Readymix Plasters developed by Knauf Drywall – the UK’s leading manufacturer of lightweight building materials and systems – delivered the finest wall finishes possible, ready for decoration, for the fast-track construction programme to develop two major new London hotels in time for the Olympic Games.

Operated by the Accor Group, the 182-bedroom, four-star Novotel London Blackfriars and the 297-bedroom, budget Ibis London Blackfriars, are sited next to each other on Blackfriars Road and were constructed by main contractor McAleer & Rushe. Approximately 90 tons of Knauf Airless, Deco and Deco Plus finished the two hotels’ walls, including bedrooms, business suites, all corridors, staircases and common areas.

“The big advantage with these products is the speed at which you can apply them – three or four times faster than manual application,” said Jason Smith, director of the specialist subcontractor P3 Projection Coatings appointed by McAleer & Rushe.

He pointed out that faster application also leads to better quality because it means the job requires fewer operatives on site and so it is far simpler to achieve a consistent finish throughout the project.

“Having fewer people on site means that we have far greater control. We only need 12 guys on site whereas traditional methods would have meant we would need 10 gangs of men and the potential for quality issues with variation between finishes. The fact that it is ready-mixed also means we get a consistent product mix as there is no variation between batches.”

Another benefit that was particularly useful on a logistically difficult site such as Blackfriars was the lack of waste and mess – any plaster not sprayed onto the walls and ceilings could be used to fix beadings. “All that we have to remove from the site is the pallets and the sacks – and those we can simply roll up,” commented Mr Smith.

The Novotel was finished with Knauf Airless, which provides a smooth finish and is applied using an airless high pressure piston pump machine, while the Ibis has a textured finish and has been plastered using Knauf Deco and Knauf Deco Plus, which are applied with rotary screw worm pump machines.

Knauf Drywall’s range of Readymix Plasters enable up to 1,000m2 per week and can be finished by a three man gang, while surfaces can be emulsioned within 24 to 48 hours, so the plaster can be applied by the same teams applying the paint finishes. Among the different available are: flat and smooth, textured, leathered, combed or rollered.

There are four products in the range – Knauf Plano, Knauf Deco, Knauf Deco Plus and Knauf Airless – that cover every application including thin joint block systems, pre-cast panels, Aircrete panels, concrete, brickwork, composite boards and refurbishment over previously decorated surfaces. Knauf Plano is filler and levelling compound for use over thin joint block systems, uneven in-situ concrete and on refurbishment projects to fill cracks, holes and undulations to prepare the surface for final decoration.

Knauf Deco is a topcoat that can be applied as a 1 – 2mm top coat on Knauf Plano or be sprayed as a two coat finish directly onto smooth backgrounds such as pre-cast panels, Aircrete panels, composite boards, and – for refurbishment – over previously decorated surfaces.

Knauf Airless is suitable for the same backgrounds but simply applied with a different machine. Developed for areas of high humidity, Deco Plus offers additional water resistance and fungicidal protection while being suitable for the same backgrounds as Knauf Deco