Entrance matting for neurodiverse users
Located in north west Birmingham, the area of Perry Barr is currently undergoing a £700 million regeneration as part of a 2040 master plan that will see the area upgraded to include new homes and transport infrastructure.
A key part of these plans involved a £30 million demolition and rebuild of the existing Perry Barr Railway station, designed to be the main hub for attendees of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games being held in the city in July and August 2022. The station is also the nearest station for access to the 42,000-capacity Villa Park stadium, home ground to Premier league football club, Aston Villa.
INTRAsystems was engaged to provide high absorbency, hardwearing entrance matting for all three entry and exit points to the station. In particular, the matting needed to accommodate a contrast panel, which would form part of a unique navigation system, designed to help visually-impaired and neurodiverse station users find their way around the station concourse with ease.
Taking into consideration the expected footfall and wide entrance ways, which means the area gets heavy exposure to rainfall, and the requirement for a contrast stripe, we specified INTRAform DM entrance matting with Elite fibre inserts for Perry Barr station.
This specific combination features a heavy-duty aluminium profile with wide fibre inserts; a configuration that has been successfully specified in other rail stations across the UK. The Elite fibre insert offers excellent all-round performance with high moisture absorbency as well as an effective scraping action for dirt removal. The closed construction of the INTRAform DM scraper bars makes the product easy to clean and maintain, as well as being extremely durable. Our 10-year warranty gave the client confidence this was a solid choice for an entrance destined to see extreme spikes in traffic, particularly on match days.
An outstanding contrast
The highlight feature on this project is, of course, the dedicated contrasting strip that runs down the middle of the matwell. INTRAform DM is compatible with our complete portfolio of 21 unique fibre insert colours, enabling the client to achieve the prominent colour contrast they wanted. In fact, it was our ability to deliver on this aspect of the brief that ultimately won us the contract, when another, initially specified product was unable to fulfil this aspect of the brief.
To add to the challenge, the stripe in the matting was part of a station-wide navigation system intended to assist all kinds of station users. This meant the contrast section had to occupy a very specific position within the design so it aligned perfectly with the tactile, studded flooring flowing through the rest of the station concourse.
This was the case for each of the three matting sections installed at Perry Barr, with the studded flooring not only contained within the station concourse, but also forming part of the approach to the station from the street outside. To add a further element of complexity, one of these contrast panels also needed to be T-bar shaped in order to accommodate a 90-degree turn in the flooring design.
After sharing a selection of fibre samples the client opted for Elite 608 black as the base colour, with Elite in 605 cocoa for the contrast stripe, the combination of which achieved a clear differentiation to make the stripes panels really stand out. Fortunately, INTRAsystem’s plank system, was able to perfectly accommodate the precision and tight alignment required by the design very simply and in a way that other traditional entrance matting systems can’t.
Coordination between the contractor responsible for the flooring beyond the matwell and the mat well installer was very important to ensure the design aspect of the brief came together for the client and achieved the desired result. We worked closely with all parties, supplying the 30sq metres of matting in a format that enabled this neat, tightly aligned design to run continuously in an unbroken line across the station flooring.