There are three main types of cladding panel:
- Load bearing
- Non-load bearing
A spandrel panel has the same basic features of a cladding panel, but it also has a beam incorporated in it. This allows a greater performance from the cladding panel than simple building enclosure.
Panels can be manufactured in many shapes and sizes, but mainly they are either storey height spanning from floor to floor, or spandrel panels forming a sill wall beneath windows. They are also load bearing panels.
Load bearing cladding panel:
Load bearing panels are specified when the engineer decides that their use will produce the most economic structural solution.
In this case, the panels are designed and detailed by the engineer. The precast manufacturer checks the handling aspects and if necessary will modify the reinforcement accordingly.
Loads from the floor and/or the structure are supported by the load bearing cladding.
Non-Load bearing cladding panel:
A non-load bearing cladding panel must be designed, together with its fittings, to withstand the appropriate wind forces. Panels are either be top-hung or bottom-supported from the building structure, though both methods should never be used together on the same panel.
Features of cladding panels:
Cladding panels can incorporate openings, such as windows or doorways, which can be fixed during manufacture. In this way a finished section of wall is delivered to site, only lacking its internal lining – a truly fast build method of enclosing a building.