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Monday, July 13, 2020

An introduction to raised access flooring

There are some essential components to any building that are an eyesore: nobody likes the look of wiring or piping running along the flooring. Listening to our customer’s needs, Butech – a Porcelanosa Group company – understood that there was a need to hide these unattractive, and sometimes unsafe, assets in the workplace.

Butech’s raised access flooring (RAF) is a system designed specifically to hide unattractive installations, such as telephone and electrical wiring, piping, air conditioning etc. that are in work areas and technical rooms.

These installations are hidden under the system where a ‘technical plenum’ has been created with immediate and easy accessibility. It also allows for installations to be carried out quickly and easily.

The use of RAF is highly recommended in those areas with large quantities of elements running under the floor, especially as RAF provides the added advantage of having easy and immediate accessibility.

There are several areas which can utilise RAF, such as: libraries, offices, museums, schools, and shopping centres, to name but a few. There are also numerous technical workplace applications for RAF, including telecoms, electricity plants, control rooms, laboratories, data centres and many more.

So, what are the advantages of Butech’s RAF system? In terms of installation, it enables a completely clean installation without the use of cement, avoiding the creation and spread of debris, dust and noise. Thanks to its clean installation capabilities, it also has an improved installation efficiency in comparison to conventional flooring with an installation rate of about 40sq. metres per day. In addition, it is easy to take apart and transport if your company relocates office.

Another advantage the RAF system offers is its ability to cover all shapes and sizes of ugly and dangerous cables and pipes under the floor, as well as an option for seamless rerouting of services following installation of the system.

One of the main concerns we’ve heard surrounding RAF is the perception of it being weaker due to it being raised. With Butech’s system there is no need for such worries as the core of our system is made using high-performance materials with very high densities. As such, our RAF system is capable of withstanding heavy mechanical loads. It has showed outstanding fire resistance under laboratory testing and the pieces are protected by a plastic material edging in order to prevent the tiles from spalling. For the more technical reader, it will provide comfort knowing that our RAF system is fully compliant with UNE EN ISO 9001, a qualification that guarantees quality controls during each stage of the manufacturing process.

For the more design concerned readers, Butech’s RAF system allows for any 600 by 600mm ceramic tile by Porcelanosa, or another non-ceramic cover, to be used as a top surface. Materials such as aluminium, vinyl, granite, carpet, and parquet, just to name a few, can all be used. There is potential for combining different structures as required for each individual case, which is aided by very low dimensional tolerances which allows for a perfect exchange of panels. Finally, there is also a wide range of complementary products to ensure a good finish.

RAF pedestals are made entirely of galvanised steel, are the support system and determine the final height of the system. There are pedestals of different heights and margins of regulation, from 85mm to 1,000mm. Galvanised steel stringers provide additional stability and strength to the system. They are also covered with special noise-reduction strips.

There are three types:

  • Light stringers (code L).
  • Medium stringers (code M).
  • Heavy stringers (code P).
  • Raised access flooring for exteriors

Of course, the need to hide unattractive and potentially unsafe assets isn’t limited to just the interior. The Butech RAF system for terraces has been specially created to solve the aesthetic problem that exists with slopes in terraces and to hide outdoor elements under the floor.

By building a completely flat floor over the existing terrace floor, these slopes are conveniently hidden underneath. Height deviations are offset with height-adjustable plots and any accumulated water is drained through open joints on the newly paved surface and then channelled down the terrace’s waterproofed slopes to the drain.

The external RAF is a type of over-raised pavement with special ceramic tiles that are arranged on plastic PVC plots of adjustable height so that a hollow space is determined between the support and the floor tiles.

These plots, made of weatherproof plastic, are the support on which the ceramic tile of external RAF rests. They determine the height of the system and width of the joint between slabs. This element consists of the following parts:
A large diameter plot base that evenly distributes the weight on the support system.

Interior RAF with sound protection density up to 1500kg/m3.

The head, or where the outer RAF tiles are laid, with four spacers that determine grout joints, with a width of 4mm.

An adjustable height rod, named the stem, that allows adapting height of the plot to the needs of the pavement over-raised. Its function is to lock head and base together to prevent them from loosening over time.

There is also an optional element of an external RAF levelling key which is used to adjust the height of the system once the tiles have been placed.

As with the standard Butech RAF system, the external system efficiently hides away cables, wiring and piping, whilst ensuring easy access to this space under the floor. The system can be used to create a flat paved surface over sloping masonry floors with height deviations of up to 3%. Any height deviations over 2% will need to be corrected with mortar or with wedges.

Furthermore, the creation of an air void underneath the newly paved surface helps to generate a continuous flow of air through the pavement joints, which prevents the build-up of condensation whilst also producing an insulation layer.

Raised access flooring for exteriors provide a creative and practical solution for terraces containing unsightly drainage slopes. By building a completely flat floor over the existing terrace floor, these slopes are conveniently hidden underneath. Height deviations are offset with height-adjustable plots and any accumulated water in drained through open joints on the newly paved surface.

Exterior RAFx using PAR-KERTM ceramic parquet.

Other key benefits include:

  • The system creates an air cavity, which is transmitted least possible noise downstairs than traditional soil.
  • Improved aesthetics of space thanks to the concealment of installations under the pavement.
  • Improved performance in placement over traditional flooring (40m2 / day approx.).
  • Mobility of the system in case of change of distribution.
  • Easy access to facilities by suction pads.
  • Allows the exchange of parts in a simple way, the change in the number and locations of jobs, etc.

The external RAF ceramic tiles consist of two porcelain stoneware slabs or technical porcelain stoneware by Porcelanosa, stuck with hot melt reactive to moisture. They are made with the appropriate thickness to withstand the breaking load demanded on these over-raised pavements.

These porcelain stoneware slabs or technical porcelain stoneware by Porcelanosa are manufactured to withstand the anticipated breaking loads. Butech’s external RAF thick panels feature 20mm thick through-body porcelain panels that are resistant to stains and much lighter than concrete. A 20mm panel weighs approximately 17.5 kg, as opposed to the 63kg for the equivalent concrete alternative.

Porcelanosa Clerkenwell (Design Centre)
93-99 Goswell Road, London EC1V 7EY
T: 020 7253 1227

Head office
1-6 Otterspool Way,
Watford, WD25 8HL
T: 01923 815200
W: www.porcelanosa.com/uk
Butech
www.butech.net/en

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