The weathering skin of a building is also the visual skin that gives a building its character and aesthetic appearance. There are of course many choices of skin materials that architects can choose from with varying degrees of suitability for different building projects. In many cases, where economy, longevity, and lightweight materials are part of the preferred criteria, metal wall panels are the favored selection. In addition to meeting these basic design criteria, they have been proven over time in many different settings to be a reliable and sustainable design option.

Continuing Education (1.0 HSW Credits)

Use the following learning objectives to focus your study while reading this Continuing Education article.

Learning Objectives – After reading this article, you will be able to:

  1. Identify and recognize the characteristics of different commonly available metal wall panels and systems.
  2. Investigate the design potential and innovative opportunities to create buildings with attractive and durable exterior wall systems, canopies, and soffits.
  3. Assess the functional contributions of exterior metal walls as they contribute to green and sustainable design
  4. Specify metal exterior walls in a variety of green and conventional buildings and formulate appropriate selections related to specific applications.

Overview of Metal Wall Panels

Metal wall panels are manufactured by a variety of companies in the U.S. The industry trade group, known as the Metal Construction Association (MCA), views itself as a progressive organization that is supported by nearly 100 member companies, including metal panel manufacturers, coil coaters, distributors, fabricators, accessory and insulation producers, and contractors. Together, they advance industry-wide standards in metal panel fabrication and construction techniques as well as promote sustainable products and practices by its members.

The MCA has pointed out that improvements in the metal panel manufacturing process have resulted in a wider selection of metal panel products. This includes more choices in panel profiles and sizes allowing more choice and flexibility when considering metal panels in the design of a building. At the same time, new developments in coating technology allow longer life spans for the finished coating as well as the metal panels. As a result, the emergence of new product choices has allowed preformed metal wall panels to become a familiar part of mainstream commercial building design, and even some progressive residential buildings. All of this has contributed to a market trend where metal wall panels are currently used in greater quantities than metal roofing panels.

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This course was approved by the GBCI for 1 GBCI CE hour(s) for LEED Credential Maintenance.