Inspections, Safety

Donald E. Smith, CCS

February 2007

In a recent issue of AWCI Members Only, the monthly newsletter for members of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, you said a procedure for the inspection of finished gypsum board was in the works. Can you provide an update on how the process is coming along?

At the fall ASTM Committee Week, a proposal was made to revise ASTM C840 to include a procedure for the inspection of finished gypsum board. The content and basis of the proposed revisions were well received. However, the leadership of Committee C11, which has jurisdiction over C840 and other standards covering gypsum products, felt that the establishment of a separate, stand-alone standard would better serve the purpose of the industry.

Further discussion led in the direction of developing a standard covering the inspection of finished surfaces, not just finished gypsum board. Other than extending the time required to bring a standard online, this sounded like a great idea. To cover the time lapse between the first presentation and the publication of a final standard, AWCI will publish a white paper on the procedure for use by the industry. The white paper will cover the same procedures that will be proposed for the ASTM Standard and will be made available to AWCI members shortly after the annual convention in April. The white paper will be presented to the Gypsum Board Committee of AWCI’s Construction Technology Council for review and approval by the AWCI board of directors prior to release for publication. The white paper will then be presented at spring ASTM Committee Week in Norfolk, Va., to begin the balloting process required for the adoption of the white paper as an ASTM standard. This process can take up to 18 months … maybe longer.

As the safety director for a drywall contractor I am always looking for sources of new information concerning safety and ways to solve some the problems that arise on our projects. Does AWCI offer anything other than the Tool Box Talks available from the AWCI Bookstore, and is there a way for safety professionals to exchange information?

In conjunction with AWCI’s safety consultants, AWCI has added a Safety section to its Web site at www.awci.org. Click on the third button down on the left side of the home page to enter the Safety section.

The site is set up to cover different areas and includes safety news, a message board, safety calendar, articles and bulletins, compliance tips, safety products, safety software, information on AWCI’s Excellence in Construction Safety Award and Chapter services.

The "Safety News" section covers items of interest from industry sources and is general in nature.

The Message Board is a place to go to for answers to questions you may have concerning items of a specific nature. While it is not currently populated with a great wealth of information (the board is still in its infancy), we hope that our members will be adding to the content over the coming months. Come in and ask a question, or present a problem to see what solutions are offered by your peers.

The Safety Calendar will list actions to be completed throughout the month to assist in recognizing and controlling hazard energy. It also lists OSHA deadlines and safety-related events. Active links will be provided that offer safety talks, checklists and compliance materials.

In the "Articles/Bulletins” section you will find a compilation of safety articles from AWCI’s Construction Dimensions magazine and bulletins from AWCI’s Tech Update newsletter. These cover timely items of interest to the safety community.

Since OSHA is always looking for reassurance that you are doing your job, the "Compliance Tips” section of the Web site helps you do just that. There will be reminders on up coming requirements from OSHA and what you need to do to keep your safety program current and in compliance with OSHA requirements.

Ever had a difficult time finding a supplier of a specific safety-related item at a reasonable price? We are working on providing just this type of information in the "Safety Products” section. When populated with resources, this will provide you with a one-stop shopping experience to cover you needs for personal protective equipment and other safety-related equipment.

The "Safety Software” section is the place to go to find out more about AWCI’s Safety Software. The most current version of the software is available at a very reasonable price. Future updates to the software will be available for downloading online.

Information about AWCI’s Excellence in Construction Safety Award also will be available online. This will include everything necessary to compete in the awards program for 2008.

To help many of AWCI’s Chapters, our safety consultants are available to make presentations on the value of the AWCI Safety Software program. Also available are instructional programs to train staff in the use effective use of the software.

In addition to the online options, AWCI’s Safety Directors Forum will be meeting this April during AWCI’s Annual Convention in Orlando, Fla. Let me know if you are interested in participating.

Finally, you will be noticing more and more articles in this magazine related to safety. Last December we told you how to get more for your PPE dollar, and this month we have an article (page 41) about properly shipping and transporting certain hazardous materials. Upcoming topics include OSHA paperwork compliance, using your good safety records as a tool in the bidding process and accident investigation.

We are constructing a fire-rated partition on the underside of the slab above. Is it a standard practice to start with a drywall panel at the top laid perpendicular to the framing, with coverage from the underside of the slab above to just above the ceiling height? The remaining gypsum panels are installed vertically or parallel to the framing. In this situation, are we required to provide support for the unsupported edges of the gypsum panels between the framing where the boards meet above the ceiling? If we do, what type of support is required?

The quick answer is yes. The supporting members have to be equal to or greater than the thickness of the primary framing used for the partition. An alternate method is available from two Underwriters Laboratories fire rated assembly designs. These two designs are U465 and U419. The caveat is that the design assemblies, as tested, use proprietary products. There is only one gypsum panel producer that makes a product that has been tested and approved for use without support behind the unsupported edges between the framing.

This condition may not be a problem if you have the ability to choose which manufacturer of drywall to use in the project. This is also a condition where your field personnel must be made aware of the special requirements; they have to be kept in the loop and understand the specific requirements for this particular condition.

About the Author
Donald E. Smith, CCS, is AWCI’s director of technical services. He can be reached at (703) 538.1611 or smith@awci.org.