Specials

Roofing and cladding: From asbestos to galvanised sheets

April 2019
Galvanised by rapid urbanisation and infrastructure development and the invasion of innovative technologies and concepts, the Indian roofing and cladding sector has come a long way. 

Shifting sands
For starters, a material shift is clearly visible among developers and architects. 
Asbestos roofing, which once held sway over the industrial market, is now out, following a Supreme Court ban in January 2011. As Reza Kabul, Founder, ARK Reza Kabul Architects, tells us, “Architects have moved from asbestos to new products such as glass and insulated panels, which are a better substitute to previous products.”

Elaborating further, Mitu Mathur, Director, Gian P Mathur and Associates, says, “The change from asbestos to galvanised steel sheets addresses not just the hazardous aspects of asbestos but enables a faster construction process, better insulation properties, rainwater harvesting and a longer lifespan. Further, the flexible nature of metal sheets has allowed designers to explore various design possibilities.” 

Ravi Shekhar, Senior Manager, Project - Sales, Safintra, shares that there has been considerable demand for aluminium roofing as well from the industrial and commercial segments. 
And Dinesh Vyas, Senior Vice-President - Marketing, H&R Johnson, adds, “Permanent sections such as residential or commercial go for concrete slabs where tiles become a prominent factor to finish a rooftop, while non-permanent sections use cement sheets as well as galvanised iron roofing sheets.” 
Different strokes
Indeed, form truly does follow function, and the choice of a roof depends on the nature of the project. So naturally, the requirements for an institutional or commercial project are different from a residential one. As Mathur explains, “Roofs are increasingly seen as a real-estate asset as opposed to industrial projects where roofing is a mere necessity. With pre-engineered members and steel structures, interesting roof structures and façades are being designed. A parametrically designed array of façade and roof cladding panels can do wonders for a project.”

According to Muthu Kumaran, Associate General Manager - Sales, Wienerberger India, PEB structures and metal roofing are predominant in the industrial and warehousing segment, while commercial spaces, IT parks and hospitality are the key drivers in the cladding sector. He sees huge potential for cladding and roofing solutions with aesthetics playing a vital role and shares that architects are turning to natural products with longevity for the façade, complimenting glass and other modern materials.

Hi tech for high performance
While sustainability is an imperative, technology is the driver for today’s roofing solutions.
Kumaran points to innovative products like clay roof tile for pitched roofs that allows a long span.
In Shekhar’s view, it’s not the technologies that are new—it’s awareness. “Sanding seam and aluminium roofing have been in the market for the past 40 and 60 years, respectively, and people were not aware of it,” he reasons. “While aluminium roofing is the new thing, sanding seam, with insulation, is gaining popularity in India. Sanding steel is a seamless roofing solution with no puncturing required. It is watertight and airtight and can be used to easily install solar panels.”

Spreading the word
Indeed, building awareness is key to growing the market. 
In this regard, Kumaran points to the limited number of organised players in the segment. And Vyas believes a balance needs to be maintained between quality and pricing. 

In conclusion, Mathur observes, “Affordability is a challenge, especially in large-scale projects. The onus lies on us, as designers, to make investment in roofing solutions lucrative for clients through powerful and innovative design ideas.” 

- DIKSHA JAWLE