V-Cut: Redefining the design scope of plasterboard
Dry lining has traditionally offered little in terms of design sophistication, with curved and similarly complex forms invariably having to be cut into sections on site and fitted to a suitable framework. Traditional methods of bespoke detailing have proved inflexible and costly and designers have long since sought alternatives that can be used within ever tighter refit schedules.
For the installer, the opportunity to use plasterboard cut using CNC equipment at last offers the chance to use material which is practical to use and inexpensive. The scope to buy varied shapes in flatpack or ready produced adds further flexibility without compromising the end result.
In contrast to shapes which are pre-formed at high cost using materials such as GRG, precision-cut plasterboard from manufacturers such as V-Cut enables details to be made to very tight tolerances. Time saved can be as much as 60% while material cost savings are between 20 and 30%.
There is no need for cutting, taping, jointing or trimming beads on site so clean, sharp edges are achieved in far less time. Standard 90° L, as well as U and Z-shaped profiles in a choice of thicknesses and varying angles are now available as standard. Curved profiles are equally straightforward to produce, either by cutting grooves or slots to form the board around column casings or to produce contoured ceilings and walls. Apertures can be cut for vents, cables or pipework while pre-formed board casings can be bonded with adhesive to give them greater strength.
An example of what can be created is the interior of the £12.6m Apex City of London Hotel in Temple Court, within London’s Inner Temple conservation area. The design concentrated heavily on achieving what is undeniably a luxurious environment. It has won a raft of awards including a Roses Design Award for ‘Best Interior’ and a London District Surveyors Award for ‘Best Commercial Building’. V-Cut L-shape mitred plasterboard profiles were used to create niches into which beds and TVs were fitted and to provide bulkheads and troughs for concealed lighting. Ivan Hodgson of Tolent Construction commented, “The plasterboard profiles which the dry lining contractors produced were neat and precise so corner joints were of a consistently high standard. Using V-Cut boards enabled us to achieve a level of detail that would be far more difficult and time consuming using traditional methods.”
CNC equipment can cut so finely that the plaster can be removed from a board down to its paper facing. As a result, the variety of shapes that can be produced includes multiple stepped detailing and curves with far tighter folds. Upstands in ceilings, light coves and L-cuts for niches and reveals are among the more frequently produced profiles, but subtle changes in wall thickness can also be achieved. With a section such as a U-shape, the position of cut can be varied to suit any size or angle. For ceiling details, Z-shapes are particularly beneficial in terms of time saving and in general terms requirements specific to individual projects are far more practical to meet.
Legislation focussing on the need to reduce waste sent to landfill has put pressure on contractors to look for ways to limit cutting. With framework requirements being far less complex than with moulded profiles, cutting is greatly reduced. V-Cut profiles are also made using industrial bi-products such as recycled paper for facings. Waste on site has effectively been ‘designed out’.
Some of the UK’s largest construction projects in recent years, including Heathrow Terminal 5, Wembley Stadium and Westfield White City have seen such plasterboard detailing utilised. The common link to all was pressure on fit-out times and by using standard paper-faced boards, elegant double curves and folding profiles have been created. Acoustic, fire-resistant and impact-resistant boards up to 3 metres long and 25mm thick can be formed in such a way so the diverse nature of interiors, once such a problem for the contractor, need no longer be such a headache.
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