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Wall and ceiling systems

by Hannah Raven on Feb 7, 2015

The face of the wall and ceiling systems market is changing as manufacturers realise old materials are capable of new tricks. Hannah Raven reports.

Wall and ceiling systems need to tick a growing number of boxes for GCC clients, with sustainability, flexibility and safety benchmarks to meet, and an increasing number of options in the market means costs must be competitive.
US-based Crane Composites manufactures and supplies FRP (fibre-reinforced plastic) panels, an indoor system for walls and ceilings, and began operations in the Middle East in September 2014.

From its Jebel Ali base, the company serves the entire GCC and has already secured projects in all six countries in the region, dealing through distributers.

“We decided to come to the Middle East because the construction market is doing so well, especially our market, which is hospitals, schools, universities, hotels, food processing, restaurants, homes, healthcare,” said Sofienne Zitoun, the company’s regional sales manager for the Middle East and Africa.

FRP is an alternative to wallpaper, painted walls and other types of cladding. It has a burn time of up to two hours, is noise-resistant, sustainable, has a 10-year warranty, is scratch resistant and can be easily cleaned.

“We are providing what the government is looking for,” said Zitoun. “Our products are FM-approved – one of the most important fire ratings in the world – and all our 40 products have been given the International Green Award.”
Crane Composites’ products cost between $10-$45 per m2.

“Maintenance cost is zero for at least 10 years,” explained Zitoun, adding that compared to maintaining traditional painted walls, FRP breaks even in a year and-a-half and begins to become cheaper there on in.

The company is contracted to provide FRP systems for the Al Bayt and Al-Khor Stadiums, which will host some of the Qatar 2022 World Cup games, and the Kuwait Sabah Al Saleem University.

One of its biggest international contracts is with US-headquartered Cheesecake Factory, to whom it supplies products to more than 200 restaurants worldwide.

As demand grows, Crane Composites plans to set up a GCC headquarters in Dubai and a warehouse in Dubai Investments Park.

At the moment, the firm is the only company providing FRP in the Middle East, but Abu Dhabi-based Ti Laminates has developed a similar product.

HPL (high pressure laminate) has a durable, decorative surface and can be produced to be chemical and fire resistant.

HPL was traditionally used for flooring, countertops and desktops, and has been a stalwart member of the kitchen unit material family for many years, but Ti Laminates is working to fully utilise the material’s unique properties, and has begun developing ceiling, wall and partition systems.

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