Ceiling installers take to the boxing ring to prove their mettle.
It was gloves off when 16 members of Armstrong Ceiling Solutions’ national network of Omega contractors were treated to a sneak preview of a new product. Teams of two from each contractor went head to head with another pair of fitters in an all-singing, all-dancing Grid-Off competition to install the soon-to-be-launched TLS grid and Ultima+ board tile system in a 7.2m2 rig erected in a “boxing ring” at the NEC.
Organiser Isabel Blanco, Armstrong’s marketing and sales coordinator for the UK, Ireland and Southern Africa, said: “We were inundated with interest for this competition and that was reflected in how seriously our Omega members took the event on the day, not just in terms of finishing the installation quickly but finishing it well.”
The eight rounds, to commentary by boxing pundit Steve Bunce, saw the two fastest times through to a grand final during which Coyle Suspended Ceilings, all the way from Northern Ireland, emerged the winners and New Forest Ceilings runners-up.
Coyle fitters Kevin Coyle and Tom Goodfellow installed their final ceiling in 05:22:22 and New Forest brothers Jai and Carlo Kilford clocked up 06:36:16 to win some seriously sought-after prizes.
The audience was also treated to a pair of “Armstrong Amateurs” taking on the challenge, with technical sales manager John Spicer and Ian Young, who runs Armstrong’s installation school in Gateshead, installing their ceiling, with a little help, in 08:00:71.
The Coyle pair each won an Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra James Bond limited edition watch while the New Forest brothers won four tickets to watch Anthony Joshua fight Wladimir Klitschko for the WBO super heavyweight world championship at Wembley on April 29th.
The other Omega members competing were DV McColl from Belshill in Scotland (6:31), Peveril Interiors from Derby (6:32), Diespeker Interiors from Cullompton in Devon (6:33), Schofield Commercial Interiors from Belper near Derby (6:38), SCL Interiors from Downham Market in Norfolk (6:45), Carter Ceilings from Stirling (7:15), Taylor Hart from Coventry (7:26), H+L Ceilings from Bristol (7:43), Newey Ceilings from Burton upon Trent in Staffordshire (8:00), John Atkinson Interiors from Morley near Leeds (8:01), Great Yarmouth Ceilings (8:15), Richard Kemble Contracts from Rumney near Cardiff (8:18), Telling Finishings from Mansfield (8:23) and Bellwood Interiors from Barton-Le-Clay in Bedfordshire (9:52).
And what about the new TLS grid system? After their first round, the first time they had used the new TLS grid, Kevin Coyle and Tom Goodfellow said it was “First class. Very good, very easy to use. Clicks in nice and easy. At least 10% quicker.”
Similarly, New Forest Ceilings’ team members Jai and Carlo Kilford also had some very positive feedback on the new TLS grid system.
“We thought it was good. It went up very quickly and came down very quickly which is usually the problem [coming down]. It felt quite sturdy,” they said.
Reflecting on Coyle’s crowning as 2017 Grid-Off champions, Kevin Coyle said: “We were delighted to get the opportunity to compete and had been looking forward to the trip. The quality of the competition on the day was high amongst a field of skilled workmen from across the UK. We are delighted with the win, especially as we were the only Irish team to compete. Our company is fortunate to have long-serving team members who work well together and I believe this helped Thomas and I to secure the win. We hope to get the opportunity to defend the title next year! Many thanks to the professional team at Armstrong for organising the event.”