How Cladding Protects Buildings from Fires

Dozens of different regulations and considerations make building construction more challenging and complex. It’s especially the case with protecting the building from fires. Just one incident can result to loss of lives and millions of dollars worth of damages.

One way to significantly reduce risk of fire (or prevent further spread of it) is by installing appropriate cladding. This acts as a skin or the additional exterior layer of a building. Aside from reducing the spread of fire and resisting combustion, the right cladding can also be used to stop rain and wind from entering the building. As the “skin” of the building, the cladding can also add design and aesthetic value to the structure.

Fire-retardant aluminium composite cladding

One of the most common materials used for cladding is aluminium (the 2 panels) with a core material sandwiched inside. The resulting panels could be manufactured according to specifications and desired properties. There could be aluminium composite panels with varying weight, thickness, core material and fire retardancy.

For instance, a higher proportion of mineral core in relation to the thickness of panels might better withstand fire. The type of core material is also considered because some materials (e.g. plastic foam) are more combustible and may even accelerate the spread of fire.

The overall cladding panels should withstand the fire and resist combustion as much as possible. Often, stricter standards are implemented because the wind hitting the highrise buildings will fan the flame. Also, some areas such as restaurants, laboratories and manufacturing sites may require additional considerations to further protect the building and occupants from the spread of fire.

That’s why project managers and engineers also pay special attention to the sourcing of cladding material. The materials should meet specifications and standards for better safety and compliance. To accomplish this, engineers (who are focused on cladding installation) may perform factory inspections during the manufacturing of cladding panels. These engineers might also become present during all the steps of the supply chain (up to receiving of the panels in the job site).

How cladding protects buildings from fires

The exact specifications and quality of cladding has a huge effect on the external building’s ability to resist combustion. Moreover, how it’s installed (including designing the cavity between the cladding and exterior building wall) should be closely supervised by experts to ensure compliance and integrity.

Here at CGS Facade Group, we understand the importance of product sourcing in the overall procurement process. That’s why we have dedicated professionals who closely supervise the product sourcing stage (including factory inspections and detecting non-compliances from suppliers). Contact us today if you want to learn more on how we accomplish this.