Sika Australia delivered a complete flooring refurbishment solution for the iconic Sydney Fish Market during live trading operations.

The Sydney Fish Market is the largest working fish market in the southern hemisphere, trading 50 tonnes of seafood each day. It is also home to six seafood retailers, a bottle shop, grocer, restaurants, gift shop and deli.

As part of a large facility upgrade, Sika and Danlaid Contracting Sydney were appointed to refurbish the fish market’s deteriorating floor. The project required the new floor to meet food grade standards, withstand heavy foot and forklift traffic, and tolerate excess water on its surface.

A key challenge involved executing the eight-stage project encompassing demolition, preparation, re-grading and laying of the floor while the market continued to trade.

According to Anthony Lewis, Market Field Manager – Flooring at Sika, despite several previous upgrades, the existing floor was in a poor state, which was impacting trading conditions. To remedy this, the floor was hydro demolished to depths of up to 50mm to provide a sound substrate for rebuilding the new floor. The floor was then re-graded to create positive falls for water displacement. An epoxy sub-fill mortar was used to re-create the levels.

Sikafloor 22 PurCem, a low VOC water-based polyurethane screed was selected to finish the floor. Certified for the food industry, it is slip-resistant, heat-resistant and easy to maintain and clean. It is particularly suited to food and beverage processing plants, wet or dry process areas, freezers, coolers and thermal shock areas.

Matthew Dall of Danlaid Contracting Sydney, the contractor appointed to the project described the job as their most difficult ever, considering all the challenges. He commented that upgrading the floor during a live trading period meant effective project management. It was also important to use a flooring solution that minimised disruptions to trading operations.

Regular business could be conducted during the execution of the project with the upgrade completed in eight stages and the existing floor cordoned off in sections. Being a fast application solution, Sikafloor 22 PurCem allowed each section to be re-commissioned quickly and efficiently, reducing downtime.

Each completed section was quickly re-opened for trading, which meant the floors were constantly wet as seafood was moved around the markets. Sikafloor 22 PurCem tolerates high levels of moisture in the concrete, making it ideal for this project. Additionally, being a low odour product, Sikafloor 22 PurCem didn’t taint the fish and customers didn’t experience smells that could impact sales.

The floor refurbishment formed part of a larger and more complex overall facility upgrade, so meeting project budgets and timelines was critical. Dall observed that Sika was able to deliver a high volume of stock on time and on budget. Also, with Sika offering the whole system, the contractor had the convenience of a single point of contact without needing to work with multiple suppliers.