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Gypsum fibreboard from fermacell was used to dry-line a new primary school to enable the main contractor, Interserve Construction, the international support services and construction group, to accelerate the construction programme.
fermacell’s 12.5mm square-edged panels have been used throughout the £5.5 million Lane End Primary School in Beeston, Leeds, which now caters for 420 three to 11-year-olds, offering nursery provision in the mornings and afternoons as well as two reception and two Year 1 classes.
Designed by NPS for Leeds City Council’s children’s services, the original specification was for plasterboard which would have required two layers and plywood pattressing to meet the loading requirements for potentially heavy wall fixings.
Plywood or other wooden sheets in a variety of thicknesses and grades are most commonly used for pattressing in addition to plasterboard for fixing items such as flat screen TVs, handrails and heavy tiles to walls. While failures are rare, as specifiers and installers take steps to ensure a fit-for-purpose partition, it is an outdated methodology that has not changed for many years.
Using gypsum fibreboard panels enabled the dry-lining at Lane End to go ahead with just a single layer of fermacell, in effect negating the need for one layer of plasterboard and one layer of plywood pattressing, saving money on materials and manpower.
DLA Architecture developed the school building design, which includes a substantial sports hall also built of steel frame with brick and block infills, at construction stage.
Chartered architectural technologist Aharon Fegan said: “The original NBS specification supplied to us specified plasterboard internal wall linings. Interserve then requested that the internal wall linings specification be revised to fermacell. Interserve had not used fermacell before but they knew of the potential benefits of the product.
“Interserve’s main aim was to save time on the construction programme by allowing installation of the internal walls before the building was watertight. Interserve asked us to evaluate the product for this particular building and we had a meeting with fermacell to explore the product. Once we confirmed all details and specifications, fermacell was specified.”
At up to 100% more dense than standard plasterboard, fermacell has incredible racking strength which provides a cost-effective single layer solution to pattressing as it is capable of carrying up to 50kg per cavity fixing and 30kg per screw for dead loads. That is the same weight as a 50” plasma TV or a couple of wall-hung cabinets. So if a school changes its mind about where it wants its plasmas, white boards or cupboards, they can be easily moved.
This negates the designer and installer having to plan particularly carefully in advance where items are to be hung and consequently where specific areas need to be pattressed, making the interior design scheme ultimately flexible and future-proof ... and the wall section thinner than the traditional plasterboard/pattress combination.
The single-layer solution achieved with exceptionally dimensionally stable gypsum fibreboard also helps reduce any risk associated with pattressing potentially compromising other panel performance aspects such as fire resistance and acoustics.
Gypsum fibreboard panels are resistant to impact, moisture and fire (Class 0, Class 1 surface spread of flame / Euroclass A2) and also perform acoustically - a partition with a single layer of 12.5mm gypsum fibreboard to each side achieving 54dB Rw of sound insulation when combined with appropriate insulation materials.
The fermacell panels were installed at Lane End by DR Plastering, Rendering & Partitions. Commercial manager John Afford said: “The fermacell panels were an integral part of the building as it was a school and needed a severe rating.
“The original specification had many double-boarded partitions with pattressing. The fermacell specification reduced the walls to single boards with minimal pattressing hence a cost saving was produced.
“The basic material cost saving was approximately £6,000 or 3.5% of the dry-lining works. However, what it did save costs with was loading out/labourers as there were less materials involved and also less waste generated. These are difficult to quantify but savings will have been produced. At a guess this could have been a further £10,000.”