Cladding demonstrates the importance of communication

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As the design of building facades becomes more intricate, the need is apparent for a more detailed and structured approach to rainscreen cladding specification and installation. More and more buildings feature facades, that combine different types of cladding materials and techniques which alone endures the challenge of creating an efficient and appropriate method of installation. Flowing communication between architect, specialist cladding contractor and the cladding competent manufacturers is essential to success.

Delivering a facade solution on budget and on time is a complex process. The importance of aesthetics and function is the main driving force in the initial thought process in terms of product selection but it is the often engineering and solution driven decisions concerning installation that requires close collaboration between the key parties.

Behind every rainscreen facade is an integral engineered support system. After this comes the choice of fixing method: a fundamental element that is often overlooked as ‘commodity’, the performance of the cladding support system is critical – failure with this element can have disastrous effects.

For an architect’s design to become a reality the cladding contractor must be able to install the facade efficiently and the support system, along with the chosen fixing method, marks the starting point of this process. With fluent communication from the start, and with due consideration to all elements, all parties will achieve the shared goals to deliver a stylish, secure facade.

To achieve project success, the expertise of the various component manufacturers should be utilised. At the new 136 apartment building at Derwent Point, Islington, it was architect Church Lukas’ intention to create a visually striking building. To achieve this, the building’s external facade incorporated an ambitious and challenging checkerboard design combining four different cladding materials – fibre reinforced polymer (FRP), high pressure laminate (HPL), stone and opaque glass.

Due to the complexity of the project, and the intricacies of the facade, Church Lukas and specialist cladding contractor Oskomera chose to involve the cladding support system manufacturer, Eurofox Engineering, at an early stage in the build process. By approaching Eurofox at this stage, the project was provided with the best possible solution, with Eurofox engineering a support system to meet the design of the facade and the different choice of cladding materials.

To hold the different cladding systems in place, Eurofox created a solution based around its MacFox vertical cladding bracket and rail system. A number of different brackets were fitted on to the vertical rails – specified to comply with the different cladding products and their fixing method – mechanical and secret fix.

With the focus on performance and aesthetics, secret fix, which would eliminate unsightly bolts and eliminate cold bridging, was one of the chosen fixing method at Derwent Point. To ensure a seamless and robust application, Rainscreen cladding specialists, Eurofox, sought the assistance of global building product manufacturer Sika, who provides its SikaTack Panel Adhesive solution. A revolutionary elastic structural bonding system, it requires no screws or brackets, instead using advanced elastic bonding technology to adhere cladding panels to the support system.

With its stylish checkerboard design, the seamless Derwent Point facade perfectly reflects the importance of correct specification as well as the benefits of using an adaptive approach to suit the varying, and sometimes changing, demands of modern cladding systems.

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