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Introduction to Gypsum Area Separation Firewalls (BSS731)

Course Description:

This one-hour course discusses today's gypsum area separation walls (ASWs) are a response to a pervasive need: to prevent the spread of fire through multi-family townhouses. What many people may not be aware of how they work to accomplish their important task. The course begins with a brief comparison of some historical alternatives to the modern gypsum ASW, and a review of the elements that make up the ASW assembly. By the time the course has been completed, each of the key elements that enable the gypsum ASW to work as required by the IBC are reviewed in detail, including both vertical and horizontal termination. Also covered is the current way to specify a gypsum ASW per the 2010 CSI MasterFormatTM.

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the primary function of area separation firewalls (ASWs), and explain how their design and construction enables them to perform that function.
  • Describe the basic anatomy of an ASW assembly.
  • Describe the recent change to the CSI standard for describing ASWs, and identify the correct MasterFormatTM specification.
  • Describe some of the factors that make ASW acoustic performance important for people living in townhouses.
  • State the dB levels of some common sound situations.
  • Explain what STC stands for and how the test is conducted.
  • State the relative adequacy of three critical STC ratings in the context of ASW acoustic performance.
  • Describe three key code requirements pertaining to ASWs.
  • Describe two considerations pertaining to gypsum ASWs of which the designer should be aware.
  • Describe some of the key details in the ASW construction process that insure a properly constructed gypsum ASW, including satisfying IBC’s termination options
Credits: AIA 1 AIA (HSW HSW)

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