Specifier Review
NVELOPE educates architects on cladding support

NVELOPE educates architects on cladding support

Mike Smith, Sales and Marketing Director at the top name in rainscreen cladding support systems, NVELOPE, explains how cladding provides the perfect solution for architects looking to design educational buildings.

Soon after coming into power, the Coalition government abandoned Labour’s Building Schools for the Future (BSF) project.  Now, in an attempt to standardise design and cut school building costs by 30% and save up to £6m per school, the Government has banned curved buildings in the education environment. 

Design templates which place restrictions on room sizes, storey heights and building shapes have been unveiled for 261 secondary and primary school buildings across the country.  This development prohibits glazed walls, curves, translucent plastic roofs, indents, dog legs, notches, roof terraces that can be used as play areas and other features that are deemed to be extravagant.

These templates require that new buildings should have square corners, be clad in nothing more expensive than render or metal panels above head height and that the ceilings should be left bare.  The age of austerity has truly arrived in school building design.  

Within these limitations, architects are more reliant than ever on the cladding to create an imaginative and inspirational school environment.  Cladding can, indeed, help create a fantastic external appearance.

However, using cladding imaginatively places demands on the cladding fixing or support system which must be specified correctly to ensure that panels are held in place, provide the desired appearance and meet the relevant thermal bridging requirements set out in the Building Regulations. 


With this in mind, architects are advised to work with an accredited manufacturer who can offer a wide range of off the shelf products to provide the desired end result. Service support is also significant to save time and ensure accuracy in product specification.   

Every façade is different, and with so many cladding options available, architects require a level of support which will save them time when designing and pricing the cladding.  Local wind loads, façade height, the fixing substrate, and the cladding zone also need to be considered. To help simplify and speed up the design, pricing and product selection process, it is important to take advantage of the design service provided by the fixing supplier.

NVELOPE provide an online Project Checklist service. Typically, this kind of service demands a simple two step, data entry process. This requires the inputting of project information on façade type, façade weight, average panel size, building height and storey height, substrate type, fixing method and cladding zone together with elevation and plan AutoCAD drawings. In reply, the architect will receive a quick, precise and reliable response detailing the static calculations and setting out information for the support system, thermal calculations and indicative m2 price.

A final pointer on support systems is to look for an independent verification of quality. The reliability of the cladding installation, and your reputation, is hugely reliant on the quality of the fixings that are used. Every manufacturer will claim high quality but make sure you work with those support systems that are British Board of Agrément certified.

Using BBA approved support systems will ensure you can install with confidence. It will demonstrate that the cladding support system has met rigorous testing and evaluation criteria and will provide a high quality fixing solution – and one that you don’t just have to take the manufacturer’s word for.

UK manufacturer, NVELOPE Rainscreen Systems Ltd is the market leading company in rainscreen cladding support systems serving architects and contractors.

For further information on NVELOPE Rainscreen Systems, visit www.nvelope.com or call the company direct on +44 (0)1707 333 396.