Skip to main content

Join our community on


Refurb of historic former Coventry Evening Telegraph building achieved using SMARTPLY ULTIMA OSB/4

The rear section of the former Coventry Evening Telegraph Building is being transformed into a brand-new cultural venue, using SMARTPLY ULTIMA OSB/4 for its flooring.

The building has been home to the city’s newspaper for over 50 years, and following the publication’s move to new offices, has hosted numerous cultural events such as art exhibitions and concerts. The front of the building was recently converted into the four-star Telegraph Hotel, leaving the rear to be redeveloped.

Dean Harrow, Quantity Surveyor of main contractor Harrabin Construction, said: “The task was to convert the basement at the rear of the building. It was originally called the ‘reel store’, where rolls of paper for the newspaper were kept. This is being converted into a digital art gallery for a legacy project with the City of Coventry. The gallery will feature lots of high-tech features and projections.”

To ensure that a good floor-to-ceiling height was maintained, SMARTPLY ULTIMA OSB/4 was specified for the flooring. As a robust OSB/4 panel suitable for the most demanding structural applications, SMARTPLY ULTIMA OSB/4 offered increased strength and rigidity in areas where higher than standard loads are expected, without significantly increasing the height of the floor.

Furthermore, SMARTPLY ULTIMA has a higher moisture resistance compared to OSB/3 panels, which makes it ideal for an area with a high water table.

Dean explained: “We had a couple of issues on this project, one was that the ceiling height was quite low, and the other was that the area had suffered with high water tables. Over the years, there has been a river and several sewers going through this part of Coventry. To counteract this, we could have put a heavy waterproof membrane down and then put a screen on top, but in this job millimetres were critical. So, we decided to use 18mm SMARTPLY ULTIMA OSB/4 instead, as it is highly water resistant, and it allowed us to maintain as much floor to ceiling height as we could. This didn’t rule out the necessity for a waterproof membrane, but it allowed us to use something lighter over the floor, over which SMARTPLY ULTIMA was installed, and still maintain the floor to ceiling height. Around 70 square metres of OSB/4 were used, and it’s worked very well.”

Dean concluded: “We have used MEDITE SMARPTLY products in the past, and we have been happy with the results. We hope to use them again in the future.”

Manufactured using ContiRoll® technology, SMARTPLY ULTIMA is a smooth, consistent wood panel that can be produced in largescale formats of up to 2.8m wide by 7.5m long. This makes it an ideal panel for large projects as it allows entire roofs, floors and walls to be sheathed with minimal effort and in less time.

Finally, SMARTPLY ULTIMA contains no added formaldehyde, which makes it safer to work with for installers and contributes to an overall healthier building.

The project is due for completion at the end of October 2021.

Harrabin Construction is a UK construction company based in Coventry. It was established in 1974 and specialises in new builds, refurbishment and alternation, and restoration of buildings of historical significance.

Keep up with them here: