Offsite Magazine - Issue 20 (November/December 2019)

Page 34



The visual impact of a building and how its façade and cladding system performs is crucial to its overall success and longevity. Building boards specialist RCM recently hosted a roundtable event discussing how the offsite sector specifies and approaches the external envelope.

With UK building regulation changes and post-Grenfell pressures surrounding durability, safety and long term value for money, the construction industry has had to do some hard thinking and reflection on how best to approach the external aspects of any building – especially multi-storey developments. The offsite sector has likewise had to absorb these changes into its dynamic manufacturing and supply chains. A ‘fully integrated approach’ to the building envelope is essential to drive improved building performance and levels of productivity and while there are many challenging issues to grapple with – even for the traditional industry – there are also many opportunities ahead for offsite technology when approaching façade specification.


As ever, for a truly successful project cycle, early engagement with clients, architects and engineers is critical, but is there sufficient understanding of the need to change specification and procurement methods from the trusted ‘traditional’ procurement route to an offsite path? Crucially, is there enough knowledge about offsite to make informed decisions about what lies ahead? Building Regulation Changes Impending changes to the Part L Building Regulation will have to be part of those informed decisions. “Early engagement is always better,” says Aneel Kilaire, Façade Consultant at Wintech. “The next Part L Regulation and issues surrounding thermal bridging is going to become even more important and having an offsite

solution which is pre-designed – where the thermal bridges can be assessed and provide a standard solution – will be important.” Traditional construction is often seen as a safe option, with architects and clients picking systems based on an aesthetic or visual design appeal, without thinking too much about the system that is going to eventually provide it. Style is everything and ‘as a manufacturer you are driven down a particular specification.’ What is often overlooked at this formative stage is the understanding of standardised layouts and systems, what works and importantly what doesn’t. “For a client to make the right choice they need to be informed in the right way,” says Wayne Yeomans, Head of Business Development, McAvoy Group.