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Non load bearing partitions are used in all types of buildings; the actual form of construction will be determined by the specified performance criteria and desired appearance. Fixed stud and sheet or panel partitions are normally used in housing, and most types of non-residential buildings, whilst re-locatable frame and sheet systems are generally appropriate for offices and other commercial buildings. Twin-framed constructions of various types are also available, which are used to sub-divide multi-screen cinema complexes and other applications requiring high sound insulation.

To some extent all partitions help to contain the effects of fire and depending on the size and function of a building, national Building Regulations require fire resisting constructions to have specified periods of fire resistance. When correctly specified and installed, the partitions may contribute substantially to the safety of the occupants of the building. Insurance companies may also specify particular requirements for certain applications such as property protection and business continuity.

Accordingly, many partition suppliers carry out extensive product development and fire testing to demonstrate that their partition designs can achieve satisfactory levels of fire resistance. Such fire resisting partition designs may have fire resistance periods ranging from 30 minutes to 240 minutes (or more).

The fire resistance of a partition will also depend on the interaction with components such as a door or glazing, and is likely to be controlled by the performance of the weakest component, or the weakest interface between elements.

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