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Modular Walls

Feb 26 '14 18 Last Comment
UNWIND
Feb 26, 14 1:12 am

I'm working on a commercial interior office buildout project where the client is requesting mobile walls with a high STC Rating of at least 50.  I've researched options and can only seem to find two viable options.  DIRTT (www.dirtt.net) and Lada Cube (www.ladacube.com).  

DIRTT seemed like a possibility for this project but I'm not sure that their walls fit my client's needs for stability & higher STC since they seem thinner and as a result I would expect lower STC ratings.  

The other mobile product I've researched is Lada Cube.  They claim to have the same practical functionality of DIRTT but seem to be more robust from a construction design perspective and claim STC's that are much higher than DIRTT's.  

Have any of you had experience with projects using Lada Cube?  They state in the material they sent me, that their product is a combination of polyurethane, silicone, and decoupling material sandwiched between osb that apparently offers mobility and long term sustainability.  

I might move forward with Lada Cube on this office project but would love to hear any other feedback from architects who have used this product previously or have any other mobile wall suggestions.  Thanks.

 

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Feb 26, 14 11:20 am

polyurethane, silicone, and decoupling material sandwiched between osb

Sounds ecologically friendly and sustainable.

Design an open office and get all the employees noise-cancelling earphones. Better yet, only hire deaf people.

UNWIND
Feb 26, 14 3:36 pm

Great idea, but something says client won't go for it.  I think that the sustainability comes through reuse of the product (i.e. moveable walls, reconfigured spaces, etc.).  Maybe not as ecologically friendly in the manufacturing process but definitely less waste using a product that can be continually reused over and over versus traditional demolition and construction.

Not getting as much response/feedback as I'd hope.  I guess these products are such a newer concept for the building industry.

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Feb 26, 14 4:47 pm

STC 50 seems like a pretty high rating for an open office.

Sound control has to do with every surface, not just modular (open plan?) panels. Floors, ceilings, windows etc. all have some degree of transmission and reflection.

If sound issues are that critical I'd hire an acoustic consultant.

gruen
Feb 26, 14 8:03 pm

Not familiar w lada, but dirtt is a nice product. STC is best w site built walls (actually, CMU walls...) but modular can be written off like furniture.

Often, clients balk at the actual cost of modular so be sure to cost compare.

UNWIND
Feb 26, 14 10:07 pm

Thanks for the feedback Miles.  These two companies (Dirtt & Lada Cube) both make modular self enclosure room systems.  So technically the space would not be "open."  

The client I am working with is having us take an open space and create closed spaces with many office spaces/working spaces.  Most work spaces will be around 10'x10' with varying other sizes.  

The mobile concept will allow our client to either relocate or renegotiate should they choose to after their current lease is up.

UNWIND
Feb 26, 14 10:08 pm

Thanks Gruen.  Appreciate the feedback.  Have you worked with Dirtt previously?

gruen
Feb 27, 14 6:49 am

I've tried to, but it never pencils out for the client.

Non Sequitur
Feb 27, 14 8:25 am

UNWIND, the difficult thing with STC ratings is that often the assembly ratting is calculated "as tested" aka in a perfect scenario. The final STC is often lower when considering site conditions/materials and other objects/furniture/openings. You also need to know where all your HVAC stuff is going since those, as far as I know, are not exactly movable in the same sense as those partitions. With that said... 50STC is high.

On our large (government) projects, such movable partitions are not acceptable because the assembly STC lab results are not the same when they put them in place therefore for security purposes, you cannot guarantee a high rating. Treat STC like you would insulation aka it needs to be continuous through the doors, ceilings, plenums, duct openings, etc...

Not sure if these products are as flexible as they claim to be although I've never worked with them... I'd like to though.

UNWIND
Feb 27, 14 10:28 pm

Thanks Non Sequitur.  Good feedback on STC rating factors to consider.  

The more I've communicated with Lada Cube the more intrigued I am regarding their product and claims.  From what I've read in their literature, they seem to function at a high level in terms of pure structural stability and mobility much like a traditional wall but stronger.  If they truly can assemble in a consistent manner that leads to high level STC is the big question.

I'm actually planning to go visit one of their facilities in Boulder, CO next time I'm headed to Colorado.  Apparently they have some display models.  Should be very telling.  

el jeffe
Feb 28, 14 8:21 pm

my local dirtt rep told me that sound masking was the only way to get those modular wall systems up to an effectively equivalent privacy of stc 50.

bowling_ball
Mar 1, 14 10:51 am

partitions :p

UNWIND
Mar 3, 14 1:08 am

Hey bowling_ball, that's interesting.  Definitely doesn't seem like a real solution from a design perspective.  I've been speaking with the Lada Cube rep and they adamantly stick to their product reaching STC of 50+ without any sound masking.  

They're getting me pretty excited about their product.  Could be a great option.  We'll see.

bowling_ball
Mar 3, 14 1:43 am

Uhhh...ok? 

I was trying to refer to the (most should say) incorrect use of the world 'wall' in this thread. Not that it matters any, but we're discussing partitions, not walls.

There's no way for me to not sound like an ass for being pedantic, and I don't mean to be. Sorry all.

UNWIND
Mar 3, 14 1:18 pm

bowling_ball, not trying to negate your point but I think that Dirtt and Lada Cube are creating an entirely new category.  Their "walls" function more like traditional walls than "partitions."  It's almost like they need to define their products as a completely new category.

For example, Lada Cube walls are literally as strong and functional as SIPS but allow for mobility, albeit not spur of the moment movement like your traditional partition.

t a z
Mar 3, 14 7:51 pm

This discussion makes me think of the conference room in, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy."  In addition to spies, laywers also like rooms with high STC ratings...

bowling_ball
Mar 4, 14 9:25 am

Hmmm, it may just be a regional thing then?  Everywhere I've worked, the exterior walls are called walls (W1 etc) while interior walls are called partitions (P1 etc). 

Partitions can be load-bearing or not, fire rated or not, etc.  All it means is that they're not located on the exterior surface of the building.  It's like an interior window being called a Screen, not a window.

Dirtt and Lada systems are partitions in every sense of the word.

Brian HenryBrian Henry
Mar 4, 14 10:19 am

I believe the industry term for these is demountable partitions, but I've heard them called many other things as well.

As for STC ratings, I'm sure you can get a high rating in a tested assembly. The problem comes in the field. If you have penetrations, or the joints with adjacent construction aren't handled very well, you aren't going to get the same performance.

UNWIND
Mar 4, 14 11:37 am

I don't think that the use of partition is a regional description.  I agree with your description of W1 & P1.  I was basically making reference to the confusion caused when discussing "modular wall" options with clients and if the wording partition or modular are mentioned, this is what the client typically envisions: 

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fblog.portablepartitions.com%2Fportable-partitions-introduces-the-afford-a-walls&h=0&w=0&tbnid=Tz62Pe_UpeWyMM&tbnh=197&tbnw=256&zoom=1&q=partition%20wall&docid=W9Cb7KePJzdBhM&ei=Kv8VU4zgJsKGogSGq4GYCA&ved=0CAIQsCUoAA

I feel that this makes the client shy away from using real partition options that exist on the market.  The technology has come such a long way that it is now very viable for build outs.

I had never heard the term "demountable partitions" previously.  Thanks Brian.  

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