Rainscreen cladding solutions feature on many different types of property, from apartment blocks and hotels to schools and railway stations, while the build-up behind the visible panels is relied upon to ensure their performance benefits extend to far more than being a first line of defence against the weather.


With this need for multi-functionality, industry specialist SFS has developed its offering on rainscreen cladding support systems to enable architects,  design engineers and cladding contractors to achieve an installation which delivers the required thermal, structural, fire and other performance targets in a safe and economic manner.

The manufacturer’s NVELOPE range supports concealed and visible fastened systems to meet most project’s aims while SFS Thermal Solutions ensures that the crucial challenge of closing the ‘Performance Gap’ can be adequately addressed. This requires not only understanding how the system can be correctly and efficiently installed on site; it also demands precise thermal modelling of the subframe to minimise point loss thermal bridging compromising the overall energy performance of the system.

David Fraser the Business Unit Manager for SFS, explained:

“As a key aspect on many building façades across our built environment, rainscreen cladding is a key contributor to a property’s overall energy performance, including for the huge number of older buildings which must be improved if we are to meet our net zero targets. Specifiers and installers need expert guidance if project energy design standards are to be achieved in practice. Our Thermal Solutions service and dedicated project managers can assist from the concept stages through to final delivery. Although the fitting of helping hand brackets represents a point loss thermal bridge within the continuity of the insulation, having accurate thermal modelling of different components and details, including for higher performing stainless-steel brackets and the essential thermal breaks to separate them from the main structure, helps to minimise the potential for problems relating to SAP or possibly during the working life of the building.”


While the SFS bracketry is designed for speed and ease of installation, as well as to accommodate normal variations in the construction tolerances of the masonry or metal framed structure, the systems within the NVELOPE Thermal Solutions range also offer a choice of performance points and the NVS+Thermal system is certified under the Passivhaus component standard.

The NVELOPE VB and HB ranges are produced in aluminium. (NV + Thermal & HB + Thermal are also compatible with SFS Thermal Pad) Then the NVELOPE NVS and NVS+ ranges offer the far lower thermal transmittance characteristics of 316 Stainless Steel, with a non-compressible thermal pad included to achieve the optimum U-values.

For further information, call 0330 0555888

OR CLICK HERE to visit the SFS website




James Hardie created fibre cement and thanks to our extensive research and development we are now on our seventh generation of fibre cement technology.  We are the world’s leading manufacturer of high-performance Fibre Cement products, which are a composite material made of cement, reinforced with cellulose fibres.

We are a trusted innovator and global industry leader, and our products enable endless possibilities for designing exceptional buildings whilst also delivering protection and long-lasting beauty.

We produce a range of fibre cement cladding for residential and commercial projects such as

Hardie® Plank – our traditional lap plank
Hardie® VL Plank – a modern interlocking tongue and groove plank
Hardie® Panel – a large format façade panel
Hardie® Panel
A2 Fire-Rated Performance that’s affordable – with James Hardie, Its’s Possible™ 

If you’re looking for a high performance, A2 fire-rated façade, at an affordable price, Hardie® Panel is the right choice for your next project, whether it’s residential, commercial or recladding.

Why choose Hardie Panel?

A2 fire-rated (A2, s1-d0)
10-year warranty, covering paint, protecting against peeling, cracking and chipping
Available in 5 core colours, or can be colour matched to any RAL colour
The global leading manufacturer of fibre cement
BBA Certified


We understand the challenges faced when trying to find the right product to specify on upcoming projects.  We know that when it comes to cladding, an A2 fire-rating is the top of the priority list, to ensure that products are compliant and will most importantly, be safe for years to come.
With the need to meet updated UK Building Regulations, many high-rise buildings need to replace non-compliant cladding with a non-combustible product; Hardie® Panel is the perfect solution for both multi-family residential and commercial buildings.
Hardie® Panel is a non-combustible (A2, s1-d0) large format fibre cement façade that offers unlimited colour flexibility, at an affordable price.  It is available in 5 standard colours in a smooth texture and can be painted in any RAL colour without compromising fire safety.    It also comes with a 10-year warranty as standard covering paint, and due to our innovative technologies, it won’t peel, crack or chip.
Hardie® Panel can be used as a direct replacement for existing cladding on a range of buildings and can be trusted to protect against fire and extreme weather conditions, providing the strength and durability that your clients deserve.
Our dedicated team of Hardie® panel experts have extensive experience and specialist knowledge to support your project so get in touch to see how we can help you meet your project requirements.

