A partition wall is a thin wall that is constructed to divide an enclosed space. It is usually constructed as a non-load bearing wall that facilitates spatial division and provides privacy, improved acoustics, and fire separation. Partition walls also bring flexibility to the building layout.
Partition walls can be constructed either up to full floor height or up to a height of 2.5m. As mentioned before, they are usually constructed to take their self-weight and are occasionally used to support the floor joists and roof trusses as well. In such situations, they are mentioned as load-bearing partition.
This article explains the requirements and foundation construction features of partition walls.
Requirement of Partition Walls in Building Construction
A good quality partition wall must satisfy the following requirements:
- The partition walls should provide adequate privacy to the space.
- The partition wall should be thin so that the maximum floor space is utilized.
- It should act as a sound barrier.
- It should be light so that self-weight is less on the structure.
- It should be strong enough to support the wall fixtures like sinks and washbasins.
- The partition wall should be able to support any decorative surface.
- It should be fire and damp proof.
- It should be rigid enough to bear loads caused due to vibration.
Features of Partition Walls in Building Construction
Partition walls are solid walls that are mainly constructed either using brick or blockwork or framed construction. The framed partition walls are also called as stud walls. These are made out of timber, glass, steel, etc. In total, there are around 9 main types of partition walls used in building construction.
Partition walls can be either in-situ, purpose-designed, or modular systems. These walls can incorporate openings for doors, ducts, windows, wiring, skirting, architraves, etc.
Non-load bearing partition walls are highly flexible. Being light in weight, their positions can be changed easily without impacting the overall structure of the building. Depending on the type of partition wall construction, their components can be used partially or fully in other locations.
Construction Specifications of Partition Walls
The construction specification of partition wall is dependent on the:
- Self-weight of partition walls
- Cost of partition walls
- The speed of installation
- The availability of materials
- The durability and flexibility of partition walls
- The ease of configuration
- Requirement of sound resistance
- The need to act as a structural support
The partition walls are constructed either over the beam or floors when they are located on upper floors. When constructed over the floors, additional reinforcement must be provided in the form of concealed beams.
Different types of light foundations constructed for partition walls placed over the ground floor are explained below.
Type 1: Half-brick Partition Wall Raised up to Ceiling's Height
For the type-1 partition wall, a one-brick wall foundation is constructed as shown in Figure-3. A concrete bed of width 30 cm and thickness 15 cm is laid below the ground level at a depth of 30 cm. Over this foundation, a one-brick wall is built up to the floor level as shown in Figure-3.
Type 2: Partition Walls Constructed to Carry Storage Shelves
The foundation for partition walls constructed to carry storage shelves has a width of 30 cm and a thickness of 20 cm. It is built just below the base concrete for the floor. Below the concrete, sand filling is required, as shown in Figure-4.
Type 3: Partition Walls for Low Heights
The partition walls that have low heights can be constructed directly over the floor. Before starting the construction, good sand filling should be provided below the partition wall over the original ground level.
A partition wall is a thin wall that is constructed to divide an enclosed space. It is usually constructed as a non-load bearing wall that facilitates spatial division and provides privacy, improved acoustics, and fire separation. It also helps to provide flexibility to the building layout.
Partition walls that are constructed to act as a support for roof trusses or floor joists and for the purpose of spatial division are called load-bearing partition walls in buildings.
The factors affecting the construction of partition walls are:
1. Self-weight of partition walls
2. Cost of partition walls
3. The speed of installation
4. The availability of materials
5. The durability and flexibility of partition walls
6. The ease of configuration
7. Requirement of sound resistance
8. The need to act as a structural support