The new Swansea Arena, opened earlier this year, has been described as the ‘crowning jewel’ of a £135m regeneration of the Swansea marine frontage. This new facility is part of a wider £1 billion scheme to rejuvenate the city as a whole and provide an exciting new focus for business and leisure.

The Arena is now fully operational and hosting major international acts from The Kaiser Chiefs to Will Young and Rhod Gilbert. However, the first thing anyone will notice as they enter the foyer of the building is the very impressive polished concrete floor. In fact, there are 1,633sq metres of polished concrete throughout entrance and the main concourse.

“This is polished concrete with a difference – a distinctive red, high gloss finish, with aggregate exposed,” says Mark Jackson, TPS360’s Sales Director for the Central, North and East Regions. “It does look absolutely stunning and it was achieved without the use of acrylic or any other top layer. The high gloss appearance is achieved by diamond polishing with our remote controlled, planetary grinding machines, according to our technique perfected over more than ten years. I would say that our experience in the field of polished concrete is unique, and it is very strongly highlighted on this project. Like most major projects, there have been challenges along the way, but part of what we do is to overcome challenges and it has been a pleasure and a privilege to be involved in this landmark development for Wales.”

It was TPS360’s experience and excellent project portfolio which opened the door for them on this project initially. The company worked with the main contractor from a very early stage to develop the spec and to bring to reality the architect’s specification for polished concrete. This high level of involvement is typical of the way that TPS360 works with partners on construction projects and in this case it also enabled the company to win the contract for 4,300sq metres of resin flooring in addition to the polished concrete areas.

TPS360 specified and installed a FeRFA Type 5 Resin system throughout, including the main arena, kitchens, corridors, both indoor and outdoor stairs, dressing rooms and back of house areas. 

“This project was unusual in featuring significant areas of both polished concrete and resin on the one job,” says Mark Jackson. “We put a FeRFA Type 5 solution forward, as it is the hardest-wearing of the decorative resins and is often used in arena applications. It looks great and will keep looking good for at least ten years, given an appropriate cleaning regime.’’

The advantages of polished concrete on the other hand include the fact that it will last up to 25 years, with very little ongoing maintenance and the cleaning process is environmentally friendly, requiring only water and a diamond pad.

The appropriate maintenance procedures will ensure that both the polished concrete and the resin flooring areas at Swansea Arena, installed by TPS360, will look outstanding for many years to come, so that this remains a popular venue within the cultural landscape of South Wales for many years to come.

The architects on the project were ACME and AFL, and the main contractor was Buckingham Group Contracting.