Partitions and suspended ceilings
The interiors of office buildings are often refurbished after barely 10 years - with a change of tenant, for example. These projects release significant quantities of reusable materials such as modular partitions and suspended ceilings. At the present time, these products are rarely recovered; the number of operators responsible for the reuse of such materials can be counted on the fingers of one hand. However, it seems likely that this activity will expand in the future.
Modular partitions are the perfect example of a removable material, whose potential technical lifetime generally exceeds the actual lifetime. This makes them an excellent candidate for reuse – at least in theory. In practice, such elements are rarely recovered, especially because the operators active in the office development sector work exclusively with new products. To install reclaimed partitions in an existing space, the designers have to plan a detailed finish to manage the connections between the reclaimed partitions and the existing structure of the new project. It is unusual for the dimensions of such partitions to be perfect, whether in height or width.
Suspended ceilings are another product frequently encountered during projects in office buildings. Several types can be found on the reuse market. In some cases, the suspended ceilings are endowed with significant decorative qualities: suspended ceilings in strips, honeycomb pattern, varied shape and composition (aluminium, steel, wood panels, etc.). In other cases, they may be modular systems of a more neutral appearance, like compressed rock wool tiles.
The technical properties (acoustic insulation level, fire resistance, etc.) of these materials are not always known. When these characteristics are requested, the project developers then have to undertake specific research to evaluate these performances, consider the worst-case scenario or simply reserve these elements for purely decorative functions.
Partitions and suspended ceilings are not seen very often on the reuse market. It is, however, possible to find a steady supply of batches of:
modular partitions and doors that are part of the system. Glass partitions, in particular, are recovered due to their higher value.
suspended ceiling systems: different formats and materials.
For generic elements, the recorded prices are usually ~50% of the price of the new equivalent.
For more characteristic elements, the prices can be higher.
Did you know?
Since 2003, a European standard (EN 12600) requires the use of glass meeting higher resistance classes for partitions made entirely of glass. The standard became fully applicable in the different Member States during the following years. When dealing with a glass partition system dating from this period or earlier, you should check the resistance class of the glass. If necessary, a handrail should be provided, or the glass should be strengthened using transparent protective film.