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Building Products December 2017

CEILINGS, PARTITIONS AND BOARDS various elements such as full-glass or fabric covered panels, or the parking arrangements for example. BIM tools can also be used to maximise acoustic performance of the partition, allowing installation to be precisely scheduled so that sound flanking can be minimised. If we come into the process too late, there is only so much remedial work the installation team can do to reduce sound leakage, but BIM modelling ensures we are on site at exactly the right time. For example, on one project we were able to advise re-routing heating and air conditioning ducts through the ceiling cavity of an adjacent corridor, rather than directly across the space above the moveable wall. This allowed us to install a double-layered plasterboard baffle either side of the ceiling track, entirely encasing the area which would otherwise have been a significant source of sound transmission. For particularly demanding projects, the expertise of a professional acoustician should always be considered as ultimately, the usefulness of a moveable wall system rests on the level of privacy achieved for the areas either side of divide. It must be remembered that the nominal acoustic 58 BUILDING PRODUCTS | DECEMBER 2017 performance (R’w) of an installation may well be reduced by as much as 12-15% of the laboratory tested results (Rw), so it is worthwhile taking expert advice to minimise this differential. Finally, we need to consider the long-term implications of owning a modern operable wall, especially if it is automatic or even semiautomatic. Power operated walls come under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (1998 (PUWER) and regulation five clearly states that ‘Every employer should ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state and in efficient working order and in good repair.’ In addition, BS7309 dictates that such equipment must be maintained in line with manufacturer guidelines and that you must demonstrate that: • Maintenance is carried out at appropriate intervals • Defects are remedied within suitable time scales • Records, such as a log book, are kept to document the above The frequency of annual maintenance checks will vary considerably, depending on how often the partition is moved, although we would generally recommend that a trained engineer visits the site bi-annually for a fully automated system. It is worth considering signing up to a programme of test, inspection and repair, ensuring your system is legal and safe for use at all times. This can also reduce the risk of unscheduled downtime which is particularly important for some locations, such as a busy hotel conference suite, where a working operable wall is essential to operations. <<< Continued from page 57 You are not obliged to take the contract offered by the manufacturer or installer and it pays to compare quotes. Check the small print to ensure any contract offers a full service rather than a ‘due diligence’ visual inspection, which may not satisfy health and safety obligations. A comprehensive examination should include checking all seals are intact and fully operational, cleaning and lubrication of track and fixings, alignment of panels and tracking system as well as a full check of the motor and key switches, panel contacts and push buttons. Check too that the contract includes the services of an employed, professional engineer who has the advantages of a well-stocked van, allowing minor repairs to be done there and then, helping avoid extra charges for a return visit. Apart from the legal ramifications, you should look to the life span of the system. Undoubtedly, a well-maintained partition, however highly engineered, is capable of operating efficiently for many years into the future, significantly contributing to the long-term sustainability of any development. www.style-partitions.co.uk Hi-tech operable walls present far reaching implications BIM modelling ensures we are on site at exactly the right time


Building Products December 2017
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