Commercial, industrial projects turning to IMPs more and more
The construction industry is ever-changing, providing new challenges daily. Keeping up with and staying ahead of changes in the construction marketplace are pivotal to success for architects, design/build firms and general contractors. New products, new codes and new customer demands all play a role in how businesses operate, as well as what services and products are offered. Speed and cost effectiveness are essential.
Insulated metal panels (IMPs) are used across North America, but have traditionally been most commonly used for cold-storage facilities in the food industry. These large, product-storage facilities keep food items fresh or frozen for the large companies producing or storing them. IMPs help control the interior climate, efficiently keeping the building at a consistent temperature to adequately store and maintain the perishable contents within.
The building season in some parts of the United States and Canada is never quite as long as it needs to be for builders. Tilt-up concrete must be poured in temperatures above freezing, and ideally above 50 degrees, which limits the building season in some areas. Stud-frame building can be time-consuming, because of the number of layers used to construct the entire system: the minimum of a vapor barrier, girts, insulation and cladding are four passes for the builder to meet the required R-value demands.
IMPs offer a quick solution that can be installed virtually year-round, with an ease that is hard to come by. There are times when it is simply too cold to get anything done and high winds can pose limiting construction factors. However, IMPs allow a building to be quickly enclosed so other trades can start their work inside a sheltered space. These advantages have led to an increase of IMP use for applications other than cold-storage facilities.
IMP manufacturers have also expanded their offerings to include more profiles, colors and textures, providing architects and building owners with more attractive options. A better aesthetic enhances a structure’s appearance, making IMPs a desirable option for architects designing commercial buildings. These panels are available with a smooth or stucco-like finish, as well as a wide array of profiles and thicknesses to meet R-value requirements. They can also be installed horizontally or vertically with interchangeable profile joinery which offers unlimited design versatility.
To accommodate thermal expansion and contraction, IMPs bow between connection points. The panel joint is thermally broken to avoid conduction through the joint.
IMPs for Industrial Construction
Large production facilities take time to erect, so employing a building method requiring less installation time in turn allows more time to construct more buildings. IMPs have been used for industrial facilities, some of which demand high-quality, long-lasting finishes able to fight the corrosive atmosphere to which they are subjected. In addition to the energy-efficiency benefits of IMPs, mainly the ease with which they achieve desired R-value through the variable thicknesses, these panels also facilitate rapid construction, comparably speaking. Building owners have an ever-present need for production facilities to be erected, enclosed and operational within a short time. Time is money to an end user and the sooner the building is constructed, the sooner they can start providing their services.
IMPs for Commercial Construction
Commercial buildings provide an excellent opportunity for IMP usage. The wide variety of IMP profiles, coupled with a universal color palette and the ability to offer custom colors, provides the building owner with a high degree of customization and building performance at a competitive cost. IMPs can be used for exterior walls, interior walls, ceilings and roofs in both new and retrofit construction. As a single-source ease of installation coupled with a long life span not achieved by many other building products or methods, often reaching 60 years, IMPs offer longevity and efficiency. IMPs are routinely used across many sectors including retail, sports complexes, automotive, educational, aviation, self-storage and religious facilities. The idea of a wrinkled metal shed is long past with the form and functionality of today’s IMPs.
Training and Education
Like any other building product, IMPs must be installed properly to be effective. Reputable IMP manufacturers will offer installer training and be available to answer questions on any detail during construction. Misapplication of sealants and trim, which prevent air, vapor and water infiltration can easily be avoided with proper installer training to help avoid small problems turning into larger problems as the building ages.
The growth of IMPs is dependent on the architectural community. Architects understand and appreciate the benefits and limitations of the products they specify. While IMPs have been in use for more than 40 years, they were initially considered a solution purely for cold-storage facilities. With expanded offerings in product design, innovations and technology improvements, as well as escalated R-values to meet energy codes, their use is becoming more common in industrial, commercial and institutional building projects.
Amanda Storer is brand manager and Nicole Anthony is marketing coordinator of Metl-Span, Lewisville, Texas. To learn more, call
(877) 585- 9969 or visit www.metlspan.com.