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Fermacell's gypsum fibreboard panels havesaved construction costs for a new school.

Gypsum fibreboard from fermacell was used todry-line a newprimary school to enable the main contractor, Interserve Construction, theinternational support services and construction group, to accelerate theconstruction programme.

Fermacell's 12.5mm square-edged panels have beenused 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 inthe mornings and afternoons as well as two reception and two Year 1 classes.

Designed by NPS for Leeds City Council's children'sservices, the original specification was for plasterboard which would have requiredtwo layers and plywood pattressing to meet the loading requirements for potentiallyheavy wall fixings.

Plywood or other wooden sheets in a variety ofthicknesses and grades are most commonly used for pattressing in addition toplasterboard for fixing items such as flat screen TVs, handrails and heavytiles to walls. While failures are rare, as specifiers and installers take stepsto ensure a fit-for-purpose partition, it is an outdated methodology that hasnot changed for many years.

Using gypsum fibreboard panels enabled thedry-lining at Lane End to go ahead with just a single layer of fermacell, ineffect negating the need for one layer of plasterboard and one layer of plywoodpattressing, saving money on materials and manpower.

DLA Architecture developed the school buildingdesign, which includes a substantial sports hall also built of steel frame withbrick and block infills, at construction stage.

Chartered architectural technologist Aharon Fegansaid: “The original NBS specification supplied to us by NPS specifiedplasterboard internal wall linings. Interserve then requested that the internalwall linings specification be revised to fermacell. Interserve had not used fermacellbefore but they knew of the potential benefits of the product.

“Interserve's main aim was to save time on theconstruction programme by allowing installation of the internal walls beforethe building was watertight. Interserve asked us to evaluate the product forthis particular building and we had a meeting with fermacell to explore theproduct. Once we confirmed all details and specifications, fermacell wassuitably specified.”

At up to 100% more dense than standardplasterboard, fermacell has incredible racking strength which provides acost-effective single layer solution to pattressing as it is capable ofcarrying up to 50kg per cavity fixing and 30kg per screw for dead loads. That isthe same weight as a 50” plasma TV or a couple of wall-hung cabinets. So if aschool changes its mind about where it wants its plasmas, wipe boards orcupboards, they can be easily moved.

This negates the designer and installer having toplan particularly carefully in advance where items are to be hung andconsequently where specific areas need to be pattressed, making the interior designscheme ultimately flexible and future-proof ... and the wall section thinnerthan the traditional plasterboard/pattress combination.

The single-layer solution achieved withexceptionally dimensionally stable gypsum fibreboard also helps reduce any riskassociated with pattressing potentially compromising other panel performanceaspects 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) andalso perform acoustically - a partition with a single layer of 12.5mm gypsumfibreboard to each side achieving 54dB Rw of sound insulation when combinedwith appropriate insulation materials.

The fermacell panels were installed at Lane End byDR Plastering, Rendering & Partitions. Commercial manager John Afford said:“The fermacell panels were an integral part of the building as it was a schooland needed a severe rating.

“The original specification had many double-boardedpartitions with pattressing. The fermacell specification reduced the walls tosingle 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 wasloading out/labourers as there were less materials involved and also less wastegenerated. These are difficult to quantify but savings will have been produced.At a guess this could have been a further £10,000.”

Leeds City Council project coordinator MartinMorgan said: “fermacell products were not part of the authority requirementsspecification. They were a product put forward for use in sections of thebuilding that complied with a high-level specification.”

Manufactured from recycled gypsum, recycledcellulose fibres from post-consumer waste paper, and recycled water, fermacellis also fully recyclable, with all off-cuts fed back into the manufacturingprocess - green credentials which contribute towards BREEAM ratings. This wasalso important as the project was procured via the YORbuild regional efficiencyframework which has a number of sustainable KPI targets.


Photo: Interserve Construction

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