Wednesday 25 June saw the Federation host its annual Design & Installation of Natural Stone Flooring Course at the Hotel Russell, London.  This popular event provides delegates with the opportunity to hear from the experts at first hand, how to design and install natural stone floors.


The seminar was chaired by David Richardson, Director, Building Technology Group at BRE and Chairman of Stone Federation’s Technical Committee.


After David’s introduction, Alex Stables gave a presentation on the contractor’s experience of laying stone, using his considerable on-site experience after many years in the industry, to explain the importance of using the correct adhesives on screed.  He also stressed the importance of contractors choosing the right adhesive and ensuring that operatives are able to use it correctly.


Peter Harrison, Deputy Chairman of the Federation’s Technical Committee and Director of Harrison Goldman Design Consultants gave a presentation on BS EN Harmonised Product Standards.  He went on to give a comprehensive overview of all relevant codes and their impact on areas such as manufacturing tolerances, tiles, slabs and testing requirements.  Delegates asked a lot of questions on the subject of CE Marking and during this session Jane Buxey, the Federation’s Chief Executive, informed delegates that Stone Federation would be launching a CE Marking Awareness Campaign on 1 July 2014.


Peter also mentioned that it was time for new people to join committees to give a fresh outlook and input, and to help write British Standards in the future.


From the manufacturing side, Cyril Potter, Chief Chemist of Ardex UK Ltd gave a detailed presentation on fixing techniques with adhesives and stressed the importance of identifying the correct type of adhesive to use and also the value of working closely with contractors within the industry.  Cyril also covered the relevant British Standards and BS 5385-5:2000 recommendations.


Ian Knifton, Technical Manager of Schlüter-Systems Ltd’s contribution was a presentation on uncoupling systems with underfloor heating.  Ian gave delegates samples of DITRA matting in order to explain how it serves as a waterproofing membrane, a vapour pressure equalisation layer to accommodate moisture occurring at the underside of the substrate and an uncoupling layer for problematic substrates.  Delegates asked lots of interesting questions on this subject afterwards.


After a very pleasant lunch, Bob Sewell, Technical Manager from Lithofin, talked about the impregnation of natural stone and the importance of preparation prior to grouting.  Bob also gave an overview on sealers and general aftercare.  Again, delegates raised many interesting questions on this subject.


Peter Harrison then gave a presentation on the design and installation of natural stone floors, including information on failure investigations. This also covered structural design, building regulations, movement joints and surface treatment.  A lively questions and answer session then followed.


David Richardson then presented the latest requirements for slip and the CIRIA publication and its influence on design and selection.  His presentation included some interesting statistics on slips, trips and falls and explained how slip risk is calculated.   David also explained to delegates about the HSE’s STEP tool which is on their website.  This subject resulted in many questions from delegates as this area seems to be of concern to many companies.


At the end of the day the Technical experts then held a question and answer session which led to a lively and interesting discussion around the day’s topics.


Appraisal forms received after the seminar were extremely positive, delegates enjoyed the event and found it useful and interesting; comments made included the following:


“Well structured and informative.”

“Very useful day.”

“Excellent documentation and material to refer to in the future.”

“The speakers were all so experienced and were able to answer all the questions.”


Included in the course pack was a free copy of the Stone Federation’s Code of Practice for the Design and Installation of Internal Flooring.  This document is the definitive guide to flooring and, as David Richardson pointed out, is produced by industry experts so is therefore, packed full of useful information. 


Publications also given to the delegates were copies of the CE Marking Guide, Slip Resistance testing, assessment and guidance, a Barrister’s opinion on Slip, obtained by Stone Federation for Members and Selecting the Correct Stone.


Another course is planned for members next year.  If you would like to register your interest for this please email