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Nine Gypsum Board Specifications Now Contained in One Standard

In 1999, the gypsum industry began phasing in new ASTM International standard C 1396, Specification for Gypsum Board. C 1396 was designed to replace several existing ASTM specifications, leaving one reference standard for all gypsum board products. Now that C 1396 has become a firmly established standard, the nine specifications incorporated into it are being balloted for withdrawal.

Until the publication of C 1396, each gypsum board product was covered by a separate ASTM specification (i.e., ASTM C 36, Specification for Gypsum Wallboard, C 79, Specification for Gypsum Sheathing, etc.). No technical changes were made to the individual specifications incorporated into C 1396, since the intent was only to combine the individual specifications under a single “umbrella” specification and simplify maintenance of the standard.

The use of one specification promised to eliminate inadvertent inconsistencies between the requirements for individual products that result from staggered document revision schedules. The industry phase-in program included a period during which product labels and literature reflected both the new ASTM C 1396 and the current ASTM specification for the specific product.

Robert Wessel, assistant executive director of the Gypsum Association and secretary to ASTM Committee C11 on Gypsum and Related Building Materials and Systems, explains that for the past five years, “Building professionals have seen the dual labeling while the industry worked to update all of the relevant codes and standards referencing ASTM specifications for gypsum board products. The period of dual labeling was intended to give the industry time to educate specifiers on the need to use ASTM C 1396 instead of the existing specifications. After five years, it is time for the final phase of the transition and to discuss withdrawing the redundant documents.”

Ultimately, the standards to be withdrawn are:

C 36, Specification for Gypsum Wallboard;
C 37, Specification for Gypsum Lath;
C 79, Specification for Treated Core and Nontreated Core Gypsum Sheathing Board;
C 442, Specification for Gypsum Backing Board, Gypsum Coreboard, and Gypsum Shaftliner Board;
C 588, Specification for Gypsum Base for Veneer Plaster;
C 630, Specification for Water-Resistant Gypsum Backing Board;
C 931, Specification for Exterior Gypsum Soffit Board;
C 960, Specification for Predecorated Gypsum Board; and
C 1395, Specification for Gypsum Ceiling Board.

All of these standards are currently being balloted for withdrawal within their respective ASTM committees. These ballots will serve both to begin the process of removing the standards from use, and to notify those organizations that reference these standards that their publications will require updating.

For further technical information, contact Robert Wessel, Gypsum Association, Washington, D.C. (phone: 202/ 326-5406). Committee C11 meets May 16-19, 2005, during the May Committee Week in Reno, Nev. For membership or meeting details, contact Tom O’Toole, ASTM International (phone: 610/832-9739). //

Copyright 2004, ASTM International