Our successful apprentices Aaron Jackson & Steve Garfoot (unable to attend the presentation), took to the stage to be presented with their NVQ level 2 diplomas in In Situ Resin Flooring by Tim Blackman, CITB’s National Specialist Accredited Centre (NSAC) Manager, at the FeRFA Awards Dinner.
In congratulating the apprentices on their achievement, Tim Blackman acknowledged the commitment required from both the trainee and their employers over the two years. He also applauded the progress FeRFA had made to develop qualifications for the resin flooring industry, working with the CITB to develop these and run the apprenticeship schemes. Since the pilot scheme in 2007, FeRFA has supported 63 learners through the 2 year programme, with a further 40 learners currently on the schemes.
The following were at the ceremony to receive their awards:
Training is an excellent way to share best practice, knowledge and skills which in turn raises quality standards within an industry sector. Apprenticeship courses attract newcomers to the industry, introduce new skills and move the industry forward, to give clients confidence that they are dealing with a trained and qualified workforce. Resin flooring and surface preparation are highly specialist occupations and through the FeRFA Apprenticeship Schemes , a training route is available to acquire knowledge and skills to achieve the NVQ Level 2 Diploma. The FeRFA apprenticeship schemes could not be delivered without the support of the members who provide their training facilities, the resin flooring manufacturers who provide materials at no cost, and to VI Distribution for providing free of charge Personal Protective Equipment for all of the apprentice groups.



Sika’s state-of-the-art 12,500 sq ft laboratories, adjacent to the company’s headquarters in Preston Lancashire, have become a centre of excellence for new technologies and a showcase for the company’s vast product offering.

For the laboratory area, which is at the heart of Sika’s product innovations, the company were able to produce a seamless, decorative solution which extended to both floors and walls to provide a practical, hygienic and attractive flooring solution.
Thanks to Sika’s advanced floor system and the technical know-how and attention to detail of skilled specialist applicators, the ideal solution was created. Throughout this project, the team demonstrated a dedicated commitment to: 

• Careful planning
• Delivering a long-term cost effective solution
• Expert craftsmanship
• Ease of installation
• Fast, effective problem solving
• Sustainable specification
• Comprehensive technical support

The new innovation centre showcases some of Sika’s best and most innovative product offering in flooring. The company’s wide range of resin flooring options, sometimes described as ‘liquid applied vinyl’ because of their seamless qualities, were required throughout the new build.
For this working laboratory, the company required a highly decorative and smooth solution with low VOC. The high performance epoxy resin flooring had to be robust and durable flooring required for the high volume of usage expected at the innovation centre. Sika Decofloor, a new, unique decorative floor system met the requirements producing a 'stone like' seamless self smoother floor.
Despite this project being undertaken within a working laboratory there was still a requirement to be aesthetically pleasing. Each of the distinct areas had to be clearly differentiated by colour, which was a key consideration to provide a peaceful and pleasing environment within the rest areas.
The new £2.5 million three-storey research and development lab provides a cutting-edge research facility to help continue to push Sika’s products forwards.
Sika ComfortFloor, Decofloor and Decoflake are some examples of the high performance, seamless epoxy and polyurethane resin flooring systems specified for the centre. These flooring solutions lend themselves to a wide range of sectors and even have a ‘refreshability’ option to extend the life cycle even further.
Not only was there a combination of different decorative floor systems and hygienic wall finishes, but the laboratory area contains very difficult detailing where different colours and system ‘butt up’ to each other. As such, the exceptional level of finish achieved was due in no small part to applicator skill, which was as good if not better than can be found anywhere, as to Sika’s products.
The applicators for this project were also graduates of the FeRFA apprentice scheme, which is testament to their skill level. As well as regular site visits being undertaken by a Sika Project Manager, which is standard on all Sika projects, the company also ensured that on site contractor training was given by a German Applicator specialist.
Much of Sika’s success can be attributed to the unique and comprehensive technical support provided by the expert team, from CAD design drawings to bespoke product specifications, every element of a flooring project is covered. Sika could rely on their highly effective flooring solutions to meet the needs and requirements of their innovation centre. This project featured a tight programme of works, with many trades within the floor areas as they worked towards project completion, producing conditions which aren’t always conducive to producing an aesthetic floor surface.
Co-operation was vital in making the project come together. The entire supply chain was managed by Sika’s flooring experts – ensuring a quick and effective build completion.
Sika’s resin flooring meets British Standards of trip and slip resistance, scoring R10 when tested by the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) in conjunction with the UK Slip Resistance Group (UKSRG) and the British Standards Institution. This makes the laboratory floor a safe place to work.
Sika is dedicated to manufacturing and supplying sustainable products throughout the company’s entire offering. Sika’s decorative flooring systems are often a much more sustainable option than traditional materials such as tiles, carpet or vinyl when Fully Life Cycle impact is taken into consideration.
As members of the UK Green Building Council, Sika is committed to providing products that contribute to a sustainable built environment.
With many of Sika’s competitors based in mainland Europe and the US, Sika’s transportation carbon footprints are far less in comparison as the company ships from their base in Preston, Lancashire, which in this case, was adjacent to the innovation centre.
The careful and considered choice of products for the company’s innovation centre demonstrates how Sika can deliver high performance decorative floor systems and hygienic wall finishes with an efficient installation process. This is a unique project in terms of innovative materials, quality of finish and is a great advert for the FeRFA apprentice scheme.


