System Selection

Performance Definitions

Tradeline has been rigorously tested to be compliant with all current standards. To help you understand how well Tradeline performs, here’s an explanation of some of the terms and requirements.

The right strength/duty for your application

Tradeline partitions must withstand a range of dynamic and static loadings. To keep things simple, the relevant British Standard (BS 5234) defines four ratings of strength (or duty). They are:

Strength/duty rating Code Application
Light LD Suitable where possibility of damage is small.
Medium MD For example use in general office areas.
Heavy HD For example use in public circulation areas.
Severe SD For example use in areas prone to rough use.

To achieve a particular strength grade, the partition system must satisfy six (Annexes A-F) essential performance criteria by testing to BS 5234. Strength performance must be substantiated based on test reports from laboratories accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) for testing to BS 5234.

To find out how well Tradeline performs when teamed with the UK’s most popular boards, go to the product performance tables on pages 46-62. For the strength, look at the first column – the one headed Partition Grade BS5234.

Many combinations of board and Tradeline are rated for severe duty. Installing single-layer configurations of plasterboard and Tradeline as described on page 48 could potentially save you time and money.


We take our environmental responsibilities seriously and continually work to improve our environmental performance. We offer customers a range of waste and recycling solutions managed by our waste-management team. To find out more, visit

If you’re designing to BREEAM standards, the following facts about Tradeline metal partition systems should prove useful:

  • A rated to BRE Guide 2007 when clad with plasterboard
  • Manufactured to ISO 14001
  • Manufactured to BES 6001 – Very Good
  • Manufactured to ISO 9001
  • Manufactured to BS OHSAS 18001

CE marking

All relevant profiles conform to BS EN 14195: 2005. Metal framing components covered by this standard are for use with gypsum plasterboard in non load-bearing assemblies. Their reaction to fire is Euroclass A1, meaning that they make no contribution to fire. All relevant products bear the CE logo.

All certificate classifications are correct at time of publication. Get in contact if you want to check the current certification status.

Fire performance for Part B

Fire-resistance performance claims must be supported by tests or assessment reports by UKAS-accredited laboratories. To maintain the integrity of an installation, ensure the construction, materials, and components used are in accordance with the assembly requirements and report data.

The fire-test data in our Tradeline Product Guide is to BS 476 Part 22: 1987 unless stated otherwise. For EN data, speak to the team in your local branch of our stockist, CCF. If the EN data is available, it may affect the maximum permissible installation heights.

Acoustics performance for Part E

Sound-insulation performance must also be supported by test reports from UKAS-accredited laboratories that test to BS EN ISO 140-3: 1995 and BS EN ISO 717-1: 1997 standards.

The test data provided on this website and in our Tradeline Product Guide are presented as the weighted version, Rw, of the sound-reduction index. Rw is expressed in decibels. Since Rw is based on laboratory evaluations, it will not tell you how your finished installation will perform on site.

Onsite testing results are expressed as the weighted version, DnT,w, of the standardised level difference. Acoustic testing provides order-of-magnitude comparisons between the performance of various systems. Typical onsite values for DnT,w are around 7 to 8 decibels below the Rw values achieved in the laboratory.

For onsite measurement of party walls in residential developments, you need a further adjustment, Ctr, for low-frequency noise. To help you plan an installation, we put the C and Ctr adjustments in brackets after the Rw.

Since onsite sound insulation is a function of the chosen partition and its associated structures, you need specialist advice when designing an installation. We cannot provide this advice.

Acoustics terminology

Any discussion of acoustics and Part E tends to be weighed down with specialist terms and symbols. Here’s our guide to a few of the most common terms.


An adjustment factor applied to sound reduction that takes account of annoying low-frequency traffic noise. Ctr is always negative: it reduces the headline effectiveness of a material or a barrier as measured by its sound-reduction index, Rw, or its level difference, DnTw.

Decibel (dB)

A measurement of sound intensity. Since the decibel scale is logarithmic, an increment of 10dB indicates sound that’s more intense by an order of magnitude. The decibel is a useful measure because an increase or decrease of 1dB is roughly equivalent to what the human ear can detect.


Measures the reduction of airborne sound between two adjacent spaces separated by a wall. DnTw is a weighted and standardised version of the level difference, D. It’s an onsite measure, so it’s a real measure of the effectiveness of the installed insulation. The weighting provides a single figure that’s easier to use, and the standardisation relates to a standard 0.5 seconds reverberation time.


An adjusted figure for the sound-level difference (DnTw) between two spaces. The adjustment (Ctr is always negative) takes account of low-frequency traffic noise.

Flanking transmission

Sound that passes from one space to another via an indirect path such as the top or bottom of a separating wall.


A description of sound based on its pitch – how high or low it sounds. Measured by the number of vibrations or pressure variations a second that cause the sound.

Hertz (Hz)

The unit of frequency of sound expressed in cycles a second.

Impact sound

Sound made by direct impact on a wall, floor, or other building element. Typical sources of impact sound are footsteps, shutting doors, or dropped objects.

Internal floor

Any floor within a building that is not a separating floor.

Internal wall

Any wall within a building that is not a separating wall.


An onsite measure of the ability of a floor to absorb and dampen impact sounds. LnTw is a weighted and standardised version that provides a single number for easier comparisons.


Unwanted sound – sounds that building occupants don’t want to hear.

Pre-completion testing (PCT)

A requirement of the Building Regulations to test the acoustic performance of separating walls and floors in new-build and refurbished properties. Only a percentage of properties in each development need be tested. Using materials subject to robust details is a way of avoiding pre-completion testing.

Robust standard detail (RSD)

Usually known as ‘robust details’. A collection of constructions (and their components) for separating walls and floors that have already been tested and approved by Robust Details Ltd. Robust details give builders certainty. When you use materials covered by robust details, you don’t have to go through pre-completion testing.


A weighted version, expressed in decibels, of the sound-reduction index, R. Weighting expresses the index as a single number that makes comparisons easier. Each increase in Rw of 1, roughly relates to a 1dB noise reduction.

Separating floor

Floor in a residential building that separates flats or rooms.

Separating wall

Wall in a residential building that separates adjoining dwellings, houses, flats or rooms.

Sound-reduction index (R)

A laboratory-measured rating, expressed in decibels, for the effectiveness of a soundproofing system or material across a range of frequencies. The bigger the number, the better the material is at absorbing sound of a particular frequency. To make comparisons easier, the weighted version Rw of the sound-reduction index is used.