To find out more PLEASE CLICK HERE


fermacell® – Fibre Gypsum Dry Lining Boards

What are fermacell® boards?

fermacell® Fibre Gypsum wall board is the perfect alternative for plasterboard and blockwork, providing low maintenance walls that offer design flexibility for now and in the future. The boards are produced from recycled gypsum, recycled cellulose fibres and recycled water.  They combine fire resistance, impact strength and acoustic insulation all in one, which reduces the need for multiple layers of board including reducing the need for combustible pattressing.

Why use fermacell®?

fermacell® offers the robustness with of blockwork with the speed of install of drywall saving your project time, money & space.

Reduces Carbon
Reduces project time
Reduces layers

It can be installed before the building is watertight which has a positive impact on program time allowing other trades to also start earlier.   Each linear metre has a dead load hanging capability of 150kg and 50kg from a single fixing making it perfect to support cupboards/TVs/pictures.  With 60mins of fire resistance and 54 dB Rw from just one layer either side of insulation & Fermacell metal studs it provides an excellent option to maximise floor space. Lastly, when used with fermacell® Fine Surface Treatment, paint can be applied just 45 minutes after the application.


To find out more, please visit www.fermacell.co.uk

Cladmate Cladding Support Systems are a long term manufacturer of Aluminium & Steel Rainscreen cladding support systems. Family owned since its conception, the family has been involved in the construction industry stretching back 3 generations. Cladmate are part of a larger group of companies called KNT Group, who specialise in a variety of building materials & building chemicals.
Cladmate currently offers a variety of Rainscreen Cladding Support Systems which can be teamed with materials such as Aluminium, Terracotta, Zinc and Brick to name just a few. They also offer systems that compliment your desired design intent including face fixed, structurally bonded and secret fixed.

Brick facades are brought into 21st century with innovative modern lightweight solutions utilising their extensive knowledge of the cladding industry. Cladmate offers two systems; CMS30: Adhesively bonded brick slip system, and CMS40: Mechanically fixed brick slip system – both of which are aimed at the professional cladding market.
The flagship brick product is their CWCT certified CMS40 Mechanically fixed brick slip system, where A1 Fire Rated Aluminium brackets and rails (vertical & horizontal) are fixed to your desired substrate, and grooved brick slip of your choice is slid onto the rails. As brackets and rails are fixed to the substrate mechanically, CMS40 can be used at any height. Pointing is then carried out using the excellent Terrabond T-Point high performance flexible pointing mortar. Though any brick slip can be used with this system, Cladmate also offers a standard range of brick slips, information of which is available upon request.

As mentioned Cladmate are part of a larger form of companies, thus granting access to innovative building products such as the latest in Insulation Technology, Building Chemicals, Bricks and Bricks Slips. There is also a stockist of industry recognised names such as Sika & Ejot, all of which are available to buy on their new online shop (shop.cladmate.co.uk). With the ability to provide their customers with all things Rainscreen, Cladmate is fast becoming the go-to for all your cladding needs.

Cladmate offers full static calculations along with Wind and U-value calculations, all of which are free of charge. Register your project on their website and they will ensure a 5 working day turnaround on calculations to avoid delays in your project. All calculations are backed by a warranty, information of which is available upon request.
Over the coming year, the focus will be to continue developing existing customer relationships and look to increase current manufacturing capacity to meet the pipeline at present. They will also be developing new technologies to ensure that they continue to be at the forefront of the exciting Rainscreen Cladding market.
After working throughout Europe, the Middle East & Africa over the past 20 years, 2 years ago the company decided to enter the UK market. Since then, Cladmate have gone from strength to strength and are fast becoming a major player within the cladding industry. Cladmate have worked on multiple projects around the UK, and have worked hard to gain industry accreditation and all relevant testing. They have deliberately taken their time to become familiar with the UK market in order to understand the needs within the cladding sector. Their aim is to create a company that is sustainable in the years to come – meeting both the needs of their clients, and industry regulations.


