our seasoned staff understands the intricacies involved with many different types of corporate flooring environments. We first assess the needs of your project via an onsite visit. This helps us mitigate the possible issues that can arise by examining the flooring surface. We then determine the preparation and materials required.

carpet tile installation

Darwin Fisher project management and carpet removal and installation

“The biggest concern our clients want us to address is the associated logistics,” says Doug McDonald, President of Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring. “We offer minimal disruption to our clients. This includes understanding the details of site preparation, installation, and post maintenance issues that make each job unique. We thoroughly investigate each challenge, pairing it with a solution customized to fit our client’s exact needs.”

  1. Scope and Materials

Once we have collected all of the requirements, we recommend products that are optimal for your site. We then provide a detailed plan with an associated budget related to project execution. We use software which creates a graphic representation of how the materials are applied to the floor plan. These colour coded plans help our clients to easily conceptualize what is being proposed.

Project Management

Darwin Fisher in progress dental office flooring installation

  1. Budgeting and Planning

Our software then allows us to produce line item proposals for our clients. This is used to track the status of the project as it moves through the implementation cycle. This is especially critical when timelines are constantly moving or when the circumstances associated with a specific installation change. It’s also an important tool for closely tracking a project and costs when there are fluctuating changes due to other trades on site.

As part of this process, product performance/cost ratios are provided to clients to ensure that the budget meets all project parameters. After the product is chosen, verification samples are provided to confirm the product is representative of what the designer/client requires. This eliminates any material errors before work starts.

Project Management

Project management: Budgeting and planning

  1. On-Site Project Management

When the project is initiated, materials are ordered and delivered to the warehouse. See why this is important in our previous blog post and how it helped our client – Pusateri’s Fine Foods.

We’ve made our warehouse an integral part of our operations as it not only acts a place to store product but offers a location to prepare and ship orders. Inventory management is important as it offers a wide array of benefits. This provides extra value to our customers as it allows for the right product to be available and delivered to the right place, at that right time.

project planning and flooring

Darwin Fisher sub floor prep for an LVT installation

Darwin Fisher projects are generally turnkey but if delays are encountered, including equipment, electrical and plumbing problems, project timelines can become offset. The warehouse ensures a project will run smoothly as it provides the flexibility to have both materials and experts on site at a moment’s notice.

Once the project begins, we continually make sure our project managers are on site to offer proactive solutions should any problems arise. Our seasoned staff work with all on-site trades/contractors assigned. This ensures transparent co-ordination of activities, while meeting schedules and budget demands. We are always there to answer questions and to make sure the project is running according to plan. By continually being an onsite resource for our client, any issues can be dealt with quickly.

Pictured below is our Fuzion Flooring LVT product installation for Procon Construction.

Project Management

Darwin Fisher final LVT installation finishing details

  1. Post Installation

Once the project is complete, we accompany our client on a site walk through to ensure all project specifications are met. Our goal is to have our client completely satisfied with the final result. To see examples of our client work please click here.

  1. Warranty

Our clients are then provided with the flooring maintenance requirements and warranty manuals for all products installed. Although, the project may by complete, our after-service commitment to our clients is ongoing to ensure the highest quality and customer satisfaction for partner network.

For information on your next commercial build or renovation, please contact info@darwinfisher.com

 

2022 Dental Office Trends: Porcelain Tile Continues to Gain Traction

Dental office porcelain tile installation has continued to increase in 2022 as dentists move away from linoleum and ceramic tile – which is becoming obsolete.

A recent research report from  Research and Markets  released in April of this year, states the global ceramic tiles market is expected to reach USD 656.25 billion by 2030, expanding at a CAGR of 7.1% during the forecast period.

The availability of ceramic tiles in a wide range of products including porcelain, glazed, and scratch-free ceramic tiles, coupled with their superior properties including durability, rigidity, and abrasion resistance, is expected to propel the product demand over the forecast period along with increased demand in construction. The durability and enhanced lifespan offered by these tiles are likely to increase their utility in high-traffic commercial construction applications. Technological advancements in the manufacturing process have introduced customization options in color, size, texture, and dimensions, thus likely gaining high traction in residential and commercial building renovation projects.

Specifically, the demand for porcelain ceramic tile is expected to witness a CAGR of 7.6% over the estimated time due to durability and enhanced aesthetics.

dental office porcelain tile

Porcelain Tile and Ceramic – What is the difference?

The differences between porcelain tile and ceramic tile can be confusing. According to the Tile Council of North America, the industry group that decides whether a tile is porcelain or ceramic, everything boils down to whether the tile can meet a set of highly controlled water absorption criteria.

