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If you have a large space which you need to utilise for different purposes or divide into separate offices, but do not wish to build permanent brick walls for any reason, then you need to employ the skills and experience of a partitioning specialist to resolve this problem for you.
Partitions are vertical structures which divide up large spaces into smaller units. They may be built to any height to suit the environment and needs of the client. Partitions act as walls, and whilst providing all the advantages of a structural wall, are quicker to erect and are not permanent structures. Partitions may be built to chest-height, creating individual working cubicles whilst still maintaining a sense of continuity and connectedness across the entire space. Many open-plan offices consist of such cubicles. At times, these areas are necessarily very restricted on space and often have built-in work areas and room for little more than a desk chair. Cubicles of this size with ceiling-height partitions would be extremely claustrophobic and dark, both of which would be detrimental to the employees’ sense of wellbeing and efficiency. Shorter partitions provide a degree of privacy, sound insulation and individuality whilst making best use of light from outside windows, together with normal overhead lighting. In areas where privacy is important, however, ceiling-height partitions may be constructed with the addition of windows which provide light as well as preventing an overall sense of isolation and imprisonment.
Partitions may be built from various materials, usually wood, drywall (also known as plasterboard or gypsum), fibre cement board, glass or heavy-duty Perspex sheeting, or a combination of any of these materials. Such partitions are strong yet lightweight and easy to erect and dismantle, ideal if you are renting space or your spatial needs change on a regular basis. You can always tell if a dividing wall is brick or drywall by knocking on it with your fist - a drywall will produce a hollow sound. Whilst drywalls will support electrical plugs and windows, they are not strong enough to support heavy equipment and machinery, and this must be taken into account. Drywalls have the advantage of being able to be painted the same way as a normal plastered wall, thereby allowing for uniformity within the greater space.
Wooden or glass partition walls are largely decorative whilst still being functional and providing audio or visual privacy. It must be noted that a partition wall is not a load-bearing wall, meaning that it cannot support the same weight as that of a brick wall.
In South Africa, there exists a professional Association called the South African Buildings Interior Association (SABISA), which regulates and “promotes that part of the building industry which specialises in the interior finishing, altering and/or refurbishing of buildings. This specification refers to the design, finishes, glass, glazing and installation of Drywall Partition and will enable Architects, Engineers, Quantity Surveyors, Developers and other specifiers to select and specify the appropriate materials. Having the installation done by sub-contractors who are members of this Association will ensure that the installation meets with the minimum performance standards.”
Partitioning contractors are highly skilled, knowledgeable and experienced specialists and must be given due credit for the work they do. They work to specific guidelines and produce professional results which enhance the functionality and aesthetic appeal of your home or workspace. They may be found through advertisements in home magazines, home catalogues, home expos, newspapers and the Yellow Pages. An internet site such as Uptasker is a fantastic resource when searching the internet for the right specialist, as this site provides the names, contact details, links to websites (if available), online rating and customer reviews of the partitioning specialists in your geographical area. From this site, you can click directly to their websites or request quotes for comparison. Many contractors will have their own online catalogues, from which you can check their previous installations and read customer testimonials. If you have seen a style of partitioning which appeals to you, by all means ask for the name of the specialist who installed it, as well as taking note of the customer’s feedback for information on reliability, adherence to time and budget constraints, range of options available, personal service and advice.
If you are planning to compartmentalize your commercial, retail or factory space or simply erect a full-height partition in your home to divide a large space into two distinct areas, for instance a TV room or study which is separated from the living room, you need the services of a partitioning specialist. His skill, experience and knowledge will be an invaluable aid in creating the space you want, at the price you want, and with professional appeal. For more tips, see our partitioning specialist articles.