Shops in a new retail park at Orpington, Kent, are separated by secure drywalls up to 11 metres high – and specially engineered to maintain strict fire resistance standards. Technical staff from Knauf Drywall worked with the project’s structural engineers to produce a massive 150mm deflection head that will accommodate significant movement of the 45 metre wide portal span roof without compromising fire performance specifications.

Designed by REID Architecture and built by Kier South East, Nugent Shopping Park is a recently completed £17 million development by the British Land Company plc. Its 10,900m2 of retail space provides 17 stores of various sizes to suit its range of prominent high street retail tenants. The shopping park on Cray Avenue is sited for easy access and has parking for more than 300 cars.

Kier South East Contracts Manager Peter Radley-Martin says the separating walls, which are built to the underside of the steel roof beams, had to provide security and 60 to 120 minutes’ fire resistance – as well as allowing for roof movement resulting from climatic variations – including snow loading. “The Knauf Drywall technical team and our engineers developed an excellent solution, after which installation of the walls went like clockwork,” he says. REID Architecture’s Justin Farmer says: “We promoted Knauf Drywall because we had used them before, when a large deflection head was involved at West Quay Retail Park, Southampton.”

In addition to the deflection head, further detailing was necessary at Nugent Shopping Park to ensure compartmental fire integrity while allowing for expected lateral movement where partitions abut planar glazing at the front of the building.

Using Knauf Drywall products supplied through CPD Distribution, Swanley, the separating walls were installed by Tunbridge Wells-based Integrated Interior Systems. Director Trevor Culmer says the walls consist of 146mm Knauf ‘I’ studs at 300mm centres (or 400mm centres for walls less than 10m high), a steel security mesh and two layers of 15mm Knauf Wallboard on each side. In some parts of the building, Knauf Fireshield is used for added protection. The company also installed partition systems and suspended ceilings for the shopping park’s management offices.

The 206mm wide separating wall construction used at Nugent Shopping Park provides 60 minutes fire resistance or 120 minutes with Knauf Fireshield. It also provides 48dB airborne sound reduction which can be increased to 54dB with a layer of 25mm Knauf Crown Acoustic Partition Roll in the void or by using two layers of Knauf Soundshield on each side. The closely spaced studs for walls over 10m also provided support for agreed shelf loadings.

Knauf Drywall manufactures a full range of plasters, plasterboards, insulating laminates, drywall accessories, metal sections and steel building systems for domestic and commercial applications, from factories at Sittingbourne in Kent and Immingham on Humberside.

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