Nailsea School, Somerset

Nailsea School, Somerset

Main contractor: Carillion
Installer: Optimum Drywall
Type of works: supply of Knauf plasterboard systems for walls and ceilings.

High-performance walls and ceilings featuring plasterboard and related systems from Knauf Drywall help to create a quality learning environment in a newly built secondary school in north Somerset. The £29 million One School Pathfinder project, part of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme, gives Nailsea School attractive and functional new surroundings for its role as a technology and media arts college, and benchmarks future BSF projects in the county. Knauf Drywall’s systems, installed by Optimum Drywall, set acoustic – and some aesthetic – standards for the new school.

The steel-framed, two-storey school adjoins the former comprehensive school buildings which are being demolished to provide space for a new car park and playing fields. Main contractor Carillion began work on the new school in May 2008, on the original playing fields, with the start of the 2009/10 academic year as target opening date. Clad with brick and coloured panels, the new building accommodates some 1,500 students and staff.

With Knauf Drywall systems sourced through Sheffield Insulations’ nearby Avonmouth branch, Optimum Drywall installed floor-to-soffit walls between teaching rooms, consisting of 70mm Knauf ‘C’ Studs at 600mm centres, with two layers of 15mm Knauf Soundshield high-performance plasterboard on either side and 25mm Knauf Crown Partition Roll in the voids. This construction, nominally 130mm before finishes, comfortably meets the 45dB (DnTw) airborne sound reduction between general teaching areas, as required by Building Bulletin 93. Walls separating teaching areas from corridors have 70mm Knauf ‘C’ Studs at 400mm centres, one layer of 15mm Knauf Impact Panel on each side and 25mm void insulation, also meeting BB93 acoustic requirements while ensuring an even more robust partition for high-traffic areas. The partition designs also involved deflection head and abutment joint detailing to maintain acoustic performance and fire resistance, despite any movement in the structure.

Optimum Operations Director Matthew Davies says the school’s architects and acoustic consultants specified Knauf Apertura for key ceilings where visual effect and acoustic performance are particularly important. He says: “The school’s central atrium, for example, has a 650m2 ceiling of 10/23 Knauf Apertura circular perforated plasterboard, which reduces reverberation and provides a visually dramatic seamless finish.” Slotted Knauf Apertura B6 patterned plasterboard is used in the school’s double volume science ‘superlabs’. Ceilings in other teaching areas use the Knauf MF suspended system with 12.5mm Knauf Standard Wallboard.

In Nailsea School’s wet areas, such as changing room showers, ceramic tiles are mounted on Knauf Aquapanel Tile Backer Board. This incredibly strong 12.5mm fibre reinforced cement board is used just like plasterboard and is designed especially for wet areas, where it supports tiling up to 50kg/m2, and virtually eliminates any risk of tile failures.

Founded 10 years ago, Optimum Drywall has become one of the South West’s leading providers of quality drywall partitions, suspended ceilings and other internal works. Based in Bristol, the company also has a branch in Cardiff.

Knauf Drywall manufactures a full range of plasters, plasterboards, insulating laminates, dry flooring, drywall accessories, and metal sections for domestic, commercial and public sector applications. Knauf Drywall pioneered carbon neutral plasterboard in the UK with Knauf Futurepanel. Knauf Drywall also actively promotes recycling from building sites and has a zero waste policy in its energy efficient factories at Sittingbourne in Kent and Immingham on Humberside.

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