The refurbishment of a ward at Bristol children’s hospital includes printed ceilings.

Hospital stays for children striving against cancer in the Bristol area are now more positive and stimulating, thanks to Armstrong Ceiling Solutions and its chosen charity Rays of Sunshine, a charity that brightens the lives of recovering children by granting their wishes and providing support in hospitals.

A refurbishment of the oncology day beds unit at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, part of the University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, includes acoustic ceilings featuring sky scenes and shoals of fish to reflect its new name as the Ocean Unit.

The ceiling systems donated by Armstrong, totalling almost 300m2, were installed for free as a part of a ward wish by specialist sub-contractor H + L ceilings- a member of Armstrong’s approved national network of Omega contractors.

The BioGuard ceiling tiles that feature anti-bacterial benefits for healthcare environments were finished with a coating of sky scenes in the recovery bay for older children, a school of fish swimming down a river in the reception/waiting area corridor, and a shoal of fish in a small treatment room.

They were installed by a team of three from H + L over two weekends, with the old tiles from the 10-bed ward being sent to Armstrong’s factory in Gateshead for recycling and the company’s streamlined TLS grid, which is up to 20% faster to install, replacing the existing suspension system.

Around 35% of the total tiles were white and screen-printed which Armstrong supplied with a number on the back so H+L could follow appropriate layout guidelines.

Armstrong became involved in the project after its chosen charity Rays of Sunshine identified the refurbishment of the ward, which had not been updated for 15 years, under its Hospital Ward Wish programme.

This works to, among other elements, decorate treatment rooms to transform sterile spaces into stimulating environments which provide a distraction and enable children to respond better to treatment.

The refurbishment of the Ocean Unit, which has two six-bed bays and four single rooms as well as four consulting rooms, and looks after all oncology, haematology and bone marrow transplant children up to 19 years, also included new wall art and furniture.

H+L director Darren Hopkins said: “When Armstrong asked us to install the project we were more than happy to get involved. It was treated like any other job but the installation team volunteered themselves for the weekend work.”

And of the tile numbering system he added: “We have never had to work that way before but it was pretty easy to install by following the instructions Armstrong gave us.”

Jane Sharpe, CEO of Rays of Sunshine, said: “A very big thank you to everyone involved in making this happen. The ceiling makeover will make such a massive difference to the children visiting the ward for treatment. It will make their time there so much more bearable and will put lots of smiles on lots of faces.”

Jane Thomas, donations co-ordinator for the children’s services division of University Hospitals Bristol, thanked Armstrong for their support in “transforming” the ceilings for the patients and their families.

She said: “The work completed by Armstrong Ceilings has made the area a brighter but still calm place for the children to be in, with the fish gently swimming through. Especially popular is the large bay under the tropical picture where the children can recover following treatment.”

Isabel Blanco, Armstrong’s marketing communications manager, said: “Our latest exercise for Rays of Sunshine was particularly rewarding as it was easy to see the difference the bright, fun ceilings made to the children.”

BioGuard tiles are cleanable and perform to Sound Absorption Class C and Clean Room Classification ISO 5. They are also 85% light reflecting and 95% humidity resistant and manufactured from 42% recycled content.

More information is accessible via the Armstrong Ceilings website

It focusses on ceiling systems that make a difference in education facilities.

Armstrong Ceilings is marking the start of a new school year with the launch of a new education brochure which focuses on helping architects and specifiers design cost-effective well-being measures into education buildings for the benefit of students as well as staff.

The new education brochure, which is available to download from [url], highlights the ceiling systems that make a difference in education facilities by focussing on three key areas – enhancing learning environments through acoustics, creating visual impact through upscale and inspiring solutions, and protecting students and the environment through sustainable building design.

Whether creating a high performance classroom for a better learning environment or designing a dramatic and engaging signature space to impact a university’s ability to recruit students, the brochure, and handy online room selector tool on Armstrong’s website, helps architects specify appropriate systems for all areas within an educational setting as no two spaces have the same requirements.

While classrooms need acoustics, hallways may need durability, kitchens may need ease of cleaning and maintenance, and entrances and auditoriums may need the wow factor that helps inspire students to learn and teachers to teach.

Research shows that on any given day, thousands of students are unable to understand one out of every four spoken words in classrooms due to inadequate acoustics*. In addition, teacher surveys consistently rank noisy classrooms and vocal fatigue high on their list of frustrations. Poor lighting and glare in the classroom can also cause eye strain and fatigue for both staff and students.

In a classroom, Armstrong’s standard range of medium-density ceilings, strikes the right balance between both sound attenuation and sound absorption, blocking unwanted noise from outside while enhancing sound quality inside.

For offices, Armstrong’s dB range of higher-density ceilings minimises noise transfer between rooms, keeping conversations private and staff reassured. And for canteens and libraries, Armstrong’s OP range of lower-density ceilings controls excessive sound reflections, offering customers optimal levels of sound absorption.

As well as acoustics, the new brochure also tackles the role that light-reflecting ceilings can play in reducing not just glare but also energy bills by maximising natural light and minimising electricity usage.

The constantly varying temperature fluctuations in areas such as kitchens, particularly during school holidays when HVAC systems are typically shut down, also require ceilings with resistance to high levels of moisture – as much a necessity as ceilings for laboratories and cloakrooms that are easy to clean and maintain.

A product selector page includes variations such as the new, ultra-green Dune eVo tile, anti-microbial BioGuard, moisture-resistant Hydroboard, Ultima+ dB planks, and perforated metal acoustic tiles.

Armstrong’s new brochure also sets the best example in terms of the environment in that it explains how its Cradle to Cradle certification (the first by a mineral ceiling tile manufacturer in Europe) helps architects specify products that are designed for recycling using manufacturing processes which minimise water consumption, adopt renewable energy strategies and acknowledge social responsibility.

It also explains how Armstrong’s pioneering recycling programme for mineral ceiling tiles used in new-build and refurbishments projects contributes to LEED®, BREEAM, HQE, DGNB and Ska credits by including ceiling recycling in construction waste plans.

Examples of how specifiers have brought this motivation to existing projects, using mineral and metal tiles and canopies and baffles, are contained within five school and university case studies which show how focussing on the function of an educational building does not have to impact on its form.

*A test conducted by Dr Kenneth Roy, senior principal research scientist for acoustic technologies at Armstrong, demonstrates the difference a high performance acoustic ceiling can make in an existing classroom.

The test took place in a sixth grade classroom at the Robert E Lamberton Public School in Philadelphia, PA. Built in 1949, the 24′ x 44′ x 11′ classroom consisted of a plaster ceiling, concrete block masonry walls and a vinyl tile floor. The Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) of the existing ceiling was approximately 0.25. Sound reverberation measurements in the room were found to be an average of 1.08 seconds, far exceeding the ANSI S12.60 maximum acceptable reverberation time of 0.60 seconds.

An Armstrong School Zone Fine Fissured suspended ceiling was then installed. Following the change in ceilings, measurements were again taken and the average reverberation time was 0.56 seconds, within the maximum acceptable parameter.

However, acoustical results were not the only measures of success.

A number of subjective factors were also observed. The teacher, for example, indicated there now appeared to be less fidgeting and talking during her lessons. She also said her students seemed to be paying more attention.

An even more telling measure of success may have come from the students themselves. When asked if they noticed any changes, their most common response was about improvement in the noise level. Others also commented that the room was brighter. As one student, who sat in the back of the room, summed it up, “I can hear (my teacher) a lot better today.”

More information is accessible via the Armstrong Ceilings website