Metal building envelope systems can significantly contribute to achieving a sustainable building envelope solution to meet both current and future needs and requirements, thanks to their low maintenance, durability, high recycled content, recyclability and energy efficiency.

Steel and aluminium are the most common materials used in metal building envelopes and offer significant advantages when considering the entire system life cycle. They are produced from materials that have high recycled content from both pre-consumer and post-consumer scrap and can both be reused or recycled repeatedly without losing their qualities as a building material.

The design life of a building can only be fully realised if external building envelope materials along with their component products have the durability that can achieve that desired design life.  Metal roofing and cladding systems and their associated compatible components are used to form systems for given applications to meet specific project specifications and requirements and can significantly contribute to achieving a sustainable building envelope solution to meet both current and future needs and requirements.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays are becoming widely accepted as a means of partly providing a sustainable solution across the construction industry. This is particularly evident on the large areas of open roof space on industrial, commercial and warehouse buildings for both new build and retrofit applications.

Design is a critical element of any sustainable PV solution and should address both dead and imposed loading arrangement, installation procedures, lifetime maintenance and safety considerations relating to electrical and fire isolation and management. The adjacent links provide a source of information on these topics.

PD CEN/TR 16999:2019 Solar energy systems for roofs. Requirements for structural connections to solar panels. This document provides guidance on the principles and requirements of structural design for the safety and serviceability of the structural connection between solar energy panels (thermal or photovoltaic) and the structure of flat or pitched roofs.

This document does not include requirements for:

  • Weather tightness of the roof, solar panels and connections;
  • Electrical, thermal or mechanical characteristics of the solar panels;
  • Precautions against fire of the installation.

The document is available for purchase from BSI (see the link opposite)

Members of the Metal Cladding and Roofing Manufacturers Association (MCRMA) can provide third party assessed Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) and EN 15804 compliant Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for their products and systems to assist designers and specifiers to obtain points and credits data to be within environmental rating and certification schemes such as BREEAM and LEED.

MCRMA members can offer total sustainable building solutions thanks to a range of complementary components including

  • Flexible solar PV fastening systems
  • Sustainable high-performance insulation products
  • Daylight options to maximise the transmission of natural light into buildings. 

Detailed information is available from individual member companies and impartial advice can be obtained from any of the independent roofing and cladding inspectors group featured on the MCRMA web site.