The cladding industry has been making headlines in recent years for many reasons; however, very little attention is paid to a serious topic – the issue of correct cladding installation.
Three things need to be considered when installing any form of exterior façade: fire performance, weathertightness and installation engineering. Finding the right balance between these areas is critical to creating a safe and aesthetically pleasing façade. Keeping these three aspects in mind will also help decide compliance matters.
When considering the fire performance of the façade, the installation method is likely the most important factor. This is because manufacturers design and test systems with a particular installation method, making it critical for the installer to replicate the design set out in the installation guidelines for the specific product so as to achieve the proven fire performance.
Any deviation from the guidelines can result in different fire performance outcomes; for example, using tape fix or face fixing instead of the industry standard cassette fixing for metal cladding will give entirely different fire performance results.
A weathertight façade is imperative to the longevity of any building. Weathertightness of the cladding is important because the façade functions as the primary barrier for water ingress. A weathertight façade is one that is correctly installed to the specification provided by the manufacturer. For example, the standard cassette fix installation relies on caulking/sealants to prevent water passing through the panel. However, the same panel installed as part of a rainscreen system would rely on your substrate to act as the primary water barrier. Both systems when correctly installed are equally resilient to water ingress.
Prior to installation, it’s important to factor in criteria such as wind loading and minimum fixing requirements for the façade. In a cassette system, these are relatively simple calculations that affect the frequency of the fixings and supporting accessories such as stiffeners. This prevents the panels losing their structural performance over a period of time. Correct installation methods ensure that the performance of the façade meets the standards set by the manufacturer.
As a responsible manufacturer, Fairview is committed to ensuring safe and compliant use of its full range of façade products. Fairview has also developed the industry’s first accredited training courses for installers in partnership with the Master Builders Association.
Find out more about the SafeClad training and accreditation program and current courses here.