If you’ve heard of the term “plaster of Paris”, you might wonder how it came about. Plaster of Paris is also known as gypsum plaster, which since ancient times have been prepared from the abundant gypsum found near Paris. Interestingly, it is also related to one of the earliest fire codes in which Louis XIV of France issued a royal decree in 1667 requiring buildings in Paris to be protected with gypsum plaster after the Great Fire of London. The special fire-resistant properties of gypsum plaster have since been used for centuries for fire protection.
Nowadays, fire safety requirements are guided by The Building Code of Australia (BCA) which outlines the requirements for fire performance of gypsum walls and ceilings to help ensure the safety of occupants in the event of a fire. Fire rating requirements of the BCA are specified in terms of Fire Resistance Level (FRL) and building classifications.
Class 1 and 10 Buildings: standalone single dwellings, townhouses, row houses or terraces
Class 2 to 9 Buildings: commercial, multi-residential and all other building classes
For commercial buildings, the BCA require the compliance of specifications for construction such as internal walls, shafts, floors, doors and roofs. This is particularly important in places where occupant safety is crucial such as lodges, hotels and aged care facilities. The BCA Volume 1 in part requires:
- Systems must provide protection from the spread of fire
- Provide an FRL of not less than 30/–/–
- Be of non-combustible construction
- Systems providing vertical or lateral support to other fire rated elements must have equivalent or greater FRL
- Systems must meet BCA C1 – fire resistance and stability
- Systems must meet BCA C2 – compartmentalisation and separation
- Systems must meet BCA C3 – protection of openings
The BCA also controls the fire hazard properties of wall and ceiling linings, and limits the materials used in commercial buildings. As Gypsum is a non-combustible material, when gypsum plasterboard panels are exposed to fire the crystalline water which is part of the gypsum crystal converts to steam, contributing no fuel to the fire and thus providing protection from the spread of fire. In order to satisfy the standards as required by the BCA, gypsum plasterboards should have a Group Number 1 Fire Hazard rating and a low Smoke Growth Index in commercial buildings.
As a reputable industry leader in commercial plastering with over 30 years of experience, PGP Plastering specialises in commercial interior fitouts. Our teams of fully qualified commercial plasterers work to stringent quality standards to ensure we provide a professional quality service and installation to meet and satisfy the BCA Fire Performance requirements with confidence.
For more information, or for a free no-obligation quote on your next commercial project, give us a call on 1300 633 403 today.