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Main Contractor: BAM Construction Ltd

Subcontractor: Richard Kemble Contracts Ltd

Products used: Knauf Airless Finish

Knauf Airless Finish spray plaster has provided a flawless, sustainable interior wall finish and contributed to the BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating at the new unified breast unit at Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr Hospital.

According to Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB), the local health board of NHS Wales for Gwent, the breast units in its area are the busiest in Wales, seeing over 6,000 patients yearly.

So, to better meet the healthcare needs of the people of Gwent and improve the quality of service and care for patients, ABUHB is building a new state-of-the-art unit in Ystrad Mynach that will bring together its breast cancer services.

Leading the project development is BAM Construction with subcontractors, including Richard Kemble Contracts Ltd, who recommended using Knauf Airless spray instead of traditional methods, such as the full taping and jointing finish which was originally specified, or traditional gypsum plastering.

Mathew Kemble, Director, Richard Kemble Contracts, explains: “I’ve completed several projects using Knauf Airless Spray Finish and have been impressed with its excellent application and finish, so I recommended we use it at the unified breast care unit. This project really showed the system’s value compared to a full taping and jointing finish in both time and money. Here, it worked out cost neutral as it didn’t require a primer sealer.”

A traditional tape and jointing finish to BS 8000-8:2023 involves bedding paper joint tape into jointing compound, followed by two further stages of increasing widths of jointing compound (including drying time between each layer). A primer/sealer is then needed before a decorative finish. 

Knauf Airless Finish can be applied instead of the additional passes of jointing compound in line with BS 8000-8:2023, after bedding the Knauf Paper Joint tape and filling to shoulders of the taper, saving time and materials, with no primer necessary before spray applying Knauf Airless Finish.

Applied internally to the plasterboard partitions at the new centre, Knauf Airless Finish is a spray applied alternative to traditional gypsum plaster. The ready-mixed finish is quicker to install than traditional methods, provides a high-quality finish and brings significant health and safety benefits, including less dust inhalation due to it being pre-mixed, and less strain on the body.

Mathew Kemble continues: “When you compare it to traditional plastering methods, it’s quicker to apply, and there are fewer defects, so it saves a lot of time on snagging. The end result is a high-quality, fine finish that’s far better than traditional methods.”

Rhodri Price, Senior Site Manager, BAM Construction Ltd agrees, saying: “The quality of the finish combined with the speed was fantastic. From a health and safety point of view, there are fewer people on site and less sanding is required making for a safer site. It’s been really impressive on site and is something we’d definitely like to use going forwards.”

A further benefit is that the product comes ready-mixed, which minimises water needed on site, compared to traditional gypsum plastering which uses around 1.15 litres of water per M², which has helped contribute to the centre’s ‘Excellent’ BREEAM rating.

Due for completion in 2024, the new unified breast care unit will be a ‘centre of excellence’ for breast cancer, comprising diagnostic, treatment and counselling rooms, administrative and staff facilities, a reception and waiting area, a volunteer café, outside landscaped spaces and parking. The new purpose-built facility will be connected to the existing main Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr Hospital, which BAM Construction delivered in 2011, via a glazed link bridge.

To learn more about the Knauf Airless Finish system click here.