Award-winning Altro XpressLay™ safety flooring has been used throughout a £25 million secondary ‘super school’ in North Wales. At 4,500m2, it is the biggest ever Altro XpressLay installation in the North West.

The new Rhyl High School has been funded by Denbighshire Council and the Welsh Government, and built by Willmott Dixon. It accommodates 1,200 students, and also provides a base for 45 students from a nearby community special school. The whole building was constructed to achieve a rating of “excellent” on the BREEAM scale.

As with most new-build school projects, cost and time were major factors in the construction of Rhyl High. Flooring company Linney Cooper — who were appointed by Willmott Dixon to install the flooring throughout the new school — were well aware of this. But even though Altro flooring had not originally been specified, Linney Cooper recommended switching to Altro XpressLay.

Robert Goring, Senior Project Surveyor at Willmott Dixon, said “We have been working with Linney Cooper for many years. Their expert knowledge of flooring led to a recommendation to change our specification to Altro XpressLay, which is a proven cost and time saving product. In addition, the flooring met the stringent criteria for safety, quality and design.”

James Sullivan, Linney Cooper Contracts Manager, said “For the Rhyl High project, Altro XpressLay and its properties presented themselves as a better alternative flooring solution to the one specified, for many reasons. The substrate floor at the new school was a power-floated concrete that would take a great deal of preparation with diamond grinding and laying a dpm. But, crucially, Altro XpressLay can be laid without a dpm, because it can be put down straight onto a damp subfloor or a new concrete floor at up to 97% relative humidity. This means quick and easy installation without having to wait for the substrate to dry.

“In addition, Altro Xpresslay can be laid without adhesive. There is no waiting for it to ‘cure’, we just lay, weld and walk on it the same day. There are no tacky areas, or having to plan installation in stages because of drying times.

“The flooring can be taken up and re-used elsewhere, and if we need to replace areas of damage or wear in the future, we can do so, very easily, with minimal disruption. There are no adhesive odours, either, which is perfect for sites such as schools.”

James continued: “Altro XpressLay is not a short-term solution, it is a proven, groundbreaking flooring that holds as effectively as an Altro safety flooring installed using adhesive, and there are no rucks, no movement at all.” It offers the same guarantees and lifetime slip resistance of other Altro safety flooring. The floor can be removed easily, reused and is 100% recyclable at the end of its life.

In addition to Altro XpressLay, Altro Whiterock™ White walling and Altro Stronghold™ 30 safety flooring were installed in the school kitchen. These products are often specified together as they deliver a proven combination of safety and hygiene in hard working environments.

Altro Whiterock White is the hygienic alternative to tiles that’s impact resistant, grout-free and easy to clean. Its smooth white surface and classic purity make it a timeless choice for any interior.

Altro Stronghold 30 achieves Altro’s highest rating for slip resistance and is designed to minimise risk in wet and greasy conditions for the lifetime of the flooring. As well as helping to keep staff safe from slips, it also helps reduce their fatigue, thanks to its 3mm thickness which provides noise reduction and comfort underfoot.

Linney Cooper installed the Altro Stronghold 30, while MI Contracts fitted the Altro Whiterock White.

For more information please visit

The School of Pharmacy, part of University College London is one of the most highly rated pharmacy schools in the UK.

Dating back to 1842 the school is dedicated to teaching and research in pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences.

As part of a refurbishment project, architects Potter Raper Partnership specified Kemmlit’s recently launched Primo Kn cubicles for the male and female student toilet facilities.

With smooth-surfaced doors in lemon green and contrasting quartz grey walls made of 42 mm thick composite elements with internal aluminium frames, the Primo Kn cubicle system was installed by Kemmlit’s own specialist contractors.

Additional scope of works supplied by Kemmlit included; bench seating, vanity units, and duct panelling.

A special protective layer on all surfaces increases PRIMO Kn’s scratch and abrasion resistance capability and, in order to withstand intense wear, the system includes a substantial three-roller edge hinge with a stainless steel axis.

As you would expect from Kemmlit, PRIMO Kn is available in a number of design options including a suspended version or a floor to ceiling system for increased privacy.

Offered in a range of colours including the option of customised digital print, PRIMO Kn is supported with a range of accessories including: LED door handles, headrails, hinges, support feet and sanitary equipment.

For more information please visit

RIBA have highlighted the urgent need for school refurbishment in a new report into the state of school buildings, entitled ‘Better Spaces for Learning.’ The report revealed:

  • 1 in 5 teachers have considered quitting because of the wretched condition of the school buildings they have to teach in
  • The Government’s Education Funding Agency’s new school building programme is too rigid and is leading to waste and poor value for tax payers
  • Over 90% of teachers believe well-built and designed schools improve educational outcomes and pupil behaviour
  • Over-engineered schools, with Government-specified equipment that only costly consultants know how to operate, is costing £150 million per year which could have been avoided if schools were designed better

A new report on the state of school buildings in the UK has been published by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Using the largest ever analysis of primary and secondary school buildings in the UK, a nation-wide poll of teachers, and extensive engagement with school buildings experts, RIBA’s Better Spaces for Learning report makes the case for an urgent review of the Government’s Education Funding Agency’s current school building programme.

The report emphasises the importance of well-designed school buildings on young people’s wellbeing, behaviour engagement and crucially, attainment.

RIBA has identified that good school design can reduce running and maintenance costs, in some cases by more than several times a teacher’s average salary a year; it could have prevented the English school estate from spending upwards of £150m annually on unnecessary operation and maintenance costs.

The new report is further insight into the Government’s own assertion that just 5% of the nearly 60,000 school buildings across the UK are performing as intended and operating efficiently.* The prevalence of damp, leaky classrooms and asbestos-ridden buildings in British schools means too many pupils and teachers are struggling to learn and teach in conditions damaging to their health and education.

Better Spaces for Learning reveals that the Government’s current programme of building new schools is inefficient – with a lack of flexibility to make the best possible use of resources, and little opportunity for school staff to input into the design of their own new buildings. RIBA believes that the Government programme must be improved to guarantee better outcomes for our public money.

RIBA President Jane Duncan said “This country is in the grip of the worst shortage of school places in living memory. Our report highlights the vital importance of school design and how it affects the general health and wellbeing of their users, our children and their teachers. As limited funding is available to deal with the growing problem, every penny spent on schools must deliver maximum value for money. Award winning well-designed, successful schools with happy pupils and productive staff like Burntwood School in London shouldn’t be the exception, they should be the standard.

“How can we expect our children to compete with the world’s best when too many of our school buildings are substandard? Educational improvements resulting from the current programme of school building are not reaching the basic standards that British taxpayers and our economy expects. We need to do better for all of our children and their hardworking teachers. We urge the Government to review its programme of building new schools.”

To read more about buildings and construction within the education sector, subscribe to our sister publication School Building Magazine. School Building magazine is aimed at the key named buyers and specifiers with Local Authorities, LEA’s, Universities, Architects and contractors responsible for the design, build and refurbishment of educational facilities.
Read the latest edition here.