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Mapei systems have been used to complete an extensive waterproofing and tiling project at The Sandwell Aquatic Centre in Smethwick, near Birmingham – venue of one of the largest international sporting events in 2022.

The installation throughout the three pool areas, changing rooms and atrium was completed by P. Plunkett Tiling Contractors Ltd for main contractor, The Wates Group. The Mapei specification will also be continued for legacy phase works, before the centre opens as a community facility in summer 2023.

Designed by Roberts Limbrick Architects, the Centre includes a 50-metre Olympic-size swimming and 25m dive pool, a temporary 50m training/warm-up pool and dry dive training area. Post-event reconfiguration includes removal of temporary seats, works to the Changing Village and other Leisure Club and Gym changing areas.

The Mapei specification spanned the main pool, diving pool, studio pool, changing rooms and atrium area. Over 35 different tile designs were installed, totalling in excess of 9000m2, with over 6500m2 of screed specified. Tiles were supplied by Spectile & CTD and included porcelain and ceramic designs by Agrob Buchtal, Cipagres, Pavigres and VitrA. Throughout the project, Mapei attended the site on a fortnightly basis to provide technical support. Being locally based, the firm was able to oversee the project with minimal environmental impact.

Three preparation products were used throughout the centre’s three pool areas: fast drying Topcem special hydraulic binder was applied to pool bases and Nivoplan smoothing mortar, with the addition of Planicrete Synthetic rubber latex admixture, was used to render the pool walls. Mapelastic Turbo – a two-component, quick-drying elastic cementitious mortar incorporating Mapenet 150 alkali-resistant glass fibre reinforcing mesh – was used on the pool and surrounding floors to reduce installation waiting times and permit quicker access to application areas. To tank pool walls, the specification included Mapelastic Smart – a highly flexible, cementitious waterproof membrane, also incorporating Mapenet 150.

Throughout the pools and surrounds, floor tiles were installed with Keraquick S1 – a quick-setting, deformable cementitious adhesive which features a very low VOC formulation – and Kerapoxy two-component, acid resistant epoxy grout. All wall tiles were installed using Adesilex P9 cementitious adhesive and Kerapoxy grout.

Topcem, Nivoplan and Planicrete were also used to prepare floors and walls throughout the Centre’s changing areas. Surfaces were then tanked with Mapeguard WP 200 alkali-resistant waterproofing and anti-fracture membrane, Mapelastic AquaDefense ready to use, flexible, ultra-rapid drying waterproofing membrane and Mapeband alkali-resistant rubber tape. Floor tiles were installed with Keraquick S1 adhesive and walls tiles with Adesilex P9 adhesive. The changing room installation was completed with Ultracolor Plus grout – an anti-efflorescence, quick-setting and drying polymer-modified formulation, featuring water-repellent DropEffect® and mould-resistant BioBlock® – and Kerapoxy grout was used in the shower areas. Tiles throughout the remaining project area – the centre’s Atrium – were also installed with Keraquick S1 adhesive and Ultracolor Plus grout.

For more information about the project and Mapei specification, please contact: info@mapei.co.uk.

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