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A perfect finish with MetSkin

Vivalda has launched MetSkin, a new aluminium cladding system for residential high rise or municipal projects. Specify & Build visited the company’s manufacturing facility in Glasgow to find out more.


Vivalda Group, the UK’s largest distributor of rainscreen façades, has expanded its product range to include MetSkin, a new solid aluminium cladding system. Supplied as a whole-tested and warranted system, MetSkin is UK designed and manufactured within the group by Glasgow-based MSP Façade Solutions, which has more than 30 years’ experience in high-performance cladding production.


The system is fabricated using premium grade, non-flammable, solid aluminium sheet. Options available include an interlocking plank system (2mm thickness), hook-on cassette (3mm thickness) or tray panel (3mm thickness) systems.


The interlocking plank system offers a versatile solution with an interlocking design, providing both structural stability and design flexibility. The planks are designed to fit seamlessly together, creating a continuous and visually engaging façade. This system is particularly well-suited for projects where a dynamic appearance is desired and provides a cost-effective solution for a sleek, linear finish.


The hook-on cassette system presents a contemporary approach to façade design. Featuring a sleek appearance, this system employs fully concealed fixings to maintain clean lines and a modern aesthetic. Cassettes are easily attached to a supporting substructure through a hook-on mechanism, ensuring efficient installation and future adaptability. The panels have been designed to ensure each isolated panel can be removed individually for cleaning and maintenance if required.


The tray panel system showcases a combination of functionality and visual appeal. Each panel is individually secured to the substructure using discreet fixings, allowing for efficient installation while maintaining an uninterrupted appearance. The discreet fix systems maintain the façade’s clean lines and visual harmony and are often used for tighter budgets as they do not compromise on quality or aesthetics. The colour-coded fixings are strategically placed within the recessed panel joints to create a seamless finish. The panels can be customised in various dimensions and finishes to suit project-specific requirements, providing architects and specifiers with creative freedom.


a man working at Vivalda

High-quality powder coating

Once formed, the product is then powder coated on-site to the globally recognised Qualicoat standard. This chrome-free, environmentally friendly process is undertaken by sister company Prism Powder Coating, which has also gained Akzo Nobel-approved applicator status.


As well as being available in more than 740 RAL colours, MetSkin can also be supplied in an A1 anodised finish or A1 PVDF pre-coated aluminium, providing architects and specifiers with limitless creative possibilities.


Andy Thomas, Trading Director at Vivalda Group, says: “MetSkin represents an important step for us, adding the manufacture of a fully tested system to our established business as the UK’s biggest cladding distributor. While we are already well-known by contractors for the supply of non-flammable cladding materials including fibre cement, GRC, terracotta and solid aluminium, it’s exciting to be able to provide customers with our own fully approved and tested envelope system.


“We see a significant market for this product in the UK, on both newbuild and retrofit developments. We have worked hard during the two-year development phase to create a complete solution for architects and specifiers – matching existing colours or helping them bring to life their latest vision. For contractors, this means that we supply a total A-rated, tested system, including fixings, rails and ancillary products such as membranes and insulation as required.


“We’ve designed MetSkin with creativity in mind, which allows the use of various substructure configurations, without compromising on the safety or aesthetics of the façade. We’ve also not forgotten about contractors and made our system easy to order and easy to install.”


Safety, performance and testing

As a system tested to CWCT standards, MetSkin has undergone meticulous tests including hard body impact, soft body impact, wind resistance and water tightness. For the wind resistance test, the panels were subjected to increasing pressure using a vacuum to push them against and away from the substructure they are fixed to, before being tested for safety and security.


To assess watertightness, a mock-up system was continuously sprayed with water in several directions, simulating wind force and driven by a powerful jet engine. Sealed and open-jointed systems were then inspected and tested for their water resistance.


The structural performance of the wall was then put through its paces with a series of tests including both a hard (solid steel ball) and soft (50kg leather bag of glass beads) body being swung at the wall.


Many years of experience

The Vivalda Group team collectively have many years’ experience supplying cladding panels, building boards and fabrication services to the facades market across the UK and Ireland. Vivalda itself was founded in 1999 and acquired MSP Façade Solutions in 2019, though that company itself has been operating for more than 30 years.


Gillian Thomson, General Manager of MSP and Prism, explains: “We have a highly skilled workforce, with some people having worked here for 42 and 36 years, and most at least 20 years. Some of our team are second and even third-generation team members, and we take pride in the fabrication skills we have on site.”


Vivalda is continuing to invest heavily in growing its skilled workforce and has created a three-year structured apprenticeship programme to train the next generation.


Gillian continues: “At the start of last year we outgrew our capacity and so we split the team into two shifts and began searching for skilled staff who could weld and work with thin-gauge aluminium with finesse. We ultimately chose an apprenticeship model so we can help people develop their skills until they are fully trained, with our existing team acting as mentors.”


The current crop of apprentices are all rapidly gaining new skills, with a future plan to bring in new apprentices as a continuous cycle of trainees.


CEO Andy McEwan adds: “Our goal is to be the market-leading distributor in the UK and Ireland facades market: the first choice for customers, colleagues and suppliers. We believe we have a key role to play in leading the market as a whole, and we want contractors to be able to get everything they need from us – a true one-stop-shop.”


MetSkin is now available and is being distributed exclusively though the Vivalda Group, which includes BBS Facades and Pura Facades.





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MAY 2024


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