By: Bradley Young, InOpera Façade
In a conversation with Bradley Young Technical Sales Manager, InOpera Façade, he talked about Cladmate’s journey, their products, the challenges in the industry, future facades, etc. Here are the excerpts…
Please brief us on the history and objective behind the formation of your company.
Our company was created to provide the UK market with affordable, safe, and creative façade support systems and components. We offer customers and stakeholders best practice advice that meets their specifications and demands.
Please highlight briefly your products.
The business offers a wide range of cladding support and component systems for all structural applications – high to low-rise buildings, and internal to external walls.
Our products include but are not limited to:
We are able to offer a comprehensive through-wall build-up of materials including U-values with supporting material rates. This offers designers and contractors the ability to evaluate material choices prior to installation as well as more accurate system-based costing, versus traditional individual elements. We are able to offer in-house fabrication and design services to suit each project.
Could you please tell us about a few of the projects in which your products have been used?
I am proud to say that we have been integral in some of the most beautiful projects in London and its surroundings. These projects can be seen in the mentioned images.
What are the advantages you have over your competitors?
The company has developed a comprehensive end-to-end value chain for manufacturing, fabricating, and designing of façade systems in close collaboration with all project stakeholders. We ensure that our warehouse is always fully stocked for self-delivery and collection for the entire UK market. Our aim is to create beautiful, compliant façades via our own network of direct manufacturers or partnerships with leading manufacturers across the globe.
What do you see as the main challenges faced by your industry?
This has become a very complex situation in the UK, especially after the Grenfell fire disaster in 2017 which took the lives of 72 people. The government has implemented certain fire legislation since the disaster and budgets have been allocated.
• Who pays for the removal of existing hazardous cladding materials? This is an ongoing saga between the government, property owners, and leaseholders. From Tuesday 28 June 2022, the leaseholder protections in the Building Safety Act 2022 come into force. Qualifying leaseholders will pay nothing to remove dangerous cladding, and the amount they can be asked to contribute to fixing other historical building safety defects is firmly capped
• Brixit has a major impact on the UK, especially the building industry which continues to have a major shortage of skilled labour, as a result, labour costs have risen dramatically.
• Covid-19 and a looming recession have seen an increased number of contractor-based companies closing leaving less human capital to carry out projects.
Could you please tell us about your manufacturing facility and capacity?
Our warehouse carries a great deal of stock, which allows quick off-the-shelf collection or delivery. I work with the best fabricators in the UK who are geared up to handle major workloads with high precision. The business has the capacity to handle multi-million GBP projects across the UK.
What are your views on the future façade and fenestration technologies as well as materials?
Despite the above-mentioned issues, the future is bright. There is a massive demand, and shortage of housing and the UK is on a major net zero and sustainability drive which has changed the mindset of major developers. EG: Developers who build by traditional means are currently running costing models, time scale models, U-value, thermal models, and alternative product/build models. This will move a great percentage of developers away from traditional builds to a more cost-effective, sustainable, and faster build model. There will always be a need for fenestration technologies as architects push the boundaries and developers aspire to create new unique buildings.
What is the role of cladding in constructing sustainable buildings?
I would say that cladding has a major role when it comes to sustainable buildings. Ventilated and non-ventilated (Wall clad) allow better U-Values and better loads while insulation and other associated products help reduce energy costs by keeping the building warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Mineral wool insulation is a fireproof material that allows fire cut-off points in the building.
How do you see glass as a preferred cladding material?
Glass is an amazing material for cladding both from a sustainability and aesthetic perspective. I work with a glass company that processes the most incredible glass for cladding. Colouring the glass during the toughening process ensures that the colour is baked all the way through the glass. This ensures that the glass colour is always bright and radiant. Glass is certainly suitable for residential, commercial, and large-scale projects.
What does sustainability mean to your business? How sustainable are your products?
Sustainability is massively important to the company. As we all know there are certain materials that have a “Dirty manufacturing process” but we do our absolute best to ensure that our supply chain works within tight margins. Accurate design, planning and project management contribute massively to reducing wastage.
What are your goals and plans for the next 4-5 years?
I think it is important that we keep adding value to the industry, looking after the needs of our customers, and sticking to our plan of steady growth in the coming years. Investing in the business, our factory, and our staff are also key. Our business is very big on utilizing technology which creates measurable efficiency.