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Revised Technical Guidance Is Coming From the Gypsum Association

October 2, 2018

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The Gypsum Association (GA) is in the final stages of completing the twenty-second edition of its flagship publication, GA-600-2018 Fire Resistance and Sound Control Design Manual. Discover what changes are coming to you.

Updates and Revisions

Revised on a three-year basis, GA-600 has been referenced by the model building codes as a source of fire resistive designs for more than 50 years. Now nearly 400 pages, the 2018 edition contains more than 140 new proprietary systems that supplement existing assemblies for walls and partitions, floor-ceiling systems, area separation walls and many others.

Always considered among the best organized and easiest to use of the fire design reference manuals, the 2018 edition features an improved layout that clearly distinguishes between fire and sound systems and makes for easier identification of components and layers in system descriptions. For the second time, a searchable, easy-to-navigate, digital counterpart to the manual will be available. Delivered on-demand, the digital edition will allow the user to print specific pages for reference.

Both the building codes and the A/E/C community are placing increased emphasis on acoustics. In response, the manual’s introductory section on sound has been significantly expanded to include terminology, explanatory notes and general information. Acoustical data for generic systems will be available in the electronic edition of GA-600-2018, which will allow designers to make better-informed decisions when selecting systems for specific sound control requirements, such as speech privacy.

The Fire Resistance and Sound Control Design Manual is currently referenced by the International Building Code and The National Fire Codes (NFPA), as well as many state and local jurisdictions in the United States and Canada. It is seen as a source document for fire-resistance and sound-control rated designs that incorporate gypsum board in a variety of building systems.

Given the expansion of the book and additional sound testing, approximately two dozen systems have new GA file numbers. New file numbers were created to maintain the book’s organizational structure, which allows users to quickly identify systems that meet both specific fire and sound requirements. However, updated tables will allow readers to easily identify an assembly’s new file number.

Also scheduled for fall release is the revised application specification GA-216-2016 Application and Finishing of Gypsum Panel Products. The 2018 specification provides appropriate installation methods for the various types of gypsum panels—from the more common regular and type X wallboards to specialized performance boards such as glass mat water-resistant gypsum panels and abuse-resistant and impact-resistant gypsum panels. GA-216 is referenced in the International Code Council Codes and NFPA 5000 as an appropriate standard for the application and installation of gypsum boards and panels.

Why It Matters

Architects and specifiers consult and reference GA-216 in construction documents to ensure proper handling and storage of wallboard on the jobsite, to guide installation of gypsum boards over appropriately spaced and installed wood or steel framing, and to determine when and if control joints should be used, to name just a few examples.

Installers rely on GA-216 to determine appropriate methods of installation. Application and Finishing of Gypsum Panel Products guides wallboard layout, including proper placement of joints around window and door openings, as well as selection of fastener types and fastener spacing. New to this edition are an appendix on screw spinout and a significant change to the specification for attachment of drywall to concrete.

All GA publications, including approximately 30 free technical documents, are available in the association’s bookstore. Technical documents, publications and answers to common questions to help expand your company’s practices can be found at gypsum.org.

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