Terrawool are one of the main brands of Terra Building Materials and is proud of being a part of the group companies. Having been in the construction industry for three generations, they have an excellent track record.
Terrawool stone wool slabs are premium insulation board composed of mineral wool and made up of thousands of fibres. Terrawool is made from volcanic basalt rock. Simplified recreation starts with reheated and melted volcanic rock within a large furnace of up to 1,500˚C (2,700˚F). The liquid rock is channelled into a chamber where it is spun into fibrous strands. Balance density systems are highly engineered throughout its design, accommodating slight imperfections on substructures, while allowing robust fixing. The breathable open-cell structure of Terrawool stone wool slabs allows water vapour to pass through, while factory-applied water repellent fibres on Rainclad and Dimclad prevent water transmission through the insulation layer.
All Terrawool insulation boards have achieved a Euroclass rating of A1 for non-combustibility. Terrawool insulation goes the extra mile to offer complete assurance against the threat of fire. With its ability to withstand temperatures of up to 1,000˚C (1,800˚F) Terrawool insulation helps to effectively contain and prevent the spread of fire. Likewise, the stonewool will not produce any toxic smoke or emissions.
Terrawool insulation is the superior choice for all construction needs, especially for high-rise structures. It offers high thermal insulation as well as acoustic performance. The open porous structure of Terrawool insulation absorbs and reduces the impact of sound, while providing a high thermal performance.




High Performance non-combustible thermal and acoustic insulation for cladding applications.
Rainclad is non-combustible cladding insulation designed and developed by our highly experienced engineers for best performance for all cladding applications. Rainclad is designed for use of ventilated or non-ventilated cladding systems as well as sealed systems such as curtain walling, external wall insulations at any height. With the factory-applied water repelling agent, Rainclad prevents water ingress during construction.
Rainclad is an A1 rated non-combustible product suitable for use on any type of building including those over 18m – giving a significant acoustic performance to a project. Rainclad insulation boards are made of stone wool fibres with special water repelling agent – this does not effect the breathability of the walls thus limiting condensation. The densitiy of Rainclad is 60kg/m3 and it has a 0,035W/mK thermal conductivity level (available in different thicknesses and densities




High Performance non-combustible thermal and acoustic insulation with black tissue facing for open-joint cladding systems and shadow gaps at any height.
Dimclad cladding insulation has been specifically engineered to promote fire safety and overall high performance. Along with being compatible with a number of different cladding attachment systems, Dimclad provides extra wind protection for optimal efficiency on high-rise buildings.
For open-joint cladding systems, Dimclad is the perfect solution due to its black mineral fibre facing. This feature is engineered to deliver UV stability in the long-term thus increasing its thermal performance.
In the event of being directly exposed to fire, Dimclads non-combustible feature reduces the risk of toxic gas emissions and spreading flames, therefore protecting the building. The factory-applied water repelling agent promotes Dimclad for use in construction during rainy weather, which prevents water ingress and avoids delays. Dimclad’s moisture resistance helps maintain an adequate insulating value for an extended period of time. The densitiy of Dimclad is 60kg/m3 and it has a 0.039W/mK thermal conductivity level (available in different thicknesses and densities).
For more information on Rainclad and Dimclad high-performance external insulation slabs, along with insights to the full range of Terrawool non-combustible solutions for any kind of stone wool insulation, please visit


(MMC) to play key role in helping construction adapt to the NEW NORMAL

#constructionindustry #sustainable #architects #localauthorities #contractors #developers #innovation #buildingtechnology #mmc #cladding #newnormal #offsite #VUCA @Aquarian_Cladd

With the coronavirus pandemic affecting almost every industry, modern methods of construction (MMC) will play a key role in helping construction adapt to the ‘new normal’. Paul Richards, MD of brick cladding systems supplier Aquarian Cladding Systems, has seen the rise of MMC first-hand and explains why it will become even more important as the industry gets to grips with the ‘new normal.’

VUCA times                                                                                                                                                                                                                         (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity)  

Technology and the use of data are hailed as the solution for most industry sectors to become safer, more predictable, and more profitable in increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) times.
It could be argued that the construction industry has always experienced degrees of VUCA, but this time the case for the use of MMC as a solution is more compelling than ever, as it addresses the increasing number of challenges that we face.

Builders have always been under pressure to reduce construction costs and complete buildings on time. They must also consider the use of sustainable and thermally efficient materials. Having greater control over the construction process is vital and the controlled environment of offsite manufacturing or design and assembly of fewer components on site ticks most boxes.

MMC is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution and options vary from full turnkey, volumetric solutions to panellised or factory-assembled components – designed using the very latest visualisation and scheduling software technology. Key to the use of MMC is its ability not to compromise the appearance or performance of a building.

