38 RCI 0614

RCI June 2014

CLADDING & SHEETING Enhancing the built environment Local planning requirements dictate that builders and their clients select products that fit with the local vernacular. The choice of which cladding material to use is therefore one of the most important design decisions to make, particularly when also taking into consideration cost. John Lambert, general manager at Forticrete, discusses how walling stone can provide the 038 JUNE 2014 RCIMAG.COM perfect solution for builders and clients looking for versatile and costeffective cladding solutions, which will also help properties integrate seamlessly with the local vernacular As one of the most prominent features on a property, the choice of cladding material will have a huge impact on the look and feel of a building. Whether it’s a renovation or new build project, the property needs to look attractive and help shape desirable communities where people want to live. With so many different size, finish, colour and regional variations of cladding available, it can be challenging to select the right product for the right job, whilst ensuring that the project fits with the local vernacular, a core requirement for planners across the UK under the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). So, when it comes to specifying products for new or refurbishment projects, building product manufacturers in particular have an important role to play in advising builders and clients on the choices available. An ideal solution A durable, versatile and low maintenance building material with a high thermal mass, natural stone has long been a popular choice of cladding material for the UK built environment. However, its expense to quarry, cut and transport, means it is rarely used today. Luckily, UK manufacturers have been producing and improving cost-effective and environmentally sustainable alternatives to natural stone since the 1920s. Reconstituted stone walling is an ideal choice for builders and clients looking to achieve a natural finish. The latest developments in stone walling are made from a carefully controlled mixture of graded limestone and other natural aggregates, cements and pigments, in accordance with national product standards for reconstituted stone masonry units. Available in standard and premier grades of material, these innovative ranges are throughcoloured and can be dressed on site to suit individual requirements, while retaining the original colour and texture. Regional variances The many different clays and natural stones quarried across the country vary significantly from region to region, from the weathered Pennine Sandstone of Northern Britain or the light blue natural stones of Bath and North East Somerset. By replicating these regional blends, reconstituted walling stone can meet site specific requirements across the UK, whilst still delivering a cladding material that will last for years to come. Manufacturers even have techniques which can create a ‘Cottage’ finish which gives a rough irregular shape, tumbled stone without straight or pitched arises. This replicates stone traditionally walled in its quarried state, which is more prevalent on small cottages in the South West of England and in Wales. Contrary to popular belief, reconstituted walling “By replicating these regional blends, reconstituted walling stone can meet site specific requirements across the UK, whilst still delivering a cladding material that will last for years to come” stone enables builders to replicate the colours and textures of natural stone walling at just a fraction of the cost. Further showcasing their commitment to helping builders succeed in these challenging economic times, many manufacturers are now introducing value-added services such as simplifying the ordering process and reducing onsite waste, ensuring reconstituted walling stone is a truly high-quality, versatile option for builders. For example, Forticrete has introduced Project Multi Packs. The packs are simple to stock, simple to deliver or collect from a stockist and most of all, simply a better way to order quality walling products. With these innovative packs there is no need to order single sizes; everything the builder needs is in one pack, giving them all the sizes of walling stone to produce random patterns. In addition, the packs are a novel way to reduce waste on site and are available in four natural colour options. Enhancing the local vernacular With builders and clients committed to creating sustainable, thriving communities when undertaking new build projects, walling stone provides the versatility, performance and aesthetics to help them achieve just that. Clients don’t want properties which look unnatural and out of place with the local area, which means building product manufacturers need to understand the needs of regional builders and their clients, and help them to create buildings that look traditional and enhance the built environment. www.forticrete.co.uk


RCI June 2014
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