IRL Group awarded SafeContractor Accreditation

Press Release

Top Safety Accreditation for IRL Group Limited

Local business IRL Group Limited has been awarded accreditation from Safecontractor for its commitment to achieving excellence in health and safety.

Safecontractor is a leading third party accreditation scheme which recognises very high standards in health and safety management amongst UK contractors.

Employing 30 people, IRL Group is principally involved in the Industrial Flooring sector, specialising in the Engineering, Food & Beverage and Motor Industries and with a £3.5 million turnover. IRL’s most recent clients have included major players such as Nestle, BMW and Rolls Royce.

The company’s application for Safecontractor accreditation was driven by the need for a uniform standard across the business.

Safecontractor accreditation will enhance the company’s ability to attract new contracts and its commitment to safety will be viewed positively by its insurers when the company liability policy is up for renewal.

Safecontractor is applicable to most sectors although it is particularly relevant to food manufacture, property, facilities management, retail and leisure sectors, all of which are big users of contracted services.

John Kinge, technical director of Safecontractor said, "Major organisations simply cannot afford to run the risk of employing contractors who are not able to prove that they have sound health and safety policies in place."

"More companies need to understand the importance of adopting good risk management in the way that IRL has done. The firm’s high standard has set an example which hopefully will be followed by other companies within the sector.

Safecontractor plays a vital role in supporting our clients in meeting their compliance needs, whilst working with their contractors as they progress through the accreditation process.”

Under the Safecontractor scheme, businesses undergo a vetting process which examines health and safety procedures and their track record for safe practice. Those companies meeting the high standard are included on a database, which is accessible to registered users only via a website.

Client-organisations who sign up to the scheme can access the database, enabling them to vet potential contractors before they even set foot on site. These clients agree that, as users of the scheme, they will engage only those who have received accreditation.

Over 210 major, nation-wide businesses, from several key sectors, have signed up to use the scheme when selecting contractors for services such as building, cleaning, maintenance, refurbishment or electrical and mechanical work.


Nestle Project Dove - “Safety Day” Event on 26th June at Buttercup Meadow

IRL Group recently exhibited at the Nestle “Safety Day” Event held on site at Project Dove, Tutbury to promote “Safety Awareness & Best Practice” for all site personnel including Nestle Management, Site Contractors and Site Suppliers, the event included guest speaker Ken Woodward, who gave a compelling talk on how important Site Safety is to everyone, and what happens when site safety is ignored and the consequences that can happen, all the more poignant due to the fact that Ken actually lost his sight in both eyes as a result of poor safety management, the event was held in two Marquees in Buttercup Meadow and had an excellent turnout, there was fundraising for “Children in Need”, a superb “Hog Roast”, there was a  “Tug-of War” competition (IRL came runners up!) and all the various suppliers had their latest safety equipment on display, with demonstrations taking place regularly, the event was well received by all who attended,  and there was no shortage of excellent advice given by the companies who supported this “Day Dedicated To Safety”  on how to ensure that site safety is the most important priority when working in what could be potentially hazardous environment.



IRL Group awarded formal CPD Accreditation “The Preparation & Installation of Commercial & Industrial Resin Flooring”

IRL Group is now an official Registered Provider with the CPD Standards Office, and has received a formal accreditation for the module “The Preparation & Installation of Commercial & Industrial Resin Flooring” Martin Yarker (IRL Group Business Development Manager) “ This accreditation recognises the IRL Group as an approved training provider within the CPD Standards Office, thereby making available to Specifiers, Architects, Facilities Managers, Main Contractor Quantity Surveyors & Maintenance Engineers our authorised presentation module on the importance of understanding both the correct preparation & installation of a resin floor, with the emphasis on how to ensure that a good result is achieved time after time, it also covers what happens when incorrect preparation takes place”.

The CPD presentation is available to members upon request.


Sika Certified Decking Contractor

IRL Group has again been awarded “Certified Registered Car Park Decking Contractor” from Sika UK, confirming that “The contractor has demonstrated to Sika Limited that they have delivered consistently high quality workmanship in the installation of Sika Car Park Decking Systems and have had operatives successfully trained by Sika Limited on all stages of the decking installation process”.

IRL Group were first awarded “Certified Contractor” status in 2001, and have completed many large prestigious car park projects since, recently at Highcross Shopping Complex, Leicester, The Beehive Car Park, Loughborough & Harrogate Hospital.

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