As brick facades seem more popular than ever in British architecture, so brick cladding systems are increasingly being used to give a building its traditional appearance and robust protection, with the advantage of being a modern method of construction.
We are experiencing greater demand than ever for our cladding solutions, as they offer all the benefits of an offsite solution but with the hybrid flexibility to be adapted on site too. Speed of delivery and installation, reduced build programmes and reduced prelim costs, including replacing scaffolding with mechanical access, are all major benefits of MMC.

Our brick cladding systems come in a wide choice of natural colours and finishes. Using brick slips formed from fired clay and pointed with natural mortar, a building will therefore still have a familiar, traditional appearance. Even tired looking buildings can benefit from a new lease of life, with negligible extra load and overall wall thickness.



Brick cladding systems are lightweight and versatile and therefore suitable for application either offsite or onsite. The reduced weight and support requirements mean reduced line loads, framing and foundations, with greater productivity and cost efficiency.
They are also more sustainable and will therefore reduce the environmental impact of conventional brickwork, due to the use of thin brick slips and less mortar. There is less material and embodied energy in production, fewer deliveries to site, reduced movement and storage on site, and less waste disposal.

Despite being classed as a modern method of construction, brick cladding systems are not quite as modern as many might think.
Our Gebrik system is a factory-produced, panelised alternative to conventional brickwork and is supplied in a kit of parts, including all components needed to create a brick façade. It has been produced since 1982 and so used across Europe for almost 40 years. Here in the UK, it has been used on buildings exposed to most extreme UK conditions including height, coastal conditions, and high pedestrian access.

Gebrik is fully tried, tested, and certified, and has been used on many award-winning projects throughout the UK and Europe. It’s BBA certified for application to most common substrates and has been successfully tested to CWCT test methods for weathertightness. It has also been fire tested on a number of occasions with different interfaces to BS8414 and on each occasion successfully met the BR135 ‘Pass’ criteria.

An ability to adapt
With Building Regulations changing across the UK, the only route to compliance for residential buildings above 18m is for the use of non-combustible, or limited combustible, i.e. A1 or A2, materials.

Our Mechslip and NaturAL-X brick cladding systems use brick ‘tiles’ with unique profiles to enable them to each be mechanically secured onto metal cladding support rails and subsequently pointed. Both systems have been tested to CWCT test methods for weathertightness and under EN13501, are classified as A1 so are suitable for use on buildings in excess of 18m (as well as those below).
For those wanting to minimise the risks associated with traditional construction, modern methods of construction such as brick cladding systems simply can’t be ignored.

Gebrik, Mechslip, NaturAL-X or Terreal have been used on many award-winning buildings across a wide range of sectors. Working with architects, contractors, developers and installation specialists, Aquarian’s team of cladding experts will provide the right solution, whatever the project.


As the saying goes ‘what a difference a year makes’, and nowhere could that be more relevant than here at Frameclad. It’s been a very busy year since Offsite 2018 with new machinery, new premises and staff all arriving to make Frameclad a leading supply partner in the off-site industry.


Frameclad design, manufacture and supply steel frame components, frames and structures for the construction industry. Operating from one end of the market where clients require stock lengths and components right the way up to the multi storey, pre-designed, fully engineered and assembled panel market. Pre-fabricated panels can also be pre-boarded with an external sheathing board etc. prior to despatch to site.

Sections are rolled from galvanised coil into the required profiles that are then either delivered to site in their plain component state or during the rolling process undergo further engineering processes with dimples, fixing holes, service holes etc incorporated to form framed panel systems. All of these options can be viewed at our website – www.frameclad.com .


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From humble beginnings, successfully trading materials as a specialised merchant, Mark Munns (founder) has grown the business through various phases of development always adding to the management team strategically to ensure Frameclad is well placed to continue to provide excellent products and services through a time of growth. After initial forays into the world of production involved manufacturing component materials, the company soon moved into making complex flat pack frame products. Evolving to a point now where state of the art equipment, new production premises and a highly trained and motivated staff produce fully formed, assembled and boarded panels and in some cases insulated products are incorporated. These products and systems are offering a real alternative to traditional methods of construction and provide amazing benefits in cost, time and accuracy. Frameclad have emerged as a leader in quality and service to the construction industry. Honest and secure advice provided from a platform of experience backed by a collaborative approach at all stages of the design, manufacture and installation process make Frameclad the obvious choice as a partner.

