Tall Buildings Research

The Tall Building Working Group (TBWG) was formed in 2018 to address a global phenomenon where creaking can be heard in tall residential towers in high wind conditions.  

The group was established under the umbrella of trade body Finishes and Interiors Sector Ltd (FIS) and set about bringing together the entire supply chain, namely developers, tier 1 contractors, manufacturers, architects, specialist drylining contractors and engineers who are involved in the specification and construction of buildings where noise issues have been reported.

The group engaged with individuals and organisations from across the globe and absorbed the findings of all available secondary research before embarking on a structured research programme of their own, funded by members of the TBWG. 

Further research was carried out by structural engineers WSP to present, in a graphical format, the inter-storey differential movement in vertical and horizontal directions affecting partitions and other elements of fit out. This document explains to the project fit-out designer how a high-rise tower reacts to external loads. 

  • External loads make the building move: non-structural elements should be installed in such a way as to allow for the movements freely. 
  • Any locked in movement will cause distress in the non-structural elements. 
  • Any frictional resistance to movements will cause noise. 

The key to reducing the phenomenon occurring in future tall towers is sharing the information contained in the structural engineer’s movement and tolerance reports early with the system owners of the drylining, and providing movement joints to allow the elements of the internal fit out to move independently.  

The TBWG is planning to hold another conference to share the report outcomes with the delivery teams, meanwhile, a summary report is available to members