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Korok Fire And Acoustic Wall Systems Interview

19 October 2018

KOROK FIRE AND ACOUSTIC WALL SYSTEMS

Today we talk with David Cornelius from Korok, one of our key suppliers with a very innovative product that is quickly becoming mainstream. Thanks to Universal and other builders taking the initiative to trial, detail, and work through building processes we are now rolling out across many of our terrace home projects.

Crosby: Hi David, thanks for catching up this morning. I enquired about your product a few years back when I was looking for a lightweight but sturdy wall panel for a light industrial development. However, now I see this very solid looking ‘Lego’ set on our terrace home sites – tell me what is it?

David: Hi Andrew. The Korok panel is simply an interlocking clip together steel outer shell with an aerated concrete infill designed for high performance fire and acoustic wall systems.

The components are simple. The standard system is made up of C-track, Korok Panel, Fire and acoustic sealant, Aluminium Sacrificial brackets, screws and concrete fixings

We manufacture both a 78 mm and 51 mm thick Korok. Each panel has a 250 mm coverage (four panels per LM), so that makes it easy to order and the panels are designed for fire ratings ranging from 60 mins and 120 mins without any additional linings.


Crosby: It is relatively easy to install I gather as a couple of the crew pick up the panels and slide them into place. Makes it easy on hard to access sites, compared to say pre-cast. Looks like they go in vertically – is that the only option and what’s the difference?

David: Yes, this Lightweight wall system is designed for the builders themselves to install onsite with either a two or three-person team and it is now included as part of their building process. You can easily carry a panel and install it between the two tenancies.

Terraced Housing and Commercial apartments have suitable structures that best suits the panels installation in a vertical orientation, whereas horizonal installations are more mainstream in warehouse and cinema applications due to the addition of structural steel columns.

With the terraced housing our panels are held in position with aluminium brackets within the timber frame cavity. In the unfortunate event of a fire, they are designed to melt on the fire side and to remain intact on the non-fire side which in turn supports the Korok Panel Fire Barrier.

To make it easy on site we manufacture the panels in Standard lengths as well as specialised lengths for each particular job, minimising waste which can then be recycled.


Crosby: Also, we are using them as Inter-tenancy walls. How did us using them this way come about?

David: As New Zealand moved towards higher and higher density housing, Korok recognised the need for superior inter-tenancy standards and looked for Housing Groups that were innovative, like-minded and prepared to adopt quality systems.

Grant Coutts, Construction Manager from Universal Homes was prepared to invest considerable time and thoughtfully considered what Korok had to offer. Not only did it have to streamline the building process, but it also had to be of beneficial value for UHL clients in cost and performance.

• High performance noise control systems (STC63 to STC69, well above code).
• High fire resistance ratings without additional plasterboard linings FRR 60 min to FRR 120 min.
• Solid and secure, providing UHL customers with central barrier system containing steel and composite lightweight concrete giving clients excellent value for money and security.
• Fast and easy to install.
• Providing a system that will still provide fire protection even if the plasterboard linings were to get damaged after the owners or tenants had moved in.
• Korok allows for in-wall services to be run without breaching the neighbouring property
• Peace of mind for residents knowing they have a high-quality build.

Crosby: It certainly looks solid, I would think there is nothing better than having steel and concrete protection between yourself and your neighbour. Being innovative is all very well and good, but our focus on Innovation is primarily to benefit our home buyers. What are some of the benefits to home owners with your product and system?

David: For builders, tenants and home owners, it gives more freedom to configure their plans as you can hang TV’s etc, plan kitchens etc on the ‘party walls’ as the Korok panel provides adequate Fire Rating.

Korok’s inherent mass deals with a lot of those low frequency noises that can cause issues between neighbours. For personal security, there is peace of mind for home owners knowing they have more than just plasterboard between them and their neighbour. We also tested the 78mm Korok Panel in Accordance with AS 3555.1-2003 Building Elements- “Testing and Rating of intruder resistance “just to provide a level of comfort.

Our Noise control levels by far exceed current NZ Standards, providing a better living environment and of course property security knowing if your neighbours terraced house catches on fire it is likely there will be substantially less damage to your property and personal effects.

Whist it was very unfortunate, the Korok panels were recently subjected to a real-life fire in one of your UHL developments. It proved to be very effective, which is not only a testament to the product itself, but it also highlights the high-quality build standard of UHL.

Crosby: Yes, that was a ferocious fire, tell me more about how Korok performed.

David: I might let the pictures do most of the talking.

• UHL adopted the 78 mm Korok Panels for this project.

We were very happy with the way the Korok panels performed. Not only was the fire ablaze for about 3½ hours, but the Korok panel also had to endure water and the pressure from hoses of the Fire Department appliances. Our understanding is that up to 240 litres per second of water was being applied at times to extinguish the flames.

Photo credit to: Angela Nash Photographer

Fortunately, the neighbouring properties were protected
• The photo below was of the interior of the terraced house next door. Remarkable really given the size and duration of the fire.

One of the questions from one of the owners of a neighbouring unit on the day of the fire, was “Do they have the same type of firewall panel system as the one in this building?” They were incredibly happy to find out that they did.

Crosby: Compelling evidence really. Grant what are your thoughts about Korok?

Grant: Given the rigorous compliance testing which Korok had been through prior to Universal selecting the product for use in our builds, it did not come as a surprise that it performed so well when put to the test. That said though, it is very reassuring to know that Korok did perform as specified. It’s a great product and we will continue to use it on builds going forward.”

Crosby: So, David to wrap it up what’s next? - where do you see the future?

We would like to see others follow Universal’s innovative lead in lifting the standards for acoustic and fire performance walls. For Government and Council authorities to recognise that current NZ Standards need improving. UHL and Korok are ahead of the curve providing superior inter-tenancy solutions for their clients.

A new thinking in inter-tenancy fire protection where the neighbouring terrace is also protected, not just occupants given time to escape. Higher Noise Control ratings for higher density living. Current STC55 codes and Fire resistance ratings between tenancies are inadequate for higher density modern living and there needs to be an improvement in this area.

Andrew, If I could take this opportunity, on behalf of Korok we would like to thank Universal Homes Limited, your Architects, builders and your staff for the collaborative approach in assisting with the finer details and streamlining of systems.

David Cornelius
Director
Korok Building Systems (NZ) Limited

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