A Hole in the Floor!
Not just any floor, but the entrance hallway to three flats. And not just an ordinary floor, but a ‘Tiled Timbrel’ floor, over a basement flat.
Of unusual construction, these floors are historically more often found on the continent in France, and especially Spain. Referred to as ‘Catalan arch’ (where it was widely used), ‘Spanish arch’, or in the United States ‘Guastavino tile arches’, this thin-tile form of construction was used predominantly for arched ceilings or domed roofs, but was also used to construct a floor base, supported by widely spaced joists (in this instance, 1.4m).
The problem with this type of solid floor, (in this example comprising a ‘sandwich’ of three tile and cement layers, covered with 40mm of loose aggregate and capped with a 35mm layer of concrete to finish), is that once damaged they lose their structural strength and integrity. In this case, a heavy object – probably something akin to a washing machine – had been dropped from the stairs, cracking the solid floor. There was further cracking too, along the hallway.
Floor construction adjacent to stairs
Underneath the lowest tile layer
Repairs were not a simple option of replacing the floor ‘like for like’; the craftsmanship and labour costs alone would negate this option – that and having to rip out the ceiling of the flat below to be able to re-construct the floor. Therefore, a timber joist-framed option needed to be specified which could be constructed from above. It would also need the inclusion of both fire stopping (the hallway being the principal means of escape from the premises), and soundproofing in terms of both impact and airborne sound.
In addition, access to and from the flats was needed throughout the process of construction. The whole procedure – from understanding the existing floor construction to the specification and construction of the new floor was successfully co-ordinated by the Project Management team at Charlie Laing Project Management.