Gable End Spandrel Panels: Coming to a construction site near you

Earlier in the year, the government announced plans to build 300,000 new homes annually from the mid-2020s. After years of the housing sector falling short of such ambitious targets, new building materials and methods that help homes to be built more quickly, cost-efficiently and safely are in high demand. Here, Tim Tasker, Technical Manager, at Pasquill explores why gable wall spandrel panels should be found on every building site across the UK.

Thanks to their pleasant aesthetic, gable walls are increasingly becoming more popular with housebuilders and developers. Gable wall spandrel panels are precisely manufactured off-site with timber and craned onto timber framed or masonry support walls.

They’re a simple, more efficient and safer way to build, providing an alternative to the traditional inner leaf of an exterior masonry gable wall. With that in mind, here are the top five reasons why gable wall spandrel panels outbox bricks and mortar every time.

1. Compliance first

Providing the panels have been installed with careful detailing of the connection to the head masonry wall, they provide excellent thermal performance. An investigation into performance found that scenarios during thermal testing were compliant with the minimum surface temperatures/fRsi requirements of BR 497:2016, and the associated heat loss (y/Psi-value) for use in SAP calculations.

2. Health and safety

We all know the laws of health and safety are the priority on any worksite, and thankfully gable wall spandrel panels can significantly reduce risks when compared to their traditional counterparts. This is in part because they significantly reduce the amount of time spent working from height, but also because they are stringently manufactured in line with regulations.

A manufacturer will engineer the gable wall spandrel panels to meet your exacting requirements, and will ensure they withstand design loads, wind loads and the acceptable permitted deflection limit of the outer leaf of masonry.

Ultimately, any steps that can be taken to improve health and safety are a must.

3. Speeding up the process

As with all off-site manufacturing solutions, gable end spandrel panels are expertly prefabricated in a factory and delivered just at the right time. Not only does this have practical benefits, such as saving space and reducing waste, but it also allows a quicker build as there’s no need for the mortar to cure. One study even suggested that time savings of 50-60% can be found when large elements can be fabricated.

Traditional brick and block gable ends and party walls are open to the elements during construction and curing and cannot be erected during certain weather conditions, but with gable wall spandrel panels you only need to monitor wind speeds when craning spandrels into position. The hard work’s already been done off-site, helping you to get the job done on time.

4. Time is money

If something saves time, it’s almost certainly going to save money too. Because they’re manufactured off-site, gable wall spandrel panels can save on-site build time compared to traditional brick and block. Gable wall spandrel panels also allow continuity of work during installation, allowing the rest of the site work to continue as normal.

5. Reassuringly strong

There’s a misconception that bricks and mortar are stronger than timber frame solutions, but engineered products can possess the same properties and strengths associated with steel or concrete. Units are designed in line with the NHBC Technical Guidance on spandrel panels, which dictates that panels must resist wind loads acting on the gable end walls, and any loads imposed by the outer layers of cladding.

A popular roofing option

Gable wall spandrel panels are a revolution in roofing and provide a wide range of benefits for architects, builders, health and safety officers and ultimately homeowners. If you think the panels are right for your project, consult an expert.