Judging a moveable partitioning wall’s acoustic performance by its lab tested Rw rating can be misleading, and could result in dissatisfaction once installed.
That’s the warning from Mike Fine, Style Partitions’ director for the Midlands, who says that an operable wall’s effectiveness at creating a sound barrier when closed can only be achieved by assessing the room it is intended for.
“The harsh reality is that a final installation will rarely replicate the conditions of a lab test, because in a controlled environment there is one test product and no flanking,” explains Mike.
“Architects, specifiers, contractors and end-user clients should therefore treat the Rw lab test as not only an essential requirement but also an indication of potential performance, and a way of evaluating one product over another, but should always assess the room to determine a likely R’w rating; R‘w apostrophe’ being the in situ rating.”
According to Mike, getting the best out of a moveable partitioning wall is as much to do with professionalism as it is to do with the product.
“For any project we are specified on, we will offer objective, qualified and transparent advice regarding the potential acoustic performance,” continued Mike. “This is done by surveying the room to assess where flanking may occur and its severity. Flanking is difficult to quantify prior to completion and determination of flanking requires a series of in-situ sound tests. However our experts can offer extremely valuable guidance pre-installation.
“We will also consider the overall quality and robustness of surrounding walls, ceiling and floors, including their construction, materials and age so that we can offer clear advice as to the final quality of the acoustics. Consideration will also be given to the addition of any absorptive treatment to improve acoustics within the room.”
A great recent example of acoustic effectiveness is at Style’s 100th installation of Skyfold at Telefonica Digital head offices in central London.
Skyfold not only delivers the wow-factor aesthetically and operationally, its acoustic qualities are exceptional too – up to Rw56dB. At an event to celebrate this 100th installation, Style showed a room full of architects and contractors how they could enjoy almost complete privacy, even when a relatively noisy activity is taking place directly on the other side.
“This impressive level of acoustic performance is not only achieved thanks to product quality. It’s also about Style’s careful attention to detail at the planning and installation phases,” said Mike. “At Telefonica, we ensured that services running through the ceiling cavity didn’t interfere with the acoustic barrier, and delivered an outstanding solution as a result.”
For more information, or acoustics advice, please contact your nearest Style regional office.
Chris Winwood, a name that will be known by many from the moveable walls sector, has joined the Style South team to work in the South West area.
Chris brings a wealth of experience having worked on both the manufacturer and supplier sides of the partitioning walls industry; for many years working at Dorma, who Style are exclusive UK agents for.
“We’re delighted to have Chris on board,” said Julian Sargent, Style’s group managing director. “He’s someone we’ve known for many years, and has a great track record of working with architects, specifiers and contractors to provide support with specifications.
“Style has always prided itself on the very high quality of its products, processes and people and Chris is a great addition to our very high calibre national team.”
Chris Winwood added, “Style has always been a company I’ve had a great deal of admiration for. Their reputation in the moveable partitioning walls sector is second to none and they’ve got the perfect portfolio of manual, semi-automatic and fully automatic, acoustic moveable and folding partitioning walls to suit all requirements and budgets – from showcase company boardrooms to small village halls.”
For more information regarding Style’s product range, please contact your nearest Style regional office.
Architects, specifiers, contractors and end-user clients are being encouraged to involve Style as early as possible in the design of flexible room arrangements, in order to enjoy the best possible solution.
According to Style’s group managing director, Julian Sargent, some of the most innovative moveable wall solutions that Style has installed have been ones where its in-house design team has been involved early.
“If we take, for example, the curved wall that we installed for the London HQ for CMC Markets,” said Julian. “Here we worked with architects Pringle Brandon to create an elliptical client seminar room. This required the panels to be sent to Denmark, home to the only facility in Europe with the technology to form the desired curvature. Each panel had to be immersed in heated sand where it was then machine-bent over a 24hr period.
“Another great example is at Henderson Global, where we were specified by Pringle Brandon. At their 125,000 sq ft HQ in Bishopsgate, we were tasked with delivering a fully automatic partitioning system using Priva-Lite privacy glass to create five separate meeting areas. The Skyfold vertical-folding partition, for which Style is the sole UK distributor, was the only solution with the adaptability to incorporate Priva-Lite, although all sixty-four glass panels had to be shipped in from the US in 3m lengths as they were not available in the right specification in the UK.
“And in Scotland, our team devised the first horizontally moving, fully automatic partitioning system for St. Joseph’s Primary School in Dundee. With each panel weighing 450kg and a ceiling height of 5000mm, Duncan Myers, a senior architect for Dundee city council, had concerns about school staff manually handling the panels which is why we devised a fully automatic process simply involving the push of a button.”
On the case studies page of Style’s web site, there are numerous examples of breathtaking projects which involve some very clever thinking. At Lockton, the world’s largest privately owned, independent insurance brokerage firm, Style had to deliver a high performance, acoustic moveable partition.
To achieve the client’s required high level of acoustic integrity, Style was involved at the construction stage, attaching the head-track directly to the building structure to successfully minimise flanking through the ceiling cavity.
