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Apartments are gaining in popularity as population increases particularly in cities. Understanding building requirements together with careful selection of wall and ceiling linings can have a lasting impact on the comfort and performance of occupants and their neighbours.

Building Requirements

The Building Code of Australia (BCA) is a performance-based code published by the Australian Building Codes Board that contains all the performance requirements for the construction of buildings in Australia. 

Volume One covers requirements for buildings that include multiple dwellings including apartments. 

These comprehensive requirements have been developed to ensure a minimum performance of Australian dwellings and to protect the safety and amenity of occupants.   

Gyprock provides tested wall and ceiling systems that assist in achieving code compliance as well as providing high levels of performance for functional construction requirements in multi-residential developments.

For multi-residential buildings, the BCA has provisions that include fire resistance, sound transmission and structural integrity:

Section C – Fire Resistance

  • Part C1 - Fire Resistance and Stability
  • Part C2 - Compartmentation and Separation
  • Part C3 - Protection of Openings  

Section F – Health and Amenity 

  • Part F1 - Damp & Weatherproofing
  • Part F5 - Sound Transmission and Insulation  

Fire Performance

For residential buildings, Class 2, of three or more storeys, the BCA Deemed to Satisfy Provisions have specifications for various internal walls and shafts, for external walls close to property boundaries, and for floors and roofs.

It is assumed that floor fire rating is provided by concrete slabs.

Concessions apply for buildings of 3 stories or of 3 stories over a car park, relating to lower FRLs and the use of timber framing.  Roofs and roof-ceilings are not required to have a rating if the covering is non-combustible and internal fire rated walls extend to the underside of the roof covering.

Additional requirements apply to construction including: elements supporting fire rated construction, columns, sprinkler systems, tops of shafts, car parks, fire control services, doors and fire isolated exits.  

The BCA limits the materials used in Class 2 buildings by controlling the Fire Hazard properties of linings. All Gyprock plasterboard products achieve a Group Number 1 Fire Hazard rating and a Smoke Growth Rate index of 0.

Gyprock fire performance solutions for apartments include; StrataWall™ and Shaft Walls. Other solutions and system performance specifications in the Red Book can be easily found using our System Selector in the Red Book Companion application.

Acoustic Performance

The BCA contains specific minimum acoustic provisions for walls and ceilings particularly between adjacent tenancies. These minimum requirements provide basic acoustic separation, however it is recommended that design professionals consider the intended use of the space, to ensure occupant comfort. In particular, the impact of sound transmission within a tenancy, and the quality of sound within a room should be considered at design stage.

Gyprock acoustic wall and ceiling systems provide architects and designers with alternatives for all multi-residential noise situations. The more common systems are outlined in StrataWall™ and Shaft Wall design guides and the System Selector in the Red Book Companion application provides fast selection of the numerous systems in the Gyprock Red Book.

For other areas of an apartment selecting a plasterboard lining that has increased sound properties, like Gyprock Soundchek, can reduce sound transfer between rooms such as bedrooms, nurseries, studies and ensuite bathrooms. Perforated plasterboard can be used to reduce reverberation and echo in spaces such as home theatres. Gyprock also offers acoustic ceiling solutions that can be used to reduce noise transferring from tenancies above.

The System Selector in the Red Book Companion application provides fast selection of the numerous systems in the Gyprock Red Book.

Damp and Weatherproofing

The BCA requires that water must be prevented from penetrating behind fittings and linings and into concealed spaces in sanitary compartments such as bathrooms, laundries and other wet areas.

Gyprock produces a range of moisture resistant plasterboard systems suitable for use as wall and ceiling linings in these areas.

Structural Integrity

Fire rated walls classified as lightweight must meet the requirements of Clause C1.8 of the BCA for Uniform Distributed Loads (UDLs). The Clause and Specification specify performance values based on static pressure, impact bag drop height and surface indentation, and require the linings to meet manufacturing standards.

Gyprock StrataWall™ and Shaft Wall systems have been developed to meet these requirements.

Functional requirements are also important to reduce maintenance and improve security. Gyprock manufactures a number of products with enhanced impact resistance including Impactchek™, EC08™ Impact, EC08™ Impact MR and EC08™ Complete that are ideal for use in high traffic areas such as corridors, foyers, gyms and common areas. Gyprock SecurityWall™ systems are also ideal for use to provide additional intruder protection.

Other Performance Considerations

Mould and Moisture

Around 35% of Australian households have experienced mould which is not only unsightly but can have adverse health effects particularly on those who suffer from asthma or allergies.

In response, Gyprock® Sensitive is a moisture resistant plasterboard which has been developed with a gentle but powerful antifungal agent to resist mould growth. Gyprock Sensitive is ideal for use in wet areas such as bathrooms and laundries and rooms which may be subject to less air movement like bedrooms. Approved by National Asthma Council’s Sensitive Choice program, it is also ideal for use throughout the homes of asthma and allergy sufferers.

Decorative Features

Aesthetics often get more consideration than performance. Fortunately Gyprock products are ideal for creating style and personality. From cornice to niches to bold ceiling details, Gyprock products can be used to create a wide variety of decorative architectural features to enhance apartments.