A demising wall is a partition that separates spaces belonging to different tenants, or private tenant areas and common areas. Demising walls often have special considerations for energy efficiency, noise pollution, and tenant safety.
Demising walls are found in apartment complexes, where the shared wall between two apartments represents a separation between areas that belong to different tenants.
Demising Wall Uses
Energy efficiency: Insulation can improve energy efficiency. Each tenant can control the temperature in his or her own space, without worrying about paying for heating or cooling of the neighboring space.
Temperature control: Insulation can also be important when a demising wall separates an unusually hot or cold area from another part of the building, such as a shared wall between a commercial kitchen and a private residence.
Fire resistance: Demising walls may need a fire rating in order to prevent fires from spreading between tenant areas. Walls and doors with fire resistance are an important part of construction to control fires in the event they break out.
Liability protection: A demising wall with a high rating between two spaces can limit liability issues. For example, if one tenant's carelessness causes a fire, the neighboring tenant's space will be safe behind a fire wall.
Rules About Demising Walls
Within a building, there may be rules about what tenants can do with the walls they share with other tenants and common areas.
- Typically, tenants cannot move the walls, as they represent the outer boundaries of their space.
- Tenants may be barred from installing certain kinds of items on or near the wall, as a courtesy to fellow tenants.
- The lease agreement will provide information about any restrictions on property use so tenants know what is allowable.
Evaluating a Demising Wall
In a building inspection, the inspector can evaluate the demising walls in a building to make sure they meet code requirements. Sometimes internal rearrangement may create a new separating wall where one was not present before.
In this situation, it is important to check the code requirements before finishing the wall, in case it is necessary to take any special measures to meet the code. If the wall does not conform, the inspector may cite the structure's owner, and he or she will have to fix it before the building will be approved for use.