Build for world we live in

Knauf Drywall's versatile plasterboards meet all the regs

Knauf Drywall's versatile plasterboards meet all the regs

Knowing your Building Regulations is the key to selling premium products, says Bob Stark, Marketing Manager at Knauf Drywall.

A good builders merchant needs a reasonable working knowledge of regulations affecting the use of plasterboard in a wide range of building types. With this knowledge, the merchant can professionally advise customers on the right plasterboard to select for the job – and responsibly maximise sales opportunities with higher margin premium plasterboards and accessories.

Plasterboard is an incredibly versatile building material for interior use – it’s easy to work with and surprisingly strong. More importantly, it enables builders to build walls and ceilings that achieve all the necessary performance standards as set out in the Building Regulations and related documents.

At their most basic level, the regulations touch three important areas: privacy, safety and efficiency. Standard Wallboard makes a contribution towards meeting regulatory requirements, with the premium plasterboards – specially formulated for high performance in one or more of these and other areas – giving even better results.


Acoustic privacy is enshrined in Approved Document E of the Building Regulations Resistance to the Passage of Sound – Part E for short. It is of interest to the merchant in several ways – so that customers purchase the right type and thickness of high performance Knauf Plasterboard for separating and internal dry walls, and because of the metal components, jointing and sealants required to ensure the system’s acoustic performance. It is also important because of our range of ceiling products and our lightweight Brio WF Dry Floor Screed which provides opportunities to reduce impact sound.   

Part E governs the requirement for reduction of airborne sound (typically at least 45dB DnT, w) between joined dwellings – semi detached or terraced houses, apartments, and the like – and between other residential units such as hotel rooms or student flats. New floors must reduce impact sound by a minimum of 62dB L’nT, w. Part E applies to both new and refurbished buildings and in residential situations is intended to avoid the problems of noisy neighbours so that occupants don’t having to worry about being overheard – or disturbed. In certain circumstances it also regulates sound reduction within a dwelling, such as between a bathroom or toilet and bedrooms. Pre-completion testing is required, unless the building has walls and upper floors that comply with approved Robust Detail constructions. 

Part E is amplified in two key sectors – schools and hospitals – by the documents Building Bulletin 93 (BB93) and Health Technical Memorandum 2045 (HTM 2045) respectively. These provide guidelines on airborne sound reduction in walls between different types of teaching areas or hospital rooms, providing acoustically good conditions for learning and teaching, or treatment and recuperation.

A typical residential separating wall, such as found between two apartments, can be constructed to achieve the minimum requirement of 45dB DnT, w (on-site tested) airborne sound reduction using a twin frame of 70mm Knauf ‘C’ Studs clad with two layers of 12.5mm Knauf Soundshield on each side, with a 50mm Knauf acoustic insulation quilt in the middle.

In school situations, higher acoustic performances needed, for example, to contain sound within a music practice area, are achieved with systems such as 15mm Knauf Soundshield and the insertion of Knauf Resilient Bar behind the plasterboard. In large rooms, such as school halls, lobbies and reception areas, reverberation is reduced with products such as Knauf Cleaneo Apertura – our range of top end aesthetic sound absorbing plasterboards.


Approved Document B Fire Safety (Part B) is in two parts, covering residential and non-residential buildings respectively. Part B has two main aims: to ensure that the spread of fire within a building is inhibited and that the building retains its structural integrity for a specified time. This is the source of fire ratings, which normally range from 30 to 120 minutes and are often expressed in drywall specifications as, for example, 60/60 – 60 minutes of structural integrity and insulation. The regulations exist to minimise the risk to occupants and the Fire Service.  

These regulations are of particular relevance to the drywall merchant, because plasterboard-based drywall systems have become the standard for separating and internal fire walls in a wide variety of public, commercial and private buildings. Even major compartment walls, such as found in large hospitals or cinema complexes, are commonly constructed using modern drywall systems. 

All plasterboard provides some protection against the spread of fire, with high performance products such as Knauf Fireshield specially formulated to provide greater integrity and insulation. Higher specifications are normally achieved by using 15mm board systems, rather than 12.5mm, and by using double layer systems.

Where electrical socket boxes are provided in drywall partitions, fire safety is maintained by using Knauf Putty Pads, which are fast selling – and save a lot of time for builders too. They are sheets of mouldable intumescent putty which are pressed into, or around, the socket box in a fraction of the time it takes to fit a traditional baffle box.


Part L: Conservation of Heat and Power serves two purposes – reducing both CO2 emissions and energy bills. With the recent surge in fuel costs followed by the credit crunch, many homeowners – as well as owners of other types of buildings –  are desperate to reduce the cost of keeping warm. At the same time, the Government is keen to make improved insulation more affordable, so that heat stays indoors.  

Amid reports that many insulation contractors are already struggling to keep up with demand, Part L has good prospects for builders merchants as builders turn to products such as the Knauf Thermal Laminate range – plasterboard bonded to a layer of insulation – to prevent costly heat loss. Knauf Thermal Laminates provide a very easy way to upgrade homes. 

We have other systems that help reduce energy requirements, such as Knauf Brio Dry Floor Screed, our gypsum fibreboard specially developed as a multi-benefit floor panel to lay over underfloor heating systems. Brio’s thermal transparency means that heat passes quickly through the floor to where it is needed, so less energy is needed to maintain the room at a comfortable temperature.       

And while on environmental issues, our pioneering carbon neutral plasterboard Knauf Futurepanel makes a real contribution towards reduced CO2 emissions.

Learn more

To learn more about our systems and how they shape up to the Building Regulations, go to our website or ask our area sales manager for help. Our technical literature and point of sale material will also help you to point customers in the right direction. And you can also use our online Partition Specifier to help customers check that they are buying the right Knauf Drywall systems to meet regulatory requirements. 

--- Ends ---

Return to previous page


Knauf News

Industry News

Twitter @Knauf_UK

Do you want to know more about the future of Robotics in Architecture? We are teaming up with Dezeen this November…
20 Hours ago

Build for world we live in