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Gypsum fibre dry lining boards from Fermacell have helped a specialist timber frame manufacturer make a promising start in a new sector.
Scotts of Thrapston in Northamptonshire have 95 years’ expertise in the equestrian and garden buildings sector but recently decided to try and break into the education sector by supplying modular classroom buildings.
They specified 153 of fermacell’s 1200mm x 2400mm x 12.5mm boards for their first such project, Weldon Church of England Primary School, in their home county, and have not looked back since, also using fermacell for another school and an office building.
The fermacell panels were used to line the walls and ceilings of a £175,000 replacement for a 20-year-old modular building at Weldon in Corby, where pupil numbers have doubled to 200+ in just over 40 years, and have been used throughout the classroom, a group room, lobby, toilets and storeroom.
The 18.5m x 6.5m building, which is also clad in timber and roofed in coated steel profiled panels, was constructed as a flat pack over two weeks at Scotts’ production facility in Thrapston, then transported by truck to Weldon and erected by a team of four men using an all-terrain fork lift truck in just six weeks during term time.
Scotts estimate this is just a fraction of the time it would have taken for a traditional bricks and mortar build, saving contractors and therefore clients considerable amounts of money and reducing reliance on good weather.
The new, well-insulated building is more than double the size of its predecessor, which even lacked running water, and makes use of full-length windows to maximise natural daylight and reduce the school’s reliance on artificial lighting.
The fermacell boards have helped bring the new classroom into the 21st Century in other ways too as a large new wipe board can be hung from the boards without recourse to pattressing which is time consuming and more expensive in terms of materials and labour.
Scotts’ business development manager Philip Goldstone said the fermacell boards were specified by them for multiple reasons.
“Their density helped from a structural engineers’ point of view and their robustness provides good impact resistance which is essential in this sector,” he said.
“From a fire resistance point of view they have a good burn time and they are moisture resistant. But probably most impressive is their racking ability. Their holding strength is such that we don’t have to do any reinforcing. The school can hang its wipe boards and shelving without any damage occurring.”
He added: “The other benefit we liked was that the fermacell boards didn’t need skimming. We were just able to join the boards and then paint them. The finish it gives was perfectly acceptable.”
The company had become familiar with fermacell over time but this was the first time they had used the boards.
Philip said: “We had had some training from Fermacell so we knew what tools we would need and there were no issues at all. We were perfectly happy working with it.”
They have now also been used on the walls and ceilings at Sutton Benger primary school in Chippenham, Wiltshire, which comprises classroom, lobby, storeroom and toilets, and at stone supplier Digby Stone’s new flagship offices in Halesowen, West Midlands.