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60 EXTERNAL ENVELOPE


supplied with profiled horizontal edges that were fitted onto continuous aluminium rails.


The panel edges were designed to mask the aluminium profiles used to install the panels, as part of enhancing the aesthetics of the building. The secret fix system used was ideally suited to projects where quick installation of large, uninterrupted facade surfaces was required. There was also a range of specialist fixing systems to support other types of facade material that create the same contemporary seamless aesthetic.


Accentuating exterior features


Sometimes seamless facades are not required, for example, where the designer wishes to make a feature of shadow lines or accentuate an elongated aspect. In these instances, face fix, also known as through fix or visible fix, can be used. The panels in this type of installation are usually attached to a timber batten or aluminium rails using screws or rivets. On many exteriors, this is a perfectly adequate fixing method; the only time when it wouldn’t be suitable is when an uninterrupted aesthetic is required.


Mechanical secret fix methods allow panels to be ‘hung’ from an aluminium rail system through recessed holes machined to the rear of the panels


As the trend towards sheer, smooth facades looks set to continue, what does this mean for cladding specification? Traditionally, only selected cladding materials could be used to achieve this effect – such as aluminium or glass. However, innovation in fixing systems means that seamless facades are possible with an ever increasing range of materials. When these are specified in the form of a composite panel, it meets the requirements of modern methods while reducing installation times on site. It is anticipated that the demand for sheer facades would continue to drive innovation in secret fix methods, opening up even more opportunities for the contemporary buildings of the future.


WWW.ARCHITECTSDATAFILE.CO.UK


ADF SEPTEMBER 2017


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