QUALICOAT Conference Success
Held in June, QUALICOAT UK & Ireland’s conference at the Building Centre in London, ‘Future Proofing Facades’, has been hailed a success by all who attended. The event was professionally organised and run by QUALICOAT UK & Ireland with the support of the Department of Marketing. The event concentrated on aluminium in construction as a sustainable fenestration material and, in particular, how powder coating has advanced over the last few years to meet specifiers expectations.
The Conference was opened by Angus Mackle, Chair of the QUALICOAT UK & Ireland Association, who welcomed speakers and delegates to the days proceedings. Angus also introduced Chris Champion as Compere for the day and thanks were also given for the days sponsors, Barley Chalu, Chemetall, Interpon, Jotun & Vertik-Al. Angus went on to explain that the conference was all about how we can now maximise the service life of windows and facades to ensure construction sustainability by correct specification.
First speaker, Ivo Vermeeren, President of QUALICOAT, based in Zurich, offered an overview of how the Association has grown into a global architectural specification for powder coating, resulting in a worldwide, recognised quality label for finishing. Today the Association is fully accredited and offers a ‘Seaside’ class of powder coating as well as QUALIDECO which offers realistic finishes replicating such materials as wood. The latest addition to the specification options is QUALICOAT 3.0 which is a minimum recommendation for the quality of extruded aluminium, especially if it comprises of recycled content.
Following Ivo’s introduction, delegates were treated to a masterclass in architectural aluminium specification by first keynote speaker, Michael Stacey from the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. Michael explained how specified powder coating had begun to become mimetic, replicating such materials such as copper or terracotta in award winning designs. Michael emphasised that design durability was crucial and stated that coated aluminium could last 80 years or more given regular maintenance by simple ‘washing down’.
Fire resistance of building envelopes over 11m in height has become a crucial over the last few years following the Grenfell Tower disaster. Naveen Sandhu, Specification Manager of AkzoNobel Powder Coatings, explained how correctly applied powder coatings comply with an EN 13501-1 classification of A2-s1,d0 is permissible under Part B Regulations for buildings over 18m (11m in Scotland). Naveen went onto describe the BS 8414 Test Methodology using full scale testing with assessment to BR 135 where powder coating meeting the A2-s1,d0 classification is fully compliant. It is crucial that the complete cladding build-up, including the insulation, cavities, fire breaks, etc. are specified correctly to ensure full compliance and fire safety.
As a Global specification the latest QUALICOAT Specification now encompasses the flammability of powder formulations to ensure that single sided coatings on panels meet the A2-s1,d0 classification.
Chris Mansfield of Tomburn explained the update to BS EN 12206.1 2021 and what changes had been made since its previous iteration released in 2004, this will be offered in a future editorial from QUALICOAT.
Jan Lukaszewski, Secretary of QUALICOAT UK & Ireland, gave the delegates an overview of aluminium’s impressive characteristics. From aspects such as superb corrosion resistance, light weight and virtually infinite recyclability, no wonder that we cannot meet the demand for aluminium by recycling alone. Aluminium is perfect for use in construction where the material has its highest recycling rate where, on average, 96% of aluminium is recycled on building deconstruction. The challenge now within the industry is to ensure that we begin to recycling within the many grades of alloy so that grades of recycled aluminium is not lost. This will enable us to take a scrap window extrusion and recycle it back into window extrusion.
QUALICOAT UK & Ireland were honoured to have former President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Maxwell Hutchinson, as the second keynote speaker at the conference. At 73 years old, Maxwell offered a view of responsibilities in building construction and design. Whilst Maxwell conceded the conference was all about construction and sustainability in the facade, it was only the architect who could make the facade look beautiful! Keen to know what can be achieved using powder coated aluminium, Maxwell insisted that we must continue to educate architects and continue to support them throughout the design and build process.
QUALICOAT UK & Ireland welcomed from Spain, Dr Jose Manuel Mota, of the Spanish Association of Aluminium and Surface Treatment. Jose introduced to the conference the thinking behind the new QUALICOAT 3.0 specification which relates to the quality of extruded aluminium that is used in architectural powder coated fenestration, namely alloys 6060 and 6063. By tightening the specification of these aluminium grades using existing testing methodology, it can be demonstrated that the durability of the powder coated aluminium is further increased. Currently being tested and offered on a per project basis, it is anticipated that extruders in the future will fully adopt QUALICOAT 3.0 for their production and will apply for a QUALICOAT 3.0 licence.
To explain the importance of the aluminium pretreatment process prior to powder coating, Senior Global Product manager, Oliver Katschmareck of Chemetall Limited offered delegates compelling reason why to acid etch aluminium profiles by removing 1gm/m2 of the aluminium surface prior to the application of a protective conversion layer. This etch removes elements such as Copper, Iron and Zinc on the surface of the aluminium, these elements can cause corrosion under the conversion layer. The finished conversion layer consists of a chrome-free, chrome or anodised pretreatment and offers weathering protection to the base aluminium and also forms a key for the powder coat to strongly adhere to.
Inspections of QUALICOAT licence holders is key to maintaining consistent quality within the QUALICOAT Specification. Michael Muller who is Managing Director of IFO GmbH, QUALICOAT UK & Ireland’s independent test house, explained to delegates what happens during an unannounced inspection. Importantly how the QUALICOAT specification differs from many standards as it defines testing regularity, i.e. when to conduct what tests and at what intervals. The recording of these repeat tests of the production process, given the clear QUALICOAT Specification parameters, is one of the key elements of the twice yearly unannounced inspections.
To close the day’s conference, Philipp Ambruch, Director of Rudolf Ambruch Fassadeenpflege GmbH, a GRM member, offered an introduction to the cleaning and restoration of powder coated facades. He emphasised that regular, minimum cleaning will extend the useful life of all architectural coatings. Without regular cleaning it is possible to restore a weathered facade, but this will be more expensive than introducing a regular facade cleaning regime.
Chair, Angus Mackle closed the days proceedings by thanking the speakers and the delegates who had given up their day to learn more about ‘Future Proofing Facades’. Delegates were invited to to stay on within the meeting venue to network with speakers and members of the Association.
The global QUALICOAT Standard is incrementally revised in real time with regular update sheets and is revised to include all updates each year end. The Specification, its appendices and any update sheets are freely available for download at www.qualicoat.net. For details on the availability of various colours and finishes contact any QUALICOAT UK & Ireland member for more information. For updated information about the use and specification of QUALICOAT in the UK and Ireland, please visit the UK & Ireland Association website at www.qualicoatuki.org.
QUALICOAT UK & Ireland with offices based in the Midlands is the National Association for QUALICOAT approved companies. QUALICOAT is a global quality label organisation committed to maintaining and promoting the quality of lacquering, painting and coating on aluminium and its alloys for architectural applications.
Please browse our website and should you have any questions about architectural powder coatings and the correct specification, please contact one of our local members or phone our office on the number below.
QUALICOAT UK & Ireland Chairman