At every step of installation, consideration had to be given as to how the facility may be used and the consequent impact on the direction and level of noise through, over and around the partition. A semi-automatic sliding partitioning system was recommended, ensuring the seals between the panels are tightened to optimum levels to provide a good acoustic barrier, whilst a telescopic end panel was installed to create a flush finish. The plasterboard encasement within the ceiling void was sealed with specialist acoustic mastic to cut flanking at ceiling level, and finally Rekton sound absorbing boards were applied to one side of the partition wall to improve the internal room acoustics.
“We have a team of incredibly talented designers with a wealth of experience, across all of our five regional offices,” said Julian. “If you have a particular challenge creating flexible space, meeting acoustic standards or you are facing a difficult room design, please talk to us and we’ll help find the best solution.”
For more information, please contact your nearest Style office.
Style was recently a proud sponsor of the Ryder Architecture charity bike ride, which formed part of a number of events to celebrate the firm’s 60th anniversary. The fundraising activities are continuing throughout the year to give something back to the communities Ryder works in. The ride involved the team that Style worked with for the Manchester Central Library project where Style was specified to install the moveable partitioning walls.
“We were delighted to be invited as a sponsor of this event,” said Andy Gibson, Style’s director for the North. “The team sported the Style Partitions logo alongside their other sponsors on their cycling tops for the challenging 840 mile ride and it was very rewarding to have an involvement in this event, albeit a less strenuous one than experienced by those on the bikes.”
Paul Bell, Ryder partner and cycle team leader said, “It was a big challenge but the team trained well and enjoyed a fantastic 10 days of cycling.
“It’s been great to be able to do something to support the communities in which we work right across the UK. Staff really rose to the challenge and managed to raise over £23,000 for our eight chosen charities, Bright Red, Bryson’s Animal Refuge, CRASH, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Percy Hedley Foundation, The Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice, The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Zoe’s Place”
Style’s installation at Brunel University has been recognised at the prestigious AIS Contractors Awards.
Winning silver, the judges were impressed by the outstanding quality of the project, which included three different moveable wall systems in the same building.
For the main auditorium, Skyfold was chosen as the best option. This vertically rising moveable wall, housed in the ceiling cavity, lowers effortlessly into place at the push of a button. For the ground floor café bar, Stylefold 120 was chosen; a practical system perfect for canteens, community halls and school classrooms etc.
Yet the showpiece was the semi-automatic curved wall in one of the main halls reaching a height of 5.7 metres – a really stunning feature.
For this, DORMA Variflex was selected offering the University real ‘wow’ factor for students and visitors.
“We’ve now been recognised in the AIS Contractors Awards nine times,” said Julian Sargent, Style’s group managing director, “with five gold awards to our credit and four silver.
“To consistently top these awards year on year is a huge testimony to the quality of our people, products and processes and we continue to inwardly invest in the very highest standards across everything we do.”
Style is the exclusive UK agent to DORMA, Skyfold and SWG offering an extensive range of moveable partitioning walls, for every application and room configuration. The firm recently celebrated its 100th UK installation of Skyfold at an event at Telefonica Digital’s offices in London, attended by more than 50 notable architects, contractors and end-user clients.
Having also announced, last year, the first ever UK EPD certification for moveable walls, Style offers the most sustainable partitioning wall solutions in the UK market. The EPD (Environmental Product Declaration) applies to DORMA’s Variflex, Moveo and Varitrans products.
EPD is important is because it is the pinnacle of product sustainability for anyone seeking sustainable solutions for BREEAM, LEED and SKA rating certification.
The firm is also accredited by Bureau Veritas to a UKAS standard for ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management Systems, ISO 14001:2004 Environmental Management System and BS OHSAS 18001:2007 Occupational Health & Safety Management System.
For more information, please contact your nearest Style office.
2013 has been the year when demand for Style’s moveable wall after care service has seen dramatic growth.
Across all market sectors including corporate, education, hospitality, religion, local authority and the health sector there has been a rising uptake in the after care service which includes scheduled servicing and preventative repair of moveable walls, as well as a call out service if problems arise.
“The growth in this area reflects a rising need by our clients to protect their investment in their moveable partitioning wall, and ensure it serves them for very many years,” said Mike Fine, Style’s director for the Midlands.
“By investing in a scheduled after care service, covering routine servicing, inspections and repairs, organisations enjoy a far lower whole life cost on their moveable partitioning wall. In fact, a modest investment in an after care service is a small price to pay for the benefits of having a product that has the potential to last up to 25 years and beyond.
“Scheduled servicing is always the best solution because we can be pro-active in terms of replacing worn parts or spotting signs of wear and tear. It also keeps the wall’s acoustic integrity intact.
“However, damaged walls should also be repaired swiftly by a professional engineer because continued use can cause permanent damage and unnecessary expense. At Style we have teams of engineers located at our five regional offices dedicated to the servicing and repair of manual, semi-automatic and fully automatic moveable walls.
“And it doesn’t matter who supplied the partitioning wall because we support you whether you operate a wall originally provided by Style or from any other supplier or manufacturer.”
For more information, please contact your nearest Style office.