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Tower blocks in Motherwell, North Lanarksire, get a face lift with aggregate rainscreen cladding panels

To clad or to render? Ian Anderson tells us why housebuilders and developers need to take a far-sighted approach to external finishing

As builders and developers gear up to embrace the government’s much anticipated Green Deal home and business energy efficiency targets, it is also prime time for them to consider how they might choose to weather their external wall insulations – by render or by rainscreen cladding.

Ian Anderson is managing director of Steni UK, composite rainscreen cladding manufacturers. For more information, visit

performing rainscreen cladding solutions available on the market – it’s not surprising why it continues to be an extremely popular weathering and aesthetically attractive finish to residential properties. After all, it has been used by builders and

A 16 | British Builder & Developer |

lthough render is less expensive to buy at the outset than the best

developers since time immemorial. However, despite technological advancements in recent years, render can fall short on several criteria against rainscreen cladding solutions. For instance, there is an

emerging trend for local authorities granting planning permissions on the basis wet trades are not used – meaning developers have no choice but to leave render behind and find a suitable alternative. However, where an alternative

to render is needed, rainscreen cladding systems are increasingly becoming the solution of choice – with some even being available in render-like aggregate finishes. As a Modern Method of Construction (MMC), they are produced off-site for a quality fabrication, helping developers to better control the

amount of mess generated and minimise the risk of health and safety and environmental non- compliance on site. However, where specifiers and

developers do have a choice on what weathering finish to use, the more affordable product at the outset shouldn’t necessarily be the one that gets given the nod through. Instead, a more far- sighted approach is needed to evaluate the cost implications of all weathering solutions being considered at specification stage to realise the whole life cost of each - and in many cases it’s not the least expensive solution at the start that is the most cost effective in the end. When it comes to deliberating

whether to use render or rainscreen cladding, the following factors should be

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