It will pay dividends to head into this year’s designEx with a plan. Already a time management challenge, this year the design and architecture event will be 20 per cent larger than in 2013.

It promises to be packed full of exhibitors sharing their latest products and ideas, and a host of notable exhibitions and speakers like renowned trend forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort as keynote.

In the lead up, we decided to take a virtual dabble of the showroom floor, in an attempt to learn a little more about some topics we cover in the  May/June 2014 issue of Infolink – BPN magazine.


Over the past weeks, we examined two Australian building designs (Newington College and NMIT's Building F) and the materials that were used to ensure their acoustical performance.

If you wanted to learn more about building code requirements for sound insulation or best practice design, you could go talk to Knauf Plasterboard, an exhibitor for this year’s event (stand 668). They explain, for instance, that large open areas such as shopping centres may require sound absorption to prevent noise reverberation, as opposed to spaces like meeting rooms, which would need resistant lining systems for a more private and quiet acoustic environment.

Knauf Plasterboard is one exhibitor at this year's event (Stand 668) equipped to answer questions about acoustic design

Acoustic functions can be divided into sound insulation and noise absorption. Knauf products, Designpanel and Cleaneo can be used to absorb and control the reverberation of excessive sound, whilst SoundShield and Sonarock work to minimise the transmission of sound through wall and ceiling systems.

The company’s Technical Manual places emphasis on three elements for good acoustic design: the selection of appropriate systems to limit sound transmission and/or reverberation; thoughtful design of the building layout; and consideration of flanking paths, which refer to the ways sound can travel around barriers, such as through windows, ceiling cavities, under doors and along services.

It also states that performance requirements of the BCA relating to sound transmission and insulation can be satisfied by one of three options – a deemed-to-satisfy construction that complies with provisions of BCA Specification F5.2-2; laboratory testing or acoustic engineering; or on-site testing.

Where noise is higher than usual, architects are advised to consult accredited acoustic engineers.

Another company exhibiting at DesignEx is USG Boral (stand 374), which offers a range of acoustic products, including the Multistop multi-attribute plasterboard system. An ideal solution for projects that demand fire, impact, sound and water resistance from internal wall and ceiling linings, Multistop 4 is GECA certified and 13mm thick. 

Boral Multistop Plasterboard

According to Boral’s online brochure, sound insulation requirements for a residential building should ideally focus on any internal sound transmissions. Hence, any wall or floor/ ceiling system that separates living from rest areas should be designed and constructed to provide insulation against air-borne and structure-borne transfer of noises.

The Echostop perforated acoustic plasterboard is another product that will be promoted by USG Boral at DesignEx


In our reporting on outdoor flooring and green roofs, we see the importance of staying up to date with relevant regulations like slip resistance and water management.

An educational series worth checking out in this field will be the Australian Tile Council and the Australian Stone Advisory Association supported seminars and panel sessions in the Tile & Stone Theatre. It will include the topics Materials & Selection, Tile & Stone Installation, and Maintenance & Waterproofing.

For example, BLS Consulting’s Barry Schafer (left) will speak about the critical issues surrounding the waterproofing of lightweight decks, with many lightweight decks today failing in their waterproofing performance. The AS 4654-.2 – 2012 ‘Waterproofing membrane systems for Exterior use – Above ground level Part 2 Design and installation’ will be referred to, as will the BCA deemed-to-satisfy requirement for external waterproofing above ground.

In addition to the critical detailing requirements specified in the standard, Schafer will look at the factors installers and end users need to consider for waterproofing lightweight decks, such as the relationship between the chosen tile, the ceramic tile adhesive and the underlaying substrate, which play an important part in the performance of membranes.

A special two hour panel session on 30 May by slip resistance experts Richard Bowman (Intertile Research) and Carl Strautins (Safe Environments) will answer questions on the new standards, as well as accelerated wear testing and slip resistance in general.

Aiming to empower architects and merchants to make appropriate slip resistance decisions, the panel will briefly review recent developments, such as the new classifications in the revised AS 4586:2013 standard; what has happened in the imminent revision of the HB 197 recommendations; and the newly revised AS 1657:2013, Fixed platforms, walkways, stairways and ladders.

The new mandated slip resistance requirements in the National Construction Code 2014 will also be discussed, as will the proposed Livable Housing Australia slip resistance requirements.

A psychophysical slip resistance experimental project will also run during designEX by ATC and TAFE NSW with members of the public, and will generate some of the data that would form the basis of standards and regulations.

That’s a very select sample of the events taking place. Click  HERE to learn more about the three day programme of industry related seminars and panel sessions, which will be held at the Sydney Exhibition Centre at Glebe Island, Sydney, 28 – 30 May, 2014.

To gain free entry, pre-register online at