Load-bearing Steel Building Systems (SBS) from Knauf Drywall have earned a place in history, helping to support the UK’s aviation heritage. SBS sections, with other Knauf Drywall partitioning and ceiling systems, have been used to create valuable teaching and office space at AirSpace, the impressive new display of classic military and civilian aircraft at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford.

SBS sections are cold rolled from heavy gauge steel and are specially designed for dry-built load-bearing walls and partitions – as well as for floors and roofs. The sections are used in a similar way as drywall studs, but load-bearing designs must be approved by a structural engineer. Because Knauf SBS is a faster and lighter alternative to traditional solutions, it is ideally suited for fast track applications in commercial and domestic projects. Quick and simple to erect, the system allows easy installation of mechanical and electrical services during construction or later. Andrew Foy of specialist installers Stortford Interiors, who have used Knauf SBS in a variety of projects, says these attributes made it an excellent choice for the AirSpace development.

AirSpace is a purpose built 12,000m2 exhibition hangar housing more than 30 famous British and Commonwealth aircraft from World War 1 to the Concorde era. The £25 million project – now partly open and due for completion in July 2007 – will include extensive interactive exhibitions tracing the development of British aviation. It will also house the Learning Suite, where IWM Duxford will continue its wide-ranging education programme which serves 55,000 pupils and students each year. Knauf SBS was used to build a 10 metre high partition wall at one side of the AirSpace hangar and to create the Learning Suite and other rooms on the galleries on each side.

Knauf SBS is designed for internal and external walls and can significantly reduce build times – especially where it is used for infill panels which enable earlier closure of the building envelope. As a lightweight load-bearing solution, Knauf SBS simplifies foundation requirements. This saves costs and allows considerable flexibility in design, making Knauf SBS ideal for renovation projects.

The system is used with the complete range of Knauf Drywall plasterboards, and can provide exceptional performance in terms of fire resistance (up to 120 minutes), thermal resistance, sound insulation (up to 55dB – or more with a twin-frame solution) and load-bearing capabilities. Knauf SBS is a cost-effective alternative to other construction elements such as hot-rolled steel, timber, reinforced concrete or blockwork, but may be used in conjunction with them. Stortford Interiors, based in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, is a major specialist contractor in the supply and installation of wall, ceiling and interior solutions for the construction industry.

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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