In November 2007, the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA) and the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) launched the Porcelain Tile Certification Agency (PTCA) to certify porcelain tile.

According to the PTCA,  porcelain tile is defined as an impervious tile with a water absorption of 0.5% or less as measured by the ASTM C373 test method. There is tile being sold in the market which does not meet this standard despite it being advertised and sold as porcelain tile. This has led to marketplace confusion, installation problems and liability concerns due to misrepresentation.

Commercial flooring contractor Toronto

Under the PTCA certification program, manufacturers who want to prove that their tile is porcelain — meeting the 0.5% water absorption criteria — can have their product tested to determine compliance with that requirement. They may then use the PTCA certification mark on their product packaging, marketing materials, etc., as confirmation of that compliance.

Dental Office Porcelain Tile: Six Benefits that Increase Demand

Porcelain tile has become more popular because it offers many benefits when it comes to high traffic and long-term maintenance.

  1. Porcelain tile is harder and denser than ceramic products and are also highly resistant to damage such as stains, scratches, and chips.
  2.  This tile is also frost and moisture proof.
  3. As porcelain absorbs very little water, it is much easier to clean and disinfect. If stronger chemicals are required, it can withstand harsher solvents.
  4. The finish is protected and requires no polishing, sealing, or waxing and can been cleaned with a damp cloth.
  5. Due to the hard finish of this product, porcelain is also a great investment for heavy foot traffic areas, as it is very resistant to wear and tear.
  6. Porcelain is digitally printed making the design options virtually endless. Many different types of natural surfaces can be mimicked including wood, stone, and marble

 

Dental office flooring

Dental Office Porcelain Tile Care and Maintenance

Porcelain has slightly better water resistance and is easy to clean and maintain by damp-mopping with a mild water-soap solution. Porcelain is made of clays that are less porous than ceramic clays. The hard surface is more impervious to moisture than ceramic tile and increases durability heavy traffic and use areas. Chip a porcelain tile, and the color continues all the way through; as a result, the damage is nearly invisible. Porcelain maintenance only requires a daily damp mop and periodic sealing of the grout lines. As it offers solid color throughout, porcelain tiles are stronger and more durable, and chips are less likely to be visible.

Dental Office Porcelain Tile Popular but LVT is Still in Demand

Despite new demand for porcelain tile, LVT is still a highly sought-after material as it can replicate the appearance of natural stone or wood but will not wear like natural materials. It won’t chip or discolour and will not expand and contract as wood does in humid or dry seasons. It can also replicate wood and stone at a fraction of the price. Products made from 100% vinyl and porcelain tile are now classified as green solutions and eligible for LEED points. LVT is also more economical from an initial cost perspective (supply + install) over porcelain tile and ceramic.

commercial flooring contractors Toronto

LVT is still quite popular as it offers superior thermal and acoustic properties in comparison to hard surface flooring. Plus, it’s easy to maintain and repair. Since the pandemic these flooring options are also more sought after as they are much easier to sanitize and clean making them better suited to the healthcare environment.

dental office flooring trends

Dental Office Trends: LVT Has Benefits in Terms of Standing

Loose lay LVT has many of the same performance attributes of traditional LVT but goes above and beyond with other benefits that make it a better option. Loose lay is also fast becoming an ideal product for raised access flooring that are typical to new office builds. It can be easily removed and replaced when needed to areas that require constant or frequent access. Its flexibility allows it to be adapted to be installed over other existing flooring materials for retrofits. It is also now thick enough that it can be laid to be flush with other products in the area such as carpet, hardwood or tile if required for transition areas in dental office flooring.

Due the fact that it requires minimal adhesive when compared to traditional LVT, Loose lay has also become the preferred flooring choice as it is easier to install, remove and replace in terms of maintenance and spot fixing if required. Loose lay also offers better acoustic properties than traditional LVT. The thickness and textured surface help to absorb sounds which is also ideal for optimizing privacy between patient examination areas.

dental office trends

Dental Offices Continue to Have a Residential Feel

One of the first concepts to consider before all else is the flooring for a new build or retrofit. It will dictate the tone as it will set the style and comfort a dentist wants for his/her patients.

As you can see from the pictures that accompany this article, dental offices are no longer cold and clinical. There have been many changes over the past several years and it all starts with the flooring which has trended largely towards LVT and porcelain tile in the last few years.

For more information about dental offices and flooring installation solutions please contact info@darwinfisher.com

To see a related article regarding commercial flooring trends, click here.

 

 

 

Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractors: 8 Critical Things to Look For

Finding a reputable commercial flooring contractor may seem like a daunting task, however, it’s not difficult if you know what to look for. It’s important to do your due diligence which extends beyond  a simple Google search.

