The Australian residential landscape has evolved over the last few years with many Australians choosing to live in multi-residential housing and adopting inner-city lifestyles in the suburbs. This trend has created a complex task for designers, contractors and workers involved in the design and construction of such projects where the risks and regulations have increased. The need to provide the best-performing products can determine ones success, especially when meeting the fire and acoustic requirements of the Building Code of Australia (BCA). Baines Masonry are experts with fire and acoustic with their range of blocks and newly designed Fire and Acoustic Calculator.
About Fire resistance performance
The fire resistance performance of a masonry wall is considered with regards to three characteristics; structural adequacy, integrity & insulation.
Each characteristic is expressed in terms of the number of minutes that the wall can resist a particular fire intensity defined by AS 1530.4-2005.
For example a fire resistance level (FRL) of 180/120/120 implies 180 minutes of resistance for structural adequacy, 120 minutes of resistance for
integrity and 120 minutes of resistance for insulation. Each characteristic is defined by AS 1530.4-2005 as follows:
1.Structural adequacy:The ability of a load-bearing element of construction to support a load when tested in
accordance with AS 1530.4-2005.
2.Integrity:The ability of an element of construction to resist the passage of flames and hot gases from one space to another,
when tested in accordance with AS 1530.4-2005.
3.Insulation:The ability of an element of construction to maintain a temperature on the surface that is not exposed to the
furnace, below the limits specified, when tested in accordance with AS 1530.4-2005.
When a wall is in a non-load bearing situation, the FRL for structural adequacy is stated as a dash, e.g. -/120/120
About Acoustic Performance
Where necessary, the acoustic performance of a wall must be considered in order to safeguard the occupants of a part of a building from illness or
loss of comfort.
The two main aspects of consideration in regards to acoustic performance are airborne sound and impact generated sound.
Airborne sound is commonly measured by playing a series of differing frequency sounds on one side of a wall and measuring the sound loss on the other
side. It is stated in terms of a weighted sound index (Rw), the higher the index value, the higher the element prevents the transmission of the
sound. An adjustment factor is typically associated with the weighted sound index which is called the spectrum adaption term (Ctr) which accounts
for low frequency noise. This adjustment factor is always a negative number and is added to the weighted sound index to give a combined value lower
than Rw. For example, an Rw of 53 with a Ctr of -6 gives an Rw + Ctr of 47. These values are typically obtained from testing in accordance with
AS/NZS 1276.1 or ISO 717.
Baines Fire and Acoustic performing blocks
Baines Masonry currently offer two types of concrete blocks that are recommended where specific fire and acoustic performance is required. These are
Betta Block units and Dense Weight units. Both types are available in various unit sizes and are suitable for core filled and non-core filled applications.Baines
Masonry products are suitable for use in load bearing and non-load bearing walls for all types of buildings. The material composition and specific
unit dimensions have been optimised, tested and assessed by leading organisations around Australia in order to provide exceptional fire and acoustic
Baines Masonry have undertaken extensive non-load bearing fire testing of the Betta Block product range with CSIRO in North Sydney, NSW. The acoustic
performance of internal Baines Masonry walls have been assessed by a leading Australian acoustic firm. The results of each are outlined in the
‘Fire & Acoustic Technical Manual for Load Bearing & Non-load Bearing Walls’.
Baines Masonry Fire and Acoustic Calculator
Through their extensive knowledge and expertise in masonry, the team at Baines Masonry have devised a new Fire and Acoustic calculator to take the
headache out of specification. This simple web-based tools has been specifically designed to address concerns surrounding compliance, fire protection,
and insulation, the Fire & Acoustic Calculator makes selection of the correct product and compliance with the BCA easier than ever. The simple
tool takes the guesswork out of specification and gives designers and specifiers the peace of mind that they are fully complying with industry
requirements and significantly reducing their exposure to liability.
To use the tool, designers and specifiers simply enter a few simple design parameters that include the required wall type, installation environment,
acoustic and fire insulation requirements, and the relevant BCA requirement. The Calculator then instantly provides a tailored shortlist of Baines
Masonry products that meet the specified parameters. The shortlist is also provided in printable PDF format, allowing the designer or specifier
to retain a hard copy for reference or insertion into tender documents.
To try it click here!
... Read more