Frameclad clients enjoy a unique experience of being engaged at all points through the process from ideas and design through to sign off of design, manufacture and delivery.

Following on from the sustained growth in 2018/19, which saw an additional 24k square foot factory and 2 new state of the art roll-forming machines arriving, 2019/2020 is continuing the trend with further machinery arriving and a further 22k square foot of space acquired which will be on line by the end of November 2019.

Moving forward, Frameclad will continue to invest and strive to be the best option for quality, professional services and products within the steel frame market. Always looking for betterment and differentiation Frameclad are always looking for partners who share common goals and aspirations.

If you have a project that you feel may benefit from the involvement of the Frameclad team please visit them at the show or alternatively they would be delighted to hear from you either by email or telephone – enquiries@frameclad.com

01384 401114.


Architectural facade specialists Metalline have introduced a new non-combustible A1 rated spandrel panel that has been designed to fit into most curtain walling, structural glazing and unitised systems. This new panel allows architects and designers to specify with confidence a tested panel.

Constructed from an A1 non-combustible material Metalline’s new Spandrel panels have been independently tested at Efectis achieving a 60/60 rating to ensure they meet the very latest fire and safety regulations.


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Metalline’s range of aluminium spandrel panels also known as Ultima spandrel panels are produced in a wide variety of colours and finishes. These include a full range of anodised colours as well as specialist ppc finishes that mimic portland stone and corten for example. We also offer a full range of PPC finishes. The range of finishes means these panels can be introduced without comprising the overall aesthetics of the building façade.

These highly versatile panels can be adapted for a wide range of buildings, they are produced from environmentally friendly and sustainable materials and can help a building conform to the highest level of BREEAM certification.

Acoustic and thermal performance can all be enhanced using a variety of cores tested at both Sound and UKAS approved laboratories.




The Village Green Medical Centre in Great Denham was built in 1994 using a modular building system for the speed of construction benefits. Planning authorities agreed to the project on the condition that the building would eventually be over clad with a finish that would blend in with the surrounding residential area.

Today the building stands proud with a mixed real brick and timber effect finish. Eurobrick’s P-Clad system was used for the ground floor by Industrial Contracting Services (ICS), who installed circa 315m² of the system with Rustic Inferno Multi brick slips and corners and a Smooth Brown brick slip plinth detail.

The surgery had to remain open during the project and the contract was completed in 6 weeks using an innovative mixture of access solutions as well as out of hours working to minimise disruption to patients.

Paul Fereday of ICS commented,

“The overall finish has given this modular building a new lease of life with an appearance that blends in well with the surrounding new residential development. Towards the end of the project many of the people visiting the medical centre commented on how much the appearance had improved.”

For more information on Eurobrick please visit www.eurobrick.co.uk.


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The new European IT headquarters for global electrical wholesaler City Electrical Factors (CEF) is described as a visual celebration of the company’s ethos and rich industrial heritage, thanks in part to an electrifying aluminium façade featuring Proteus HR rainscreen cladding.

CEF’s existing offices had reached full capacity and so a second site was developed opposite the company’s main building in 10 acres of natural landscape in Meadowfield, Durham. The brief set for the design of the award winning building, known as Janet Nash House, was to create a contemporary workplace solution which embodies and reflects CEF’s drive and commitment for innovation.

Architects FaulknerBrowns designed the £10m Data, IT and Marketing headquarters, using a variety of materials such as copper, aluminium and ceramic, which represent the components found within an electrical cable, CEF’s staple product.

Winner of the North East RIBA Regional Award 2019 and two British Council for Offices’ (BCO) regional awards, the contemporary workplace is split into two areas each with unique spatial qualities to support the requirements of the different departments across the company.

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The southern ‘L’ shaped block, which houses the ‘graphics and marketing’ teams, features a striking façade executed in Proteus HR Euromax AluNatur Elox Anodised Brushed pre-coated aluminium, for which FaulknerBrowns took inspiration from the foil shield of a coaxial cable.

Proteus HR is a lightweight, strong and versatile cladding panel that provides aesthetic screening to building facades. The integrated modular rainscreen system features an aluminium honeycomb core, structurally bonded between two thin gauges of lightweight metal skin to create an optically flat panel that is available in aluminium, steel, zinc, stainless steel, copper alloys and other materials.