There are many things to consider to ensure your final installation choice is a sound one. Reputable commercial flooring contractors have a proven track record in delivering a variety of solutions for distinct commercial spaces. Professionals with this expertise understand the challenges and demands of different types of projects spanning from renovations to new builds. They will be able to handle all aspects from design right through to installation.

A reputable commercial flooring contractor will be the one who will offer options, point out pitfalls and educate you so that your project is a success. Below we have outlined 8 key things to look for that will ensure your needs are met and that the project is a success – including the firm’s longevity, past history, product knowledge and overall service offering.

1. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Shows Project Work and Shares References

Finding a contractor is more than a Google search that offers options nearest you. A firm with a good reputation and references to share is a good first start.

Natural Stone Commercial Flooring Toronto

Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring IMAX installation

You will want to ensure that they are adept at surveying the location in question and how that relates to the type of flooring to be installed. They will examine any possible flooring concerns through an initial onsite meeting.

2. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Stays on Time and on Budget

Your contractor will help in evaluating product performance/cost ratios to ensure a budget meets all the targets of a project.

reputable commercial flooring contractors

Make sure your contractor will ensure a budget meets all the targets of a project.

Proposals should provide line item budgets that capture the detail of site preparation and installation factors, post installation maintenance and the many details that make a job unique. This approach ensures the tracking of the status of the project as it moves through the implementation cycle which will be important for staying on time and within budget parameters.

3. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Manages Resources On Site

Ensure your reputable commercial flooring contractor uses qualified installers and will designate a project manager that will be on site to monitor the project as it unfolds. A seasoned team is required to work with other on-site trades to ensure efficient co-ordination of activities. There are complexities associated with scheduling when combined with working with a variety of different trades that can affect day to day outcomes.

Acoustic Flooring Toronto

Qualified installers are critical to project success.

When there are no gaps in communication it will help to alleviate problems before they occur and allow your contractor to suggest alternatives and recommendations. This ensures that your requirements are efficiently and effectively executed.

4. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Has Good Product Knowledge

It’s important for commercial flooring contractors to have positive and long-standing relationships with the manufacturer’s brands they carry. True flooring specialists will have in-depth knowledge of the products that they install. They will make recommendations for your specific project and advise what type of products will offer the best performance. For example we deal with Mohawk Group, Mannington CommercialMilliken and Tarkett, amongst other manufacturers.

Understanding the challenges associated with life expectancy, appearance retention and ongoing maintenance are issues that require consideration. Installing the wrong product can create many issues. Prior to installation, a good flooring contractor will help with providing product characteristic data which will help to mitigate future problems – from the sub floor to surface.

5.  A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Minimizes Disruption and Downtime

Reputable commercial flooring contractors will look for ways to minimize or eliminate downtime and disruption.  Darwin Fisher offers technology called Levitate –  an Office Lifting System that allows carpet to be replaced with no downtime. Levitate is a series of custom designed mechanical tools which are placed underneath any type of office furniture to lift it smoothly and safely. Once the furniture and workstations are raised the carpet is quickly and easily installed without disruption to employee workstations.

6. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Has A Warehouse to Help Lower Costs

Having a warehouse is also an important value add. The flexibility and functionality of a warehouse helps improve customer service, lower costs and offers the availability to have the right products delivered, at the right place and time. It can also be used to  store products that need longer lead times when being shipped from overseas. It is also helpful if there are several iterations of a larger project which require the phasing in of a variety of flooring materials, and longer-term storage is needed.

commercial flooring contractors toronto

Having a warehouse helps to reduce costs/logistical issues related to scheduling, while managing inventory.

7. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Understands Manufacturer Warranty

Inquire about after sales and installation service. Reputable contractors with good relationships with manufacturers will be registered and understand warranty information as an authorized dealer.

8. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Stands Behind Completed Work

Your contractor should  be with you every step and long after the project is complete. If there are any issues after installation, a good contactor will stand behind their work and remedy the problem.

Go further than a simple Google search. Ensure your chosen contractor has  experience, longevity, is financially stable and can offer an array of past projects and references. This will ensure your satisfaction and project success.

For a free consultation on your next flooring installation please contact info@darwinfisher.com.

 

 

Covid-19 Flooring Disinfection and How It Impacts Your Installation Choices

As Covid-19 continues into 2021, many flooring manufacturers are introducing new solutions, materials and finishes to increase social distancing. However, selecting the right application for your installation goes well beyond the product chosen. Covid-19 flooring disinfection will impact your flooring considerations to include long-term functionality, daily employee traffic flow and maintenance.

