International building materials specialist USGBoral is now offering customers in the Gulf quicker and easier access to its renowned line of gypsum panels, following the launch of local production in Oman.
“We started manufacturing Sheetrock panels in the GCC in April this year,” says Fares Saghbini, managing director of USGBoral ME, which has its headquarters and production plants in Dammam, Saudi Arabia. “However, this is a product that was developed by USG USA more than 90 years ago and kept evolving ever since; it has earned a reputation that has become synonymous with quality and innovation.”
Located in the Salalah Free Zone, the local plant is a joint venture with Zawawi Minerals, and goes by the name of USG-Zawawi Drywall. Since its launch, the plant’s Sheetrock panels have been used on projects across the Gulf.
USGBoral’s fire-rated gypsum boards are strong and sturdy, safe and easy to install, making them ideal for use in hotels, schools, hospitals, and luxury residences, says Saghbini.
Commenting on the suitability of Sheetrock in hotels, hospitals, universities and upscale residences, Saghbini says: “Sheetrock wallboard is a premium product that has high quality rating. The plant and the manufacturing process are heavily audited to make sure each and every board meet the high expectations of the contractors and consultants.
“What differentiates Sheetrock is that its production line in the Salalah plant in Oman has been fully certified by UL to produce fire-rated products and will continue to undergo quarterly inspections according to UL’s rigorous standards testing for quality, uniformity and safety including fire resistance.”
UL is a global leader in product safety testing and certification. For over a century, manufacturers have had their products evaluated and tested for safety risks by the independent, third-party safety certification organisation.
Like those manufactured in the US, all fire-rated Sheetrock from the Salalah plant are UL-certified for 334 wall systems.
“With the UL mark, discerning and safety-conscious architects, developers and contractors are assured that USGBoral’s locally produced products are manufactured to the highest international standards for safety and reliability,” he says.
Elaborating on the advantages of local manufacture, Saghbini says: “Local production ensures clients can access a premium product for their project faster and more efficiently. Time to market is critical to helping customers maintain continuity in supply and, ultimately, the timely and cost-effective completion of their projects without having to sacrifice safety or quality along the way.”
The Salalah plant has a capacity of 8 million sq m a year and produces Sheetrock in several core types including Regular, Firecode and Firecode C cores, Mold Tough and gypsum liner panels.
“The advantages of all these types are that they are easy to score and snap, and there is no need for special handling. Also, our comprehensive product and system testing assures their long-term performance and safety,” says Saghbini.
He continues: “The Fire Code and Firecode C panels are UL Certified and offer quality at competitive prices, fire-resistant dry construction, cracking and warping resistance, and quick installation and decoration. Mold Tough panels have a non-combustible, moisture- and mould-resistant gypsum core and 100 per cent recycled green face and brown back papers. The gypsum liner panels meanwhile are used mainly in Sheetrock cavity shaft wall and area separation wall systems.”
In the UAE, Sheetrock has been used on Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world’s tallest building, which was built to the highest of standards.
At the tower, which rises to a height of 830 m, USG’s Sheetrock shaft wall system, a fire-rated assembly consisting of gypsum board, steel and insulation, encloses the elevator and mechanical shafts. In addition, the skyscraper makes extensive use of USG gypsum wall panels and drywall ceilings as well as USG’s Durock cement board, steel framing, insulation, sealants, tape and paper-faced corner beads and trims.
Millions of sq m of Sheetrock Mold Tough were used in Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi, as Saghbini explains. “The 2.7 million-sq-ft project faced a significant challenge in June 2011. Working under a tight deadline, USG delivered roughly 11 million sq ft of Sheetrock Mold Tough panels. As many as 30 containers of wallboard were shipped to Abu Dhabi each week with careful consideration given to make sure there was never too little or too much product at the site at any one time.”
Meanwhile, the new plant in Salalah has already supplied projects across the Gulf. In Qatar, it has supplied the Dukhan housing project (regular gypsum panels), Mushaireb (Type X) and the Mall of Qatar’s cinemas (Type X) while in the UAE, its Sheetrock has been used at Moaisem City Centre, the Mall of the Emirates, the Uninest student accommodation, the National Rehabilitation Centre, and the Ruwais housing complex. Sheetrock has also been supplied to the Royal Oman Police Special Task Force Complex at Suwaiq.
USGBoral was formed in 2014 when Boral (Australia) and USG (US) joined forces to deliver a portfolio of building products comprising plasterboard-based wall, ceiling lining systems and accessories across Asia, Australasia and the Middle East.
Now with the GCC plant, USGBoral offers the region a locally made system with international warrantees, backed by a team of professionals available round the clock to provide support to customers, right from the early stages of design up to the hand-over of a project, says Saghbini.
“With the combination of our teams’ expertise and local availability, we are more capable than before to support our partners, contractors and distributors,” he adds.
Looking ahead, Saghbini says USGBoral ME (previously USGME and Boral ME) will press ahead with plans to expand and diversify its portfolio, while focusing on the GCC as well as the Middle East and North Africa.