August 2015

Podium Projects Pose New Challenges

Eric Marsal and Scott Hughes

Podium projects continue to rise as urban redevelopment soars. People are choosing to move back into the city to live, work and shop in close proximity. In many metropolises, podium construction (which becomes multi-family or mixed use) is growing vertically and exponentially.

Podium construction is generally poured concrete or block on the bottom two floors with up to five stories of
wood-framed building above. The bottom portion is usually for commercial use and the top section is for residential.

Along with this podium building boom comes taller buildings, more shared walls and many questions about structural and fire safety. When you design a project with wood framing over poured concrete, how do you address fire resistance? Do you reinforce with gypsum sheathing? Do you help protect the building envelope and its structural elements from its worst enemy: water?

“We’ve seen exponential growth of this type of residential construction in Multi-Family firms lately, especially Type IIIB construction. The requirements for IIIB area separation walls can be up to 3 hours, and finding the right design can be challenging for your specific project,” says Eric Marsal, National Gypsum construction design manager for the Southeast/Gulf region.

When you specify the right products for these projects, you can put your mind at ease. Our products offer excellent solutions to ensure an adequate fire rating and help guard your buildings against damaging elements like rain and moisture. We also have gypsum board designed to withstand more surface abrasion and impact.

  • Providing remarkable water resistance, Gold Bond® brand eXP® Shaftliner is specially designed to construct lightweight fire barriers for cavity shaftwalls (1-4 hour), stairwells and area separation walls in multi-family housing. It is UL classified for fire resistance and also resists moisture and the growth of mold – two great reasons to choose it for your wall assembly systems.
  • Do you need a moisture- and mold-resistant gypsum board with superior surface durability or impact resistance for interior wall assemblies? Consider Gold Bond® brand Hi-Abuse® XP® Gypsum Board or Gold Bond® brand Hi-Impact® XP® Gypsum Board
  • Add strength and dimensional stability to wood and metal stud construction with Gold Bond® brand eXP® Sheathing. eXP Sheathing is fire resistant, and its moisture-and mold-resistant core and facer provide exceptional protection against inclement weather.

Whether it is a residence or a business, another important consideration is sound barrier and environmental quality. With so many shared walls, do your building designs help minimize noise and maximize health?

According to Scott Hughes, National Gypsum construction design manager for the Northeast/Atlantic region: “Anytime you mix retail with residence, sound becomes a huge issue. How do you separate the noise of weight rooms, retail stores and cafés from the residential units? SoundBreak® XP® helps provide the needed sound resistance as well as mold and abuse resistance you are sure to be concerned about in podium construction.”

Gold Bond® brand SoundBreak® XP® 5/8" Gypsum Board has an acoustically enhanced, dense gypsum core encased in abrasion and mold/mildew/moisture-resistant PURPLE® paper. It is ideal for wall assemblies where sound transmission between rooms or dwelling units is a concern.

If you have residential or mixed use on the drawing board, National Gypsum products will give you a solid foundation. For more tips on products to integrate into your podium projects, contact your construction design manager today. We’re here to help you design better.

Product Overview

Gold Bond® brand PURPLE® eXP® Products

To construct a lightweight fire barrier for cavity shaftwalls, stairwells and area separation walls in multi-family housing units, the PURPLE® coated fiberglass facers on Gold Bond® brand eXP® Shaftliner will stay dimensionally stable under changes in temperature and humidity. This hard-working panel resists warping, rippling, buckling and sagging. And it’s so easy to install.

Are you protecting your vision throughout its evolution, from start to finish and beyond? If your project will be exposed to wind, rain, snow and extreme temperatures for extended periods, our PURPLE® Gold Bond® brand eXP® Sheathing has you covered!

Ask us today how these PURPLE® eXP® products can help you with your podium-style projects.

Project Profile

Biltmore Park Town Square

Biltmore Park Town Square
Biltmore Farms
Hogan Campis Architecture
Neighborhood Development Program pilot study

How can mixed-use developments reduce sprawl, encourage healthy living, protect the environment, and reduce dependence on automobiles? This project illustrates how successful multi-family housing can happen.

Read More About The Project

Continuing Education

Now that the year is half over, it’s time to add to your professional education through our continuing education courses. This month, we recommend:

Abuse and Impact Resistant Gypsum: Stronger and Safer Walls
1 hour/1 AIA
Advantages of Using Cover Boards in High Performance Gypsum: Protect against mold, moisture and exposure
1 hour/1 AIA


PURPLE® Walls Are Ready For Life

Are your walls ready to stand up to the wear and tear of life? PURPLE® high-performance gypsum products can help reduce noise, handle impact and abuse, and resist mold and moisture.

Watch Now

Watch our walls take on life - in action!


Warren Barber
Technical Marketing Manager

Scott Hughes

Eric Marsal

Thad Goodman

Pat Grotlisch

Amy Hockett
Architectural Specialist