Composite panels: what are they?

Composite panels, otherwise known as sandwich panel, are a common construction material involving an insulted core sandwiched between two plastic or metal facings. They can be used on external walls, roof construction and internal structures within a range of industries. These include warehousing, food, hotels, and other applications involving hygiene standards.

The panelling is generally more favoured over other materials due to the following characteristics;

– Ability to muffle sound
– Light weight
– Lower costs
– Thermal insulation properties
– Easy to construct
– Non-porous allowing for quick washing

All of these characteristics can reduce the initial costs and other expenses like energy bills. As a result the materials are very highly regarded.

Although the benefits are clear, it is important to consider things like fire safety. Some panels can become a hazard depending on what the core is made of and the specific design. But, being able to identify the risks and learning how to safely make use of the resource will address the risk.

The panel’s combustibility largely depends on the core material. The main ones at risk are: fire retardant expandable polystyrene, polyurethane, expanded polystyrene, and polyisocyanurate. Whereas the non-combustible materials are: glass fibre, foamed glass, and mineral wool. Most modern construction projects will use non-combustible panels, but some older buildings are still at risk of fires.

Although using composite panels in construction can be a risk, with robust management and adequate planning you can reap the material’s many benefits. To maximise safety you need to begin by stating the fire rating of every panel. That way you can ensure they are used correctly.

If the materials are already in place, replace all fire risk panels with non-combustible ones. Take the time to check for any damage to the material to ensure hazards are minimised.

Having the correct safety systems in place is also vital. Install a sprinkler system, purchase smoke detectors, and appoint someone to be responsible of a fire programme. This can help to keep everybody safe within the property.

Peter Wragge Supplies specialise in providing high quality composite panels and roofing sheets. If you would like to know more about the products we offer, or require some advice, please don’t hesitate to get in contact today.