Blog: Balancing a sensible specification

High on today’s construction agenda is the need to lower environmental impact – combined with the challenge of delivering the desired aesthetic that is also cost effective, robust and easy to maintain. Here, Richard Price of Catnic, explains how pre-coated, steel standing seam roofing and cladding systems can have a positive impact on both commercial and residential projects.

 The ideal roofing and cladding system is one that can balance sustainability and performance alongside a simple installation process with minimal maintenance required – all whilst meeting the architect’s original design intent for the project.

Although traditional roofing materials such as slate, clay and timber remain popular, zinc and aluminium standing seam systems have established themselves as go-to products for many specifiers in recent years.

Whilst zinc and aluminium may initially be specified for projects, it is worthwhile considering alternatives, particularly during the early design stages. Today’s pre-coated metal standing seam systems are emerging as a viable alternative, providing a wide range of benefits to both commercial and residential projects – making them an extremely advantageous choice over traditional materials.

 Green standards

For a sustainable approach to roofing and cladding specification, architects should consider the full life cycle impact – including the lifetime of the materials. Pre-coated standing seam systems can help to maximise the potential BREEAM credits available under the Responsible Sourcing of Materials criterion, whilst a Green Guide recognised system ensures that the environmental credentials of the product are met.

Architects wishing to specify systems with the highest environmental and sustainable standards should check for compliance with ISO 14001, BES 6001 certification as well as BBA certification.

To enhance a project’s eco credentials, pre-coated standing seam systems can also be combined with renewable technologies to further enhance the sustainability of a building. For example, when a standing steam roof is integrated with solar panels, a well designed roof not only conserves energy within the fabric of the building efficiently but also contributes to the production of energy – reducing its environmental impact. For some projects, green credentials play an essential part in achieving planning permission, particularly in the commercial sector.

With sustainability in mind, it is important to consider the material’s ability to withstand the changeable British weather, preferably with minimal maintenance required. Some systems on the market are guaranteed for up to 40 years, whilst meeting all current legislation for wind loadings, weather tightness and fire performance. In addition, some pre-coated standing seam systems are 100% recyclable – further reducing their carbon footprint.

Performance, installation & cost benefits

For specifiers, it is crucial to consider the weight implications of any roofing system, not only in relation to the ease of onsite installation but also with regards to retrofit projects where the new system is often installed over an existing roof.

With the ability to be up to seven times lighter than more traditional materials, selecting a lightweight standing seam roofing and cladding system can aid faster installation without compromising on safety.

Some pre-coated metal standing seam systems, such as Catnic’s SSR2, also arrive onsite prepared with pre-punched fixing holes and a range of standard trims allowing for a fast and effective installation – reducing both time on site and associated labour costs.

Finally, the aim for all construction projects whether commercial or residential, is to deliver a successful and profitable project. As such, it is worth noting that pre-coated steel roofing and cladding systems can offer material cost savings of up to 40% when compared to their zinc and aluminium counterparts whilst ensuring the same aesthetics desired by architects and designers.

Pre-coated

 Standing seam systems that incorporate multi-layered coatings provide exceptional performance – providing protection against corrosion and ensuring the longevity of any roofing or cladding system. These systems comprise of a number of paint layers and treatments that are applied to the steel in an automated and carefully controlled process. The synergistic effect of these layers ensures that the material is robust, versatile and aesthetically pleasing – minimising the need for costly maintenance cycles.

A sensible specification

 Achieving a balance between ensuring the project has a strong environmental focus, as well as other elements such as performance, durability, cost effectiveness and overall aesthetic can prove to be a challenge for architects. Although there will be times where traditional standing seam systems are the preferred option, it is important to consider the benefits modern alternatives can provide to both residential and commercial projects.

Richard Price is Technical Director at Catnic