Area Separation Walls are non-load bearing, 2-hour and 3-hour rated vertical wall assemblies that provide fire-resistant protection between adjacent living units in apartment buildings, condominiums and townhouses. Area Separation Walls are also referred to as party walls, firewalls, multi-family walls and H-Stud assemblies.
Area Separation Walls are assembled between two independent walls to form a commonly shared party wall that extends from the foundation through the roofline. The walls are assembled with two-1" thick gypsum panel liners vertically installed between 2" H-Studs spaced 24" o.c. C-Runners are installed at the top and bottom of the walls and back-to-back between vertically stacked panels. Overall stacked area separation wall assembly cannot exceed 50 feet.
A photo of an Area Separation Wall system after a fire is shown to the right. Although this was a tragic event, it clearly proves the effectiveness of the Area Separation Wall system. The system performed as designed by maintaining the integrity of the fire wall protecting the lives and property of the adjacent units. (Photo courtesy of National Gypsum.)
Aluminum Burn Clips are used to secure the Area Separation Wall in place to both sides of the floor, roof and truss line. The clips on the fire side are intended to melt under the intense heat during a fire, thus enabling a fire-damaged structure to collapse while keeping the fire wall barrier in place to protect the adjacent unit. This is commonly referred to as a "controlled collapse."
Area Separation Wall assemblies are a great alternative to masonry construction. The H-stud system is at least 50% lighter than masonry walls, installs faster, is STC sound rated and increases valuable floor space compared to 8" – 12" wide masonry walls.