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Changing Trends in the Indian Exterior Cladding Industry
Ashwani Khanna, FunderMax India Pvt. Ltd
Man has moved from wheel to chip. This dramatic journey from wheel to chip is symbolic of mankind’s continuous obsession for excellence. Similarly, the cladding industry is also moving to new and innovative products. Some of the changing trends that define the current industry are as mentioned below.
Exterior cladding is a blend of aesthetic and functional attributes. For more than a decade, glass, stone, wood, and metal/ACP has always been the traditional choice of material for exterior cladding. Nowadays, new and innovative materials such as exterior grade laminates, (as per EN438-6), glass fiber reinforced concrete, metal cladding (zinc, copper, and steel) are creating a healthy disruption in the market. The differentiating advantages of exterior grade laminates are Eco-friendliness, thermal efficiency, energy renew-ability and sustainability.
As per the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), commercial buildings consume more energy than highways and roads, and hence there is an increasing need for sustainable and energy-efficient buildings due to the energy crisis in most of cities. This necessitates the usage of energy-efficient cladding systems on buildings. Recent trends show an array of structural practices using lightweight building materials. While there are multiple choices, the benefits of installation will vary depending on the customer’s need. Most offices today seek certified products and prefer green-rated buildings with innovative designs. They are willing to explore and experiment to learn about newer cladding systems and this will significantly increase the market demand for efficient cladding materials.
Furthermore, tropical weather can be extremely uncomfortable and therefore it is important to use the right cladding system for optimizing temperature levels inside a building. This can be achieved by using facade systems made of cladding materials with low U values. They help in reducing the ingress of thermal energy inside a building, thus keeping the heat at bay. During monsoons, the rear ventilated facade system ensures that the rainwater never reaches the wall and is drained away.
Rear ventilated facade systems are installed on substructures. This leaves space between the wall and panel which in turn improves heat and noise reduction while also imparting better weather protection. This cladding system improves the thermal efficiency of the building and reduces thermal bridges to avoid condensation of water vapour, thus improving the thermal comfort of the occupants in the building. It is noteworthy that such systems can help reduce the power consumption of AC and can make buildings sustainable.
Safety & Maintenance
We live in an era where pollution is omnipresent and our buildings are constantly exposed to hazardous pollutants. As a result, the buildings need regular maintenance, which includes cleaning of all the facade elements that do not fare well in such a harsh city environment. This aggravates the issue and adds to the running cost of the facility. Exterior grade panels need minimal maintenance even in highly polluted areas. The open system without any sealants leaves no trace of sealant trail marks as well. Tall buildings are constantly exposed to climatic extremes. Cladding in such buildings involves detailed structural calculations revolving around the wind load requirement. The right fitment can help withstand the spate of floods and cyclones. Ignorance or wrong calculations may lead to weak installations, thereby running a risk of damage and injury. The ideal cladding system in tall buildings must be able to accommodate building movements and they should have a hard surface for high impact resistance. Additionally, they should also have anti-graffiti properties as the smog & silica particles in the air may cause visual defects.
The major cautionary point – if the right technical approach is not used, the chances of problems like undulation, system failure or accessory failure increase. Exterior grade panels are a minimum maintenance cladding material and hence require less water for cleaning. This helps in reducing the strain on water bodies around us
In continuation of this, currently, there are other offerings in the market which are functional facades like rear ventilated max exterior facades.
e system and sun shading max lato louver system. These are energy efficient and aimed at improving the overall functionality of the building, without compromising on the occupant comfort.
They can also be customized for each building for different wind loads, dead loads, thermal loads and other requirements to protect the building from weather harshness, thus proving a high degree of design freedom for people who create.
The cladding industry has advanced to a substantial extent. There are different types of innovative materials available in the market now. A lot of emphasis is on the aspect of sustainable cladding systems and how they can support green buildings. Adherence to the IGBC is a major shift towards a better environment. The market is also highly sensitive to the safety and maintenance of modern cladding systems and materials used. Safer and risk-free systems are preferred over ordinary offerings. Materials used in cladding systems should also be maintenance-free in the long run. Innovation is another aspect that drives the current cladding market. Architects today seek engineering-driven cladding systems that offer superior functionality without compromising on the aesthetic elements. Exterior cladding should give your building character.
Ashwani Khanna, FunderMax India Pvt. Ltd
AVP - Marketing
Born and brought up in ‘city beautiful’ (Chandigarh) well known for its architecture and design by famous French architect ‘Le Corbusier’, Ashwani Khanna is a graduate in Computer Application and Masters in Business administration. Having over 16 years of experience handling multifarious responsibilities with some big names in the construction material industry such as Saint Gobain and Armstrong, Ashwani is now heading the marketing division at Fundermax. He has gained success in managing the key accounts, handling the channel sales, developing emerging markets and driving the academy for Fundermax. He is the winner of the prestigious ‘Fundermax person of the year award’ in 2017. Khanna’s success mantra is ‘Sharpen the saw’ and he constantly sharpens his leadership acumen with pieces of training at the best of institutes like Harvard, IIMA, ISB to name a few.