Shape QBE Melbourne

Shape QBE Melbourne

Sustainable magnetism: A formula for flooring success

  •   27 August 2021

ASP Access Floors manufacture access flooring systems in 600mm x 600mm panels. The panels can be lifted to allow access to services that are housed in a cavity below the floor. However, the company realised that in many cases, the floors were being finished with sub-optimal materials – timber planks and the like – which effectively removed accessibility and essentially defeated the purpose of having an accessible access floor below.

“We were looking at solutions to that problem; how do you keep access to the flooring panels when people still want that linear, timber plank look?” says Scott Zlatar, Director at ASP Access Floors. “And what we developed was a timber flooring system with a magnetic backing, where any individual piece of timber can be lifted out to give access to the Access Floor underneath.”

The Magnes system is a magnetic-backed engineered timber plank that works with the steel of the access floor to create an easy-to-install, easy-to-remove timber floor. It utilises an advanced engineering tongue and groove board. It’s designed to not require any glue or nails, and its interlocking ability means it can be lifted up, removed, and replaced, without any damage to the board or the subfloor.

The secret to the effectiveness of the magnetic backing is the steel-cementitious flooring panels that sit underneath. But developing such an innovative solution took time. “We had to test multiple different magnet strengths to make sure that the boards could lift, but also hold them down and not allow for any bowing or movement,” says Scott. “We went through a number of magnet variations to find one that was strong, but not too strong. Because in these commercial environments you may have water, spillages, all types of wear and tear, and so it’s really important for the magnet and the tongue and groove system to work together to ensure the longevity of that system.”

Apart from being innovative and incredibly effective, the Magnes system is also very sustainable. “Because the boards are not glued or nailed to the sub floor, they can just be picked up, stacked onto a pallet and taken to a new site and relaid,” explains Scott. “They don’t get damaged when they’re pulled up, which of course means a huge extension in the boards’ lifespan, and a massive reduction in waste. The Magnes system has that benefit over every other timber flooring system in the world.”

World exclusives aside, the product also creates indirect sustainability benefits for the projects in which it’s specified. “The magnetic system is more energy efficient and requires less intensive installation. Because we use quite a dense product, there is less need for acoustic matting under the floors as well, so it saves materials there. We’ve even had architects looking at our flooring for its reflective properties so they can reduce the lighting requirements in a space – which is not something we’d even originally considered. So, there are multiple sustainability benefits that come from the product,” says Scott.

Not content with merely bringing the solution to market, ASP Access Floors is continually optimising and reviewing the manufacture and design process to make the product even more sustainable. “We keep sustainability front of mind throughout the manufacturing process,” explains Scott. “We’re always looking at what the most sustainable timbers are. We look at the adhesives we use to make sure they’re water based and low VOC as well. Sustainability of our products is really a holistic concern.”

Find out more from ASP Access Floors here

Brought to you in association with Proud Sponsor of 2021 Sustainability Awards

ASP Access Floors

Emerging Sustainable Architect / Designer