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Last edited 15 Jan 2021
That part of an external wall below damp-proof course or above the ground on which an external wall is constructed. Materials used for wall construction include bricks, blocks, stones, concrete, timber, mud, grass, aluminum, steel and plastics.
Functional requirements of a wall:
- Should be strong enough to withstand lateral loads;
- Should provide privacy to the building's occupants;
- Should be weatherproof and prevent damp from entering the internal areas, and
- Should have good thermal and acoustic qualities.
Brick masonry walling comprises bricks arranged and bonded together using mortar (lime or cement mortar). Various brick bonds can be used, such as English bond, Flemish bond, stretcher bond, header bond or common/ American bond. Thickness can range from either a half-brick wall, one-brick-thick or one-and-a-half-thick brick wall depending on location, design load and geometry.
Masonry walls are made of building blocks bonded together with mortar to form constructions that fulfill required criteria, including fire resistance, durability and structural efficiency, particularly in compression. Typically, the masonry units that are used for this process include bricks, concrete, cement-sand blocks, structural glass blocks and natural or cast stone. Masonry walls can be constructed as solid or cavity walls, or rain screen-type walls.
Concrete walling is predominantly used for shear strength and for retaining walls, offering good structural performance against adverse shear, axial stresses and bending moments. They are usually steel-reinforced to increase loadbearing capacity and to decrease thermal cracking of the concrete. Concrete walls can be used for cement silos, water tanks and storage tanks as they offer good resistance against leakage.
Metal stud-wall work comprises an aluminium (or steel) frame onto which plasterboard or other panels are attached. Plasterboard helps to provide visual separation, fire protection and a degree of acoustic insulation. They are used mainly for internal partitions and lining existing walls.
This type of wall comprises a timber frame of studs (uprights) and transoms either nailed together or fixed using metal brackets and sleeves. Plasterboard, hardboard, chipboard or gypsum board is subsequently attached to the frame. Fixing can be by special nails, screws or fasteners.
Freestanding walls may be perimeter walls around a building or structure, usually along site boundary lines.They may be attached at one or both ends to fixed structures, but may be susceptible to wind or impact damage if not properly designed. The following are key technical considerations:
- A sufficiently deep excavation for foundations is required, ensuring that a firm base is created to support the upper wall;
- The foundation width should be wider than the upper wall;
- Materials used should be well checked and used in appropriate mixes or fixing details to create a durable construction.
Aluminum walls comprise aluminum frames and composite panels; they are usually used for internal partitions. They typically offer fast erection compared to other types of walling but need expert knowledge and a good appreciation of their benefits and limitations. Aluminum partitions have the advantage of being versatile and easily dismantled and re-erected according to individual requirements.
Steel walls comprise a steel frame of struts and studs, and are clad with steel panels. They can be specified for internal or external use and can offer sound insulation of up to 60dB, as well as fire resistance, good hygiene and durability. Various claddings can be used, including steel panels, fabric and wood.
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