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Treatment in line with the highest medical standards: Founded in 1979, Antwerp University Hospital (Universitair Ziekenhuis Antwerp, U.Z.A.) is a modern, efficient general hospital that provides a full range of care facilities. With its 573 beds, every year around 26,200 inpatients and almost 30,000 outpatients are treated here, while about 17,000 operations are performed annually. It is well known for its cardiology department, although all other fields of medicine from ophthalmology through to neurosurgery and urology are also represented. The university hospital attaches great importance to research and teaching in order to continue assuring its high standards of treatment in the future.
The building fittings should also be of the same high quality as the medical care, which is why for the past 16 years the university hospital has been relying on rubber floor coverings from nora systems.“ In 1996 we decided to gradually replace the old PVC coverings and so we tested different resilient floor coverings,” reports Dirk De Man, the technical director at U.Z.A. “Nothing convinced us more than the floor coverings from Weinheim's rubber specialists.“ Since then, the rubber floor coverings have replaced around 2,000 square metres of the old floor coverings every year.
Products from the global market leader are to be found in all parts of the hospital, including in the operating theatres, patients’ rooms, accident and emergency department, MRT and x-ray rooms, laboratories and corridors, as well as in the administration wing. The hospital has just ordered larger quantities of norament lago again. “Blue and white are the dominant colours at the U.Z.A. The broad spectrum of colours offered by the nora floor coverings gives us all manner of options to match this colour concept,” explains De Man. The hospital is also making heavy use of the possibility to integrate inlays into the floor covering as navigation systems.
nora floor coverings do not contain any phthalate plasticizers. This not only makes them environmentally compatible, but also means that in contrast to other types of covering they remain dimensionally stable and do not shrink. This fundamentally obviates the need for joint-sealing. “At the U.Z.A. we only have flooring installed without joint-sealing because this allows the floors to be disinfected so much more effectively,” says the technical director. This is also confirmed by tests which are regularly conducted by hygienists at the request of the hospital operator. How well the floor coverings can be disinfected is of great significance for a comprehensive hygiene concept in hospitals. nora rubber floor coverings are insensitive to stains and resistant to surface disinfectants. Brief exposure to solvents, diluted acids or lyes does not leave any lasting traces either. And even substances that contain iodine, like skin disinfectants, can be easily removed as well. Another advantage of a joint-free installation is the uniform appearance of the floor area.
Additionally, in contrast to other resilient coverings, nora floor coverings do not require any extra surface coating or lacquering. This means that they do not suffer from unsightly pathways being caused by wear, or from ingrained dirt, chipping, scratches or discolouration of the coating. “That’s a key factor for us because it cancels out the need for time-consuming, work-intensive and expensive basic cleaning or recoating, as well as avoiding the associated operating disruptions,” continues De Man.
nora rubber floor coverings are very easy to clean due to their densely closed surface. “Even the floor coverings that have been in use at the U.Z.A. for the past 16 years still look like new today,” confirms the technical director. Regardless of whether after everyday mop care or the weekly cleaning using a machine – the appearance of the nora floor coverings is always flawless. This means that although they are somewhat more expensive in the procurement, in the long term nora coverings are the most economic solution for hospitals since 90 percent of the life cycle costs of a floor covering are only maintenance-related.
The U.Z.A. is currently testing cleaning the floorings using the new nora pads. Here the floor covering is cleaned by means of special diamond pads and using just clear water. No other cleaning agents are required. “The cleaning results are outstanding in terms of both appearance as well as hygiene,” says De Man. This has just recently also been confirmed by a study carried out by a comprehensive study carried out by Technical College Linz/Austria.
Another aspect which plays a key role for the hospital is the excellent footfall noise absorption of the rubber floor coverings. “The 3.5 millimetre thick norament coverings offer extremely good sound insulation,” reports De Man. Consequently, a quiet atmosphere prevails in those areas of the hospital that are fitted with nora floor coverings in spite of the heavy public traffic. Alongside the acoustic benefits, the ergonomic qualities of rubber coverings are also advantageous for patients and staff. Due to their permanent resilience they relieve people’s back and joints and alleviate walking and standing, which is an important factor for doctors and nursing staff.
|Building||Antwerp University Hospital, Belgium|
|Contruction management||U.Z.A. – Universitair Ziekenhuis Antwerpe Belgium, www.uza.be|
|Architect||SVR-ARCHITECTS, Antwerp, Belgium, www.svr-architects.eu|
|Photographer||© Studio Beeldwerken|
|Installation areas||Operating theatres, patients' rooms, accident and emergency department, MRT and x-ray rooms, laboratories, corridors, administration|
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