Cladding Facades

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Claddding facades, Logistics Management, Site Installation Management

A facade (/fəˈsɑːd/) is generally one exterior side of a building, usually, but not always, the front. It is a foreign loan word from the French façade, which means “frontage” or “face“.

In architecture, the facade of a building is often the most important aspect from a design standpoint, as it sets the tone for the rest of the building. From the engineering perspective of a building, the facade is also of great importance due to its impact on energy efficiency.[1] For historical facades, many local zoning regulations or other laws greatly restrict or even forbid their alteration.

Cladding is the visible external finish of a building, such as the roof or external walls.

Cladding is often pre-fabricated in panels that are attached to the structural frame of the building, and cladding systems can be purchased ‘off the shelf’. Some definitions suggest that cladding is a non-structural external finish, as opposed to a load-bearing external construction. However, cladding can play a structural role transferring wind loads, impact loads and self-weight back to the structural framework. In particular, wind causes positive and negative pressure on the surface of buildings and so cladding must be designed to have adequate strength and stiffness to resist this load, both in terms of the type of cladding selected and its connections back to the structure.

Cladding is needed to:

  • Create a controlled internal environment.
  • Protect the building from external conditions.
  • Provide privacy.
  • Prevent the transmission of sound.
  • Provide thermal insulation.
  • Create an external facade.
  • Prevent the spread of fire.
  • Generate an ‘airtight’ building envelope.
  • Providing openings for access, daylight and ventilation.

Cladding systems may include components, such as windows, doors, gutters, roof lights, vents and so on.

The nature of cladding selected for a particular building will depend on how the building is going to be used, internal and external conditions, aesthetic requirements and so on. The use of a high-quality, well designed building cladding can maximise thermal performance, minimise air leakage, and optimise natural daylighting. This can help reduce the need for mechanical and electrical building services, and so improve energy efficiency and lower capital and running costs.

The appearance of a building is also an important factor when selecting and designing building cladding and is an important aspect of the design considered by local planning authorities.

When selecting a suitable cladding, designers might consider issues such as:

Poor design detailing or installation may compromise cladding performance and can even lead to cladding collapsing or cladding panels being pulled away from the structure.