Operable Walls and Folding Partitions


We have long been recognized as the innovative leader in the folding door, acoustical accordion folding partition, and the operable and relocatable wall industry, offering a comprehensive line of moveable wall panels in a variety of wood, vinyl, or fabric finishes. We also provide solutions to operable walls, roll up doors, and folding partitions that can be power or manual-driven to suit any of our clients’ needs.

Operable Walls and Folding Partitions
      Operable Walls and Folding Partitions
        Operable Walls and Folding Partitions
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Folding partitions are a type of temporary folding partition wall which serves to partition rooms in lieu of permanent walls. They are able to be joined in sections, or as a single unit, depending upon how they are manufactured. These operable walls can be rolled on casters, fixed, accordion-style, or folding dividers.

Operable walls aren’t usually anchored to the ceiling or floor. They differ from conventional office cubicles since the portable walls frequently form a work area that is temporary and not permanent. They are often used for exhibits, trade show displays, classrooms, and other temporary uses.

Depending on how they are made, operable walls can be stacked, folding partition walls, or on wheels, which enables mobility and makes them easy to store. Portable partition walls have ends that consist of 2 full panels that give rigidity, support, and privacy. Many are made from acoustic noise reduction materials.

Operable partitions are utilized to divide a space rapidly, where a non-mobile room partition may not be practical. They can also be utilized as sight dividers to conceal backroom areas and door openings.

Operable Partition Deflection Issues

Operable partitions facilitate a versatile room configuration. They impart aesthetic value, and sound separation. However, in the eyes of a design engineer, the details are important. The operable partitions need to function correctly so that operability and noise retention are maintained.

The support for these systems needs to bear their weight and simultaneously limit their deflection for them to operate properly.The most straightforward method is to have a system supported by the floor on a slab. However, this kind of system is almost never specified.

All types of structures deflect to some extent. It results from the elastic properties of its constituent members. Deflection is simpler to design for within new structures. Sometimes, the addition of operable partitions to existent buildings can have issues.

Differing types of panel systems have varying deflections requirements. Systems used commonly are folding partitions. The way they are made is dependent upon their sound transmission rating or STC rating. The STC rating has an affect upon deflection limitations.Other types of operable partitions include movable glass panels, accordion doors, self-supporting and portable panels. We’ll examine the needs of folding partition walls below.

Folding Partition Walls

These panels run along a tract at the top and can be stacked at one or both ends of the partition, usually in a closet.The structure overhead is designed to handle the entire accumulated system load. The structure that supports the extended partition is designed to handle the partition’s uniform load. They system weight is normally less than 10 pounds/sq. ft.

Partitions have varying deflection limits depending on how they are made. A statement like “deflection shall be less than 2.54 cm” does not adequately address the parameters structural engineers must take into account.

Other considerations include:

  • Max deflection under a “live Load” with a specified width. The “live Load” could be the panel weight plus the live roof or snow load.
  • Max deflection under a “live Load” over the complete partition length. For partitions in excess of 50 ft. the deflection should be given as a ratio:length/constant number.

Load Deflection Requirements

For new construction utilizing joist girders or joists, the defection requirements and load should be depicted in construction drawings. The max allowable depth of joists for the purposes of clearance should be considered as well. Joist manufacturers will have submitted their design already. At this time, the joist design should be considered along with the operable partition design so that the two are coordinated. This could involve a joint meeting with the Architect, Structural engineer and the partition provider.

In pre-existing construction, it is uncommon that the structures that exist will have the capacity to handle the extra partition load and satisfy deflection requirements. It is often not difficult to increase the strength of the member, but limiting the deflection can be a challenge.