Spec Finish

Technical www.thefis.org 11 Steel partitioning offers fresh solutions in high rise living David Loader is Commercial Director at Troax Ltd, he says that with high residential projects shooting onto the skyline on a daily basis, the need for storage has become paramount; one thing that is missing in them is loft space for storage. Developers and clients alike are now looking for efficient ways to provide secure storage for tenants that will be robust and require low maintenance. Surprisingly, some developers are attempting to make their own ‘mesh partitioning’ without realising that systems already exist. Storage cages are made mainly from steel mesh panels and full steel panels. These are normally the material of choice due to aesthetics and air flow purposes. Lockers can be full height or split into two made from the same material. Mesh panels offer good light, good ventilation and make it easy to spot and extinguish fires, Troax also has a fully closed full steel solution protecting contents from public view. It’s been recognised that additional secure storage space for high value bikes, ebikes and other possessions is a real feature that can ultimately help make the decision on where to buy. As well as benefiting end users, storage cages generate an additional revenue stream for the client/developer, who can either sell the cages or rent them out for an annual return. Steel partition systems are the forerunner of today’s modular partitioning systems and have been in production since the mid-20th century. Manufactured in the UK they are also being used in warehouses and production facilities, including clean rooms, to provide machine guarding and are a useful addition to an architect’s range of systems at all levels. www.troax.com Competency Peter Long is the Divisional Fire and Certification Director at Optima Products. Here he writes about competency in the construction industry, a subject that has rightly gained increasing prominence in the past five years. We will all have seen examples in the press and in social media of construction products that have been badly installed, poorly maintained or simply mis-used by building occupants who don’t know any better. The partitioning industry is right at the heart of the need to acquire and project competency to its customers. The vast majority of partition systems, whether glazed or solid, will have key performance characteristics that will play a vital role in the completed fit-out. The system may be required to be fire resisting as part of the compartmentation of the space. They may be required to be loadbearing as some form of barrier, perhaps providing guarding to a change in level. Both of those examples have safety-critical implications. If they are designed, installed or maintained poorly, lives could be at stake. Less critical, but often no less important in design terms, is acoustic performance. Partitions play a crucial role in dividing a space into smaller work zones, often enclosed for privacy. The performance of partitions, in maintaining that privacy with good sound attenuation, can be significantly undermined by bad specification and poor installation. More recently, we have seen significant interest in the performance of all construction products, including partitions, in terms of their environmental and sustainability credentials, and also their impact on the wellbeing of building occupants. Thorough and complete understanding Put simply, competency is defined as ‘an important skill that is needed to do a job’. That skill is firstly in understanding the performance characteristics of the product. That doesn’t just mean being able to repeat the single number performance values for fire resistance, loadbearing capability or sound insulation. It means understanding the context of that single number value – how was it obtained? How does it relate to the exact application being constructed? How does that single number value rely on the surrounding construction to be achievable? Does the performance depend on regular maintenance? That skill is then in designing the product so that its interfaces work in harmony with the surrounding construction and that the product is not undermining or being undermined by that interface. Fabrication is also a key area of competency. Products that are performance-based need to be produced to the same specification and quality every time. Operatives involved in the supervision and fabrication need to understand the implications of not maintaining this level of output. Installation And then we come to installation – the last important link in the chain. If installers do not understand the sequence of installation, the materials needed to install correctly, or the implications of doing it wrong, all of the earlier good work could be dangerously undermined. Customers are entitled to expect competency from their suppliers. But how do we achieve it? In my view, it has a lot to do with attitude. I’ve spent my entire career in the construction industry, mainly around interior construction products like partitions. I have always made it my business to research the subject without waiting to be asked. Employers have a duty to train their people, but they should also be encouraging them to want to know more. www.optimasystems.com Peter Long, Divisional Fire and Certification Director at Optima Products David Loader, Commercial Director at Troax Ltd If you are interested in sharing your views in the next edition of SpecFinish, please email joecilia@thefis.org

RkJQdWJsaXNoZXIy Mzg1Mw==