Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of our most frequently asked questions. Can’t see what you are looking for? Get in touch with our team.

About spandrel panels

What is a spandrel panel?

Spandrel panels sit between the vision glazing areas of curtain wall facade systems to conceal the building’s structure and services whilst adding visual interest or continuity to the facade.

Learn more in our ‘What is a Spandrel Panel?’ blog.

What fire performance do spandrel panels need to achieve to comply with the building regulations?

Though regulations across UK are similar, there are certain caveats depending on the region.

For England, Wales and Northern Ireland, residential buildings over 18 metres in height are required to have spandrel panels which achieve an A1 or A2-s1,d0 rating when tested to EN 13501-1 (Reaction to Fire). England recently also stipulated that buildings deemed ‘high risk’ between 11-18 metres must also have spandrel panels which achieve the same A1 or A2-s1,d0 rating.

Scottish requirements go further, extending this requirement for A1 or A2-s1,d0 rated spandrel panels to ‘relevant buildings’ over 11 metres or those below of a relevant construction (such as hospitals or residential care).

Learn more in our ‘What fire ratings do spandrel panels need to achieve?’ blog.

Can I use DGU laminated glass as a non-combustible spandrel panel option?

Approved Document B states that “Window spandrel panels and infill panels must comply with regulation 7(2)” in which “all materials which become part of an external wall or specified attachment achieve class A2-s1,d0 or class A1 in accordance with BS EN 13501-1”.

Therefore, any product aiming to infill a non-vision area for relevant projects must satisfy these fire performance requirements. Whilst DGUs could fulfil this role if tested BS EN 13501-1 achieving A1 or A2-s1,d0, most projects stipulate a thermal insulation requirement for the façade which, given their construction type, is difficult for these units to meet whilst retaining fire performance classification.

Pre-insulated composite spandrel panels often offer a clearer route to compliance. As single units, they provide reliable thermal and fire performance – simply glazed into the curtain wall without complex assembly on-site.

Engineered as complete units, Speedpanel A2® spandrel panels were developed as a swift and safe solution to the spandrel zone. Offered with an aluminium or patent-pending glass face, they provide A2-s1,d0 certification in a range of sizes and depths.

What is the difference between a built up and a composite spandrel solution?

There are two main types of spandrel panel options – built up and composite. Traditional spandrel panels are built-up on site with a back sheet, insulation core and a face panel which are cut to size each time for every panel. However, more modern composite panels have come to market which combine internal and external facings, core material, tray, and other components into a single, pre-engineered component which requires no complex on-site assembly.

Why are ceramic-coated glass spandrel panels a more durable option for coloured spandrel solutions?

There are two main options available for colouring when producing non-vision glass – back painting and ceramic coating. Back painting is where paint is simply sprayed onto the rear of the glass. This is the cheapest option. However, the downsides are that it is more susceptible to scratching and more likely to fade and peel over time with exposure to the sun’s harsh rays.

Meanwhile, with ceramic coatings, a coloured frit is fired into the glass at around 800°C, bonding them together. This method of colouring ensures a much tougher, more robust and longer lasting colour that is less susceptible to UV damage.

 

About Speedpanel A2®

What types of curtain wall systems can you install Speedpanel A2® spandrel panels on?

Speedpanel A2® Glass and A2® Aluminium are designed to fit in the majority of curtain wall systems.

Can I colour match Speedpanel spandrel panels to an existing panel?

Yes, Speedpanel A2® Aluminium can be powder coated to any required non-metallic RAL colour and is offered in all anodised colours. Speedpanel A2® Glass can be ceramic coated in any grayscale shade from white to black, with other colours available subject to additional fire certification testing.

Can spandrel panels be fitted into facades with tight tolerances?

Traditional spandrel panels built up on site can vary in quality and sizing, which can be problematic on facades with tight tolerances, such as those undergoing retrofit work.

However, pre-manufactured spandrel panels such as Speedpanel A2® are engineered to be a repeatable, accurate fit. Designed for consistent sizing across tens or hundreds of panels on a project, versions can be chosen as thin as 28mm.

The Speedpanel A2® Aluminium range features folded front and rear trays, which combined offer higher torsional rigidity than built up units made up of flat front and rear sheets – helping to ensure tight production tolerances, consistent quality and a solid fit.

Can I request bespoke sizes of Speedpanel spandrel panels?

Yes, our technical team can work with project teams to develop bespoke variations of Speedpanel A2®, meaning tight sizes, odd shapes and specific design requirements can be met on both new build and refurbishment projects.

Are Speedpanel A2® spandrel panels easy to install?

Our pre-insulated composite spandrel panels are designed for installers, to be simply glazed into the facade, requiring no complex onsite assembly. This helps to reduce installation time, lessen exposure to working at height and prevent disruption to building users.

How does the Speedpanel ‘Glass Retention System’ work?

As an external wall product, spandrel panels are more likely to be exposed to inclement weather and unexpected impacts, especially at lower levels of the building. This is especially important for glass-faced products as any shards that come away from the unit could become a hazard for anyone below.

Our Speedpanel A2® Glass panels feature a patent-pending glass retention system. This uses a unique interlayer between the glass outer-finish and the insulation core that is designed to hold the glass pieces into place in the event of breakage. When toughened glass breaks it creates thousands of small glass pieces know as pebbles. The space in between these pebbles cause unretained glass to fall away from the bonded face – our interlayer allows the pebbles to move and dissipate the impact whilst retaining the glass in place.

Speedpanel

29 August 2023