As there is now more demand for cleaning and sterilization, understanding how this impacts flooring in terms of life expectancy, appearance retention and ongoing maintenance also needs to be considered as installing the wrong product could lead to future issues.

Covid-19 Flooring Disinfection and Impact

‘As we continue to live with COVID-19, there’s an increased emphasis on maintaining flooring, with services on offer that are designed to keep floors clean—and virus-free. From protocols, to equipment and disinfectants, there’s plenty to consider when deciding on the proper cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting of commercial flooring,” states Floor Trends Magazine in a recent article.

The article goes onto say that more data about how chemicals will affect interior finishes is required as there aren’t enough long-term studies regarding how these disinfectants will affect specific materials over time.  For this reason, there is a greater need for flooring manufacturers to provide more information about what chemicals can be safely used on floor surfaces as disinfection becomes a regular part of the care process. This relates specifically to how this could impact warranty.

Covid-19 flooring disinfection

How disinfection can impact your flooring choices

Covid-19 and Social Distancing Flooring Solutions

Leading applications provide different levels of wear and tear and also vary in design and aesthetic impact. For example, carpet tile technology has progressed to absorb sound and offers cushioning for employees who frequently stand. Carpet tile provides greater flexibility for installation and refitting for a variety of applications across many industries including healthcare, hospitality, retail, education and the entertainment industry.

Mohawk Group Nutopia 2.0 and Milliken  Social Factor  and other manufacturers now providing navigational flooring solutions using carpet tile. Carpet tile has extra cushion and vinyl backing so that it doesn’t easily unravel. Carpet tile is also  extremely durable and spot areas can be quickly changed without requiring additional installation expertise. Many manufacturers are now offering social distancing carpet tile solutions to help mitigate employee anxiety and direct traffic flow. In general, the cleaning and maintenance costs of carpet are relatively low, requiring regular vacuuming and an occasional deep cleaning. How Covid-19 will impact the cleaning and maintenance of carpet tile will depend on the location, amount of traffic and demands of the space where installation occurs.

Covid-19 Flooring Disinfection

How Covid-19 will impact carpet installation

VCT offers both style and functionality. It is budget conscious and easy to install, repair and offers simple daily maintenance such as quick damp mop. It has a long lifespan and is a cheaper solution than ceramic or hardwood. It is also ideal for spaces which are prone to high moisture levels. If you require the qualities found in a rubber surface, mixed in with the appeal of laminate or linoleum flooring, vinyl is a great choice. This type of flooring is scratch-resistant. Vinyl floors are very common in dental offices and healthcare verticals because they offer style with functionality and ease of daily maintenance. Products made from 100% vinyl are classified as green solutions and eligible for LEED points. Although VCT is easy to maintain the impact of harsher chemicals for disinfection over long periods of time will eventually affect top layer finishes.

Covid-19 Flooring Disinfection

Photo credit: Mohawk Group – Large + Local LVT creates directionality

LVT has become a popular choice as it is available in a large array of designs that mimic wood and stone but is much more durable. It offers better acoustic properties than hard surface flooring like ceramic tile and it won’t chip or discolor. LVT is long-wearing, requires very little maintenance and is protected by a clear layer which helps to maintain its appearance over long periods of time. It will not expand and contract in humid or dry seasons and is a fraction of the price of stone or real wood.  There are several manufacturers that offer wayfinding LVT products to help with social distancing solutions and traffic flow in the workplace. LVT is another material that is easy to clean and maintain however, if it is installed in high traffic area which requires constant disinfection the chemicals used would have to be examined to determine how that would affect long-term care.

Covid-19 and Emerging Healthcare Flooring Applications

The flooring choice for hospitals is still dominated by resilient applications. Here we are seeing new and innovative solutions which are also environmentally friendly, like Legato Liquid Linoleum from Mannington Commercial.  According to Mannington, “Legato Liquid Linoleum can be installed across many segments that require the benefits of infection control, slip resistance, and sound dampening – traits that go above and beyond that of a traditional linoleum thanks to its seamless installation and Quantum Guard Elite® technology. These segments include healthcare, government, education, retail and assisted living applications.”

Liquid linoleum flooring solutions

Photo credit: Mannington Commercial  – Legato Liquid Linoleum

As there are a broad range of flooring solutions available it’s wise to ensure that you are dealing with a reputable flooring contractor that understands the opportunities and challenges associated with your new build or retrofit. As Covid-19 flooring disinfection becomes more complex, true flooring specialists need to have in-depth knowledge of the products that they install. They will make recommendations for your specific project and advise what type of products will offer the best performance. Installing the best solution for your particular space will ensure your flooring needs and return on investment are met for years to come.

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For your free Covid-19 flooring installation assessment, please contact us here.