The Proteus HR honeycomb sandwich panel was fabricated for Janet Nash House using Euromax AluNatur outer skins with an Elox Anodised Brushed pre-coated finish to recreate the coaxial pattern. The designers specified Proteus HR Euromax AluNatur because it offered a value engineered method of recreating the granular appearance of stainless steel but still within the client’s budget expectations.

Euromax AluNatur material consist of semi-transparent clear-coats applied on brushed or transparent lacquering aluminium surface, highlighting the natural character of aluminium substrate material. Pre-coat finishes minimise shade variation between panels and Proteus worked with the project specifiers and installers to ensure consistency of grain direction of the panels at Janet Nash House to guarantee high aesthetic detailing.

The panels were fitted by Installer, Topside, in between vertical and horizontal aluminium anodised fins to create a sheer façade, whilst giving a nod to the company’s core product range with the ‘coaxial’ pattern. The cladding panels were fixed between the fins with bespoke brackets utilising the curtain wall mullions as the primary structural point.

In contrast to the aluminium finish of the southern building, the northern block features large format porcelain panels, which are fitted throughout as a reference to the traditional use of ceramics as an electrical insulation material. The building includes cellular spaces, specialist workplaces and breakout areas.

The southern wing featuring Proteus HR Euromax AluNatur structures and the northern block are connected by a two storey, glazed atrium with interactive breakout spaces and enhanced amenities for all employees, including a café, tea points and games area.

Judges at the North East RIBA Regional Award 2019 summed up the development, constructed by Sir Robert McAlpine, when they said: “The building has a strong sense of identity and purpose.”


To find out more about Proteus Façade’s wide range of pre-coated aluminium façade materials or for more inspirational projects, visit: www.proteusfacades.com

The benefits of modular construction have been widely discussed with advocates including the government now recognising its potential to address the UK’s challenges in terms of both housing capacity and skills shortages. However, the growth and benefits of modular off-site construction are equally at home in student housing and commercial developments such as hotels and high-rise buildings.

The opportunities and benefits delivered by modular construction projects may range from significant reductions in programme length, waste and cost, whilst another major factor is the ability to achieve higher levels of quality control in the process.

From design through to construction and completion what is absolutely essential is that the selection of materials and products used within off-site projects is not compromised, ensuring performance is assured during the build process and throughout the lifetime of the building.

Helping to achieve this are some of the most technically advanced construction membranes available. The A. Proctor Group Ltd has been developing vapour permeable membranes and vapour control layers for over 25 years, and provides an extensive range of superior high-performance products suitable for modular and off-site construction.

The move to tighten building regulations

With the increased spotlight and focus on building regulations and the suitability of materials specified for use within external cladding, the correct selection and application of materials are at their most critical.

Following the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety and subsequent Interim Report by Dame Judith Hackitt, the Government has introduced an amendment to the Approved Document B: Fire safety, which has a significant impact on the design and construction of buildings above 18 metres. Published in November 2018, the new regulations came into force on 21 December 2018. Guidance on how external walls can meet the Building Regulations requirement for resisting fire spread is set out in Approved Document B.

Changes to materials and workmanship

Regulation 7 of the Building Regulations relates to materials and workmanship and reads as follows:

  1. (1) Building work shall be carried out-

(a) with adequate and proper materials which-

(i) are appropriate for the circumstances in which they are used,

(ii) are adequately mixed or prepared, and

(iii) are applied, used or fixed so as adequately to perform the functions for which they are

designed; and

(b) in a workmanlike manner.

(2) Subject to paragraph (3), building work shall be carried out so that materials which become part of an external wall, or specified attachment, of a relevant building, are of European Classification A2-s1, d0 or Class A1, classified in accordance with BS EN 13501-1:2007+A1:2009 entitled “Fire classification of construction products and building elements. Classification using test data from reaction to fire tests” (ISBN 978 0 580 59861 6) published by the British Standards Institution on 30th March 2007 and amended in November 2009.

Changes on the use of membranes within external wall construction

It is important to note that with specific reference to membranes the Regulation provides a critical exemption and further clarification is found within Regulation 7, as stated below:

12.14 Particular attention is drawn to the following points.

  1. Membranes used as part of the external wall construction should achieve a minimum classification of European Class B-s3, d0.

In summary, the amendment stipulates significant changes to which membranes can now be used and limits these to a rating of Class B,s3,d0.

It is crucial that all those involved in the construction of highrise modular construction fully understand the implications of this amendment in the wider context of building safety and protection. Critically designers should note that some European membrane products whilst quoting A2 ratings do not breathe sufficiently to comply with BS5250, meaning the use of these membranes in the UK climate could make the building unhealthy and result in a much greater risk of condensation issues and mould growth.

