By Dave Hood, technical manager, Steadmans

 As a leading manufacturer of building products, here at Steadmans we pride ourselves on maintaining quality control throughout the production process.

With checks and process samples taken at regular stages within the manufacturing cycle, everything possible is done to ensure our products are within our exacting production tolerances, ultimately ensuring building and site delays are minimised.

However, it’s all very well having these stringent measures in place if the materials used in the finished product are not checked for defects on a regular basis. Indeed, once a construction project is complete, it’s vital the cladding and panels used in the building envelope are inspected every year to ensure the longevity of that structure. It’s also essential that any remedial work is carried out at the earliest possible opportunity.

There are some simple steps that can be taken to ensure a building can stand the test of time. For example, regularly remove any debris blocking the gutters because retained water can cause leaks into the building. It’s also vital to inspect the areas that are not washed naturally by rainwater, as dirt retention not only affects the appearance of the building, it can cause the coating of the panels to break down if left untreated. It’s therefore advised to use a hose to wash down these areas, followed by a soft bristle brush.

Any heavier deposits can be tackled using a simple solution of water mixed with a household detergent. Mould growth is rare, but like dirt, it can affect the appearance of a building. Mould should be washed off and a gentle household cleansing solution then needs to be applied.

Over time, the cladding and panels used in the building envelope can be subject to minor damage, but this can cause issues further down the track. For example, a breakthrough in the panel coating can result in the corrosion of the substrate. In your annual inspection, you need to assess the extent of the damage and either paint over the affected area or replace the damaged sheets.

The condition of the fixings must also be checked and replaced if necessary because faulty fixings can cause leaks or rust staining on the surface of the panels. If any cut edges have corroded these must be cut back to clean bright metal and then repainted.

For more information call Steadmans on 01697 478 277 or email [email protected]