STENI UK CPD on composite rainscreen cladding

Guidance on the “Design opportunities in composite rainscreen technology” is now available to specifiers and construction industry professionals in a RIBA-approved CPD from global cladding manufacturer Steni UK.

The hour-long presentation defines composite materials, specifically fibre reinforced polymers (FRP), and talks specifiers through the environmental issues, fixing options, material properties, manufacturing process, and textures, colours and shapes, giving more than a dozen stunning reference projects.

Steni’s CPD reveals how composites were developed to be lightweight but strong and corrosion-resistant materials through their use in high-performance markets such as aerospace, marine and automotive.

And in this era of environmental awareness, it explains how products made from FRP materials offer significant environmental benefits because they address many problems concerning emission of volatile organic compounds, energy consumption and toxicity from manufacture.

An overview is given of an ecological study by the Department of Civil Engineering at Tampere University of Technology that compared Steni Nature panels with fibre cement, brick, concrete, plaster, steel and aluminium facades in the areas of energy content, critical air volume and potential for global warming, acidification, nutrification and photochemical ozone creation.

Steni brings its expertise as a member of the Network Group for Composites in Construction and the Modular and Portable Building Association to focus on how composites are playing an increasingly important role in construction – in architecture, housebuilding, modular and system build.

The CPD explains how lightweight composite components benefit Modern Methods of Construction because they aid offsite fabrication which in turn helps to ease skills shortages, ensures better quality control, improves site safety, and increases productivity and flexibility.

It also explains how improvements in resin and manufacturing technology over the past 10 years will lead to improved durability of FRP components and should enable design lives of 60 to 100 years to be achieved.

Benefits to specifiers are highlighted as flexibility in design and composites’ high strength to weight ratio. Benefits to installers include ease of fixing and reduce labour costs, and to clients, fast, simple and low-cost installation and low on-going maintenance.

Advice on fixing composites as rainscreen systems includes an overview of the Code of practice for the design of non load -bearing external vertical enclosures of buildings and the challenges currently being thrown up by the construction industry, such as insufficient skilled labour, problems with traditional materials and the requirement for cleaner, faster, more flexible construction processes and technologies as identified in the Egan Report.

The CPD explains how the manufacturing process for Steni Colour and Steni Nature panels ensures the end product is resistant to water, weather, impact, chemicals and UV rays while also listing the recycling options.