The complexity of manufacturing a non-combustible membrane which is still breathable to BS5250 standard is extremely difficult to achieve. In selecting a membrane it is important that performance is not compromised and that compliance meets the requirements of both Approved Document B: Fire Safety and BS5250 the Code of Practice for Condensation Control.

High-performance membranes – air tightness: Wraptite

An example of a high-performance membrane in practice is the Wraptite air barrier system. Wraptite offers a safer and simplified membrane system, conforms with the required Class B rating, and it provides a fully self-adhered vapour permeable air barrier certified by the BBA and combines the important properties of vapour permeability and airtightness in one self-adhering membrane. The membrane bonds back to the substrate, ensuring a simplified design to airtightness and simple installation method.

System benefits

  • Complies with use on buildings of high rise and over 18m under Part B amendments made in November 2018, Membranes need to be Class B,s3,d0 or better, with Wraptite classified as Class B,s1,d0 when used over a Class A1 or A2 substrate.
  • Included within BS8414 testing with cladding manufacturers.
  • EPDM not needed to the frame of the building as the self-adhesive membrane continues across the whole envelope of the building against the sheathing board and the frame of the building.
  • Less EPDM around window details due to the membrane lapping into the building at junctions.
  • Corner detailing for opening and movement joint interfaces are easily treated.
  • Improved airtightness and may negate the use of a VCL totally from the design internally, meaning easier a quicker install of dry lining package.
  • Hygrothermal Modelling will identify whether the construction requires a VCL or not. In some instances, the use of this self-adhesive without a VCL may be the most efficient option.
  • Improving airtightness may allow you to change thickness or type of insulation used when modelled through SAP or SBEM.
  • No need to tape sheathing boards as the membrane is positioned across the whole board.
  • By using this membrane on the external may show improvement on making the building watertight, allowing the cladding package to come off the critical path and internal works to start earlier, and also internal works may not be installing a VCL so the site program is potentially quicker.

High-performance membranes – fire protection: Fireshield

The culmination of years of research into membranes has led to the development of a vapour permeable membrane with a fireproof surface, which has a unique intumescent composition that actively reacts to prevent fire taking hold and that also significantly reduces the formation of droplets and smoke.

Crucially the new membrane fully complies with BS5250, BS4016 and NHBC requirements for vapour permeable walling underlays. Having succeeded in overcoming the complexity of creating a non-combustible, yet vapour permeable membrane, Fireshield has also been able to meet long term 5000hr UV ageing. This allows the membrane to be used in open jointed rainscreen and cladding applications.

The installation procedure is the same as for standard breather membranes, with the membrane fixed to the substrate using mechanical fixings. Applications include both commercial and residential buildings including apartments and student accommodation, as well as Rainscreen cladding and applications over 18m high.

System benefits

  • Fireproof surface – unique intumescent composition actively reacts to prevent fire taking hold
  • Vapour permeable walling underlay for use either directly onto sheathing or insulation
  • Class B, s1-d0 but performs differently to other similar class products
  • Complies with BS5250, BS4016 & NHBC requirements for vapour permeable walling underlays
  • Ideal for use in rainscreen/façade construction
  • Suitable for applications over 18m high
  • Long term UV exposure suitable for open joint facades
  • Airtight

Spacetherm A2

Spacetherm A2 is a flexible, high-performance, silica aerogel-based insulation material of limited combustibility suitable for use in exterior and interior applications. Supplied in a variety of finishes, the substantial layers of Spacetherm A2 meet the requirements for A2 classification (insulation, MgO and plasterboard).

The product optimises both the thermal performance and fire properties of façade systems, enhancing the thermal performance of the ventilated façade and addressing thermal bridging in the façade. It is also useful in minimising thermal bridges around windows in areas such as window reveals.

With a thermal conductivity of 0.019 W/mK, Spacetherm A2’s performance credentials qualify it as one of the best Class A2 insulations materials available worldwide. Engineered for space-critical applications, the product offers low thermal conductivity, superior compression strength, plus breathability allied to hydrophobic characteristics.

System benefits

  • Class leading fire performance from an Aerogel insulation
  • Superior thermal performance
  • Limited combustibility
  • Water vapour diffusion open
  • Permeable
  • Flexible
  • Thinnest Aerogel insulation available