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Simplifying Fire and Acoustic Systems in Residential Construction

As NZ's cities continue to grow unabated, higher density living in developments such as apartments and townhouses is becoming more accepted as an alternative to the traditional quarter-acre dream.

Smaller sites put dwellings in ever-closer proximity, resulting in the need to design and construct with greater thought than ever on the wellbeing of residents, especially in the case of a fire event.

This is no better displayed than at a two-storey duplex in a housing complex in Henderson. While the units were built in 1979, they had recently been re-clad in Linea Weatherboard by James Hardie, with a new code of compliance, before being damaged in an accidental fire in February 2019.

The cladding performed extremely well in the fire. Thanks to the fire-rated wall system and ceilings between each unit, the fire was well contained within unit 7 and the external Linea Weatherboards on the adjacent unit were not extensively damaged by the fire.

Owner of the adjacent unit, Lindsay Ellery, says the fire highlights the importance of using non-combustible claddings and proven fire-rated wall systems. He says it has turned him from a sceptic into a fan. “While the incident was unfortunate, it has given me confidence that James Hardie’s high-performance products and systems perform as designed.”

All of James Hardie cladding products are classified non-combustible materials, and therefore comply with table 5.8 of C/AS1 and table 5.5 of AS2.

To help cater for every eventuality, James Hardie have developed numerous systems to make achieving the necessary rating easy. From a simple FRR30 intertenancy wall, to a 60min external wall system, all the way to a dual-layer fire and acoustic flooring system.

Based on recent feedback, and to help further simplify the construction process James Hardie have recently released a number of new sizes in their RAB Board range. 6mm and 9mm RAB Board are now all available in three sizes — 2450mm, 2750mm, 3000mm.

Manjinder Singh, James Hardie Technical Advisor notes that “while it’s great to have options, we know it can be hard to find the right system. That’s why we’ve recently redeveloped our website to make accessing design manuals and details even easier. That coupled with our RAB Board range extension will mean there are options to meet almost any requirement.”

Contact James Hardie for design, construction, or technical advice.

View more information on James Hardie, including contact details.
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