How GRP grating has improved the construction industry

Our GRP riser protection products are changing the way construction sites are run.

In 2017, SMD was the first UK decking company to develop a bespoke glass reinforced plastic (GRP) void protection solution for use during the installation of metal floor deck on construction sites – the VoidSafe® Protection System. The system was created to make sites safer and improve site logistics during the construction stage whilst offering a permanent fixture that can be easily modified to suit the use of the riser or void that it protects. For us, the safety aspect of the system was the governing driver to develop this product option for our customers to adopt on their contracts.


A-void-ing gaps

Most buildings have a requirement for service voids to be incorporated into the floor area to allow fixtures, cables, pipework, and other services to be easily installed and maintained throughout the lifetime of the building. It is these small voids that are most suitable for protection by our VoidSafe® (VS) system. By placing a VS panel over the void(s), effectively covering all gaps or holes in the floor, risks related to falling from height are significantly reduced. The panels not only prevent the on-site workers falling, but also prevent equipment, tools or materials being accidentally dropped through the voids.


The design of the panels complies with BS4592-0:2006+A1:2012, which states:

“The maximum openings within a working platform or walkway shall not permit the passage of a 35mm diameter sphere, except where the working platform or walkway is above a place where people are working, as opposed to passing occasionally, then the maximum openings shall not permit the passage of a 20mm diameter sphere.


More cost effective than handrails or scaffolding

Traditionally, contractors have provided hole protection in the form of system handrails or scaffolding, but these solutions can actually become more expensive in terms of both time and cost, particularly when adaptions and re-configuration changes, as well as constant inspections throughout the programme are all factored in.


Planning to use our VoidSafe® Protection System right at the start of the process can help to alleviate some of this time, resource and money pressure as there is no need to move handrails time and time again for following trades. This also eliminates the need for further coordination and visits from the handrail providers which all comes with an extra cost.


How far can it span?

Well, these GRP panels are stronger than you’d think. We’ve run independent testing to give you confidence in the product and have also put together Load Tables to assist with design and selection.

Will it be the new norm?

This year ~35% of our contracts have incorporated the VS option, but we’re also finding VoidSafe® is now being specified on many contracts (replacing the traditional wood shuttered void protection option). With major clients adopting this safety system, it won’t be long before we see this type of void protection solution on all projects. Apart from the H&S advantages, use of the VS option reduces the number of trades needed on site, resulting in a significant commercial benefit.

Supply Only also available!

VS is not only offered as part of our installation service – it can also be purchased on its own for installation by others. All panels can be cut to size or supplied as full sheets delivered using the pallet network.


It’s not a one-trick-pony

The GRP panels can be used in other applications in a variety of industries. As part of our Supply Only option, we can offer Reinforced Safety Grating (RSG). Under this brand name, the anti-slip panels can be utilised as grid flooring for walking platforms in public areas or access walkways for rail, industrial or commercial locations, an alternative to conventional steel and aluminium grating systems. They’re also a popular option for marine pontoons.


Easy installation and additional supports

Our panels can be easily cut on site using simple hand tools, the ease of handling fiberglass grating makes it the ideal grating to install in difficult access areas due to its lightweight properties. In addition to the GRP panels, we also offer a range of structural profiles that can support and complement any fabricated structure.


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