• Cladding is the visible external finish of a building, such as the roof or external walls. It can play a structural role transferring wind loads, impact loads and self-weight back to the structural framework. In particular, wind causes positive and negative pressure on the surface of buildings and so cladding must be designed to have adequate strength and stiffness to resist this load, both in terms of the type of cladding selected and its connections back to the structure.

    Cladding is needed to:

    • Create a controlled internal environment.
    • Protect the building from external conditions.
    • Provide privacy.
    • Prevent the transmission of sound.
    • Provide thermal insulation.
    • Create an external facade.
    • Prevent the spread of fire.
    • Generate an ‘airtight’ building envelope.
    • Providing openings for access, daylight and ventilation.

    Cladding systems may include components, such as windows, doors, gutters, roof lights, vents and so on.

    The nature of cladding selected for a particular building will depend on how the building is going to be used, internal and external conditions, aesthetic requirements and so on. The use of a high-quality, well designed building cladding can maximise thermal performance, minimise air leakage, and optimise natural daylighting. This can help reduce the need for mechanical and electrical building services, and so improve energy efficiency and lower capital and running costs.