Building the Future

With recent advances in technology, the use of insulated metal panels (IMPs) for wall and roof design have become a top choice for architects and contractors, opening new possibilities for the future of building construction.

IMPs offer superior design, performance and value

By Justin Chandler and Julie Schessler

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Traditional materials, such as wood framing, steel framing, precast or poured-in concrete systems each have advantages and drawbacks. But IMPs offer a variety of solutions for designers, ranging from sustainability and durability to energy efficiency, affordability and aesthetic appeal. In past years, metal construction was often associated with plain, industrial-type facilities, but not anymore.

IMPs are available in a variety of colors, textures and architectural designs, offering a unique aesthetic that is anything but plain. The unmatched design versatility of metal wall panels and roof systems make them an ideal choice for any project—from creating imaginative exteriors in stadiums, universities and retail establishments to cutting-edge, sleek façades in health care facilities, airports and office complexes.

IMPs come in different architectural profiles that can be installed vertically or horizontally, offering various lengths and widths to match any building design. The architectural insulated panels and integrated wall components can be used to create beautiful designs with efficient daylighting panels, sunshades and louvers.

A Rising Trend

Within the last decade, using mixed materials on building exteriors has been a rising trend in commercial architecture. The versatility of metal panels, as well as the ease of installation, readily accommodates this modern aesthetic. By combining IMPs with other exterior materials such as brick, stone or precast concrete in remodel or retrofit projects, designers can easily transform drab, dated building exteriors into modern pinnacles of design ingenuity.

Beyond the aesthetic options, IMPs provide superior energy efficiency compared to conventional building materials. Designing and constructing sustainable buildings has become a mainstream expectation of the construction industry. With increasing regulatory focus on the environment, the demand for high-performance building solutions is greater than ever. Insulated metal wall and roof panels create a building envelope that reduces energy costs and meets regulatory requirements.

IMPs eliminate the need for additional batt or board insulation, exterior sheathing and vapor barriers. IMP are being designed to combine air, thermal, vapor and water barriers into one efficient product. The IMPs are engineered with thermally broken joint-to-joint connections, delivering superior insulation and greater long-term energy savings as compared to traditional insulation. The high thermal performance makes IMPs an ideal way to pursue sustainability goals.

IMPs can feature weathertight tongue-and-groove joinery with factory-applied joint sealant that provides a complete air and vapor barrier, locking out moisture, preventing material degradation and reducing maintenance costs.

The Value of IMPs

Apart from the efficient combination of sustainability, performance and aesthetics, the most appealing benefit of IMPs over traditional construction is the value. Simple and quick to install, IMPs offer faster installation times than masonry and other exteriors. In addition, the durability of IMPs allows installation to continue despite inclement weather, preventing unexpected and costly delays.

Traditional construction projects also require multiple trades for the installation of each building material, which increases the number of people on the construction site as well as the potential for complications. Comparatively, IMPs offer one total wall envelope solution. Building contractors not only reduce field labor, but also minimize the risk of setbacks because they are only dealing with one installation crew. In the building industry, time is money, and these efficiencies yield significant savings in general construction costs.

Another IMP solution that is gaining popularity, especially for architects that prefer brick, terra cotta or other exteriors, is the backup wall panel. Complete IMP barrier wall systems combine air, water, thermal and vapor protection into one component, yielding the same cost savings and advantages in installation, durability and sustainability as other IMPs. IMPs can feature multiple attachment systems that allow easy integration with a variety of exterior materials, providing even greater design versatility.

IMPs offer building contractors a one-stop shop, eliminating the need for multiple barrier installations and saving time and labor costs during construction. With flexible aesthetic options and long-term cost savings on heating, cooling, maintenance and upkeep, IMPs offer high performance at a competitive value.

Justin Chandler is district sales manager, and Julie Schessler is product manager, both of CENTRIA, Moon Township, Pa. To learn more, visit

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