The success of stainless steel installations relies on four important factors from conception to use.
Correct choice of stainless steel type and finish for the application and compatibility with other materials used in combination with it.
Smooth continuous surfaces, the absence of crevices, allowance for self cleaning, and free drainage are recognised factors of good design contributing to successful applications.
All appropriate good fabrication and housekeeping practices expected in handling a premium product must be employed. Local fabricators are an important factor as they have considerable expertise both in the fabrication of stainless steel and the building industry. They also have the ability to work closely with the architect to provide functional, elegant and economic structures in stainless steel.
At the completion of an installation, removal of the protective plastic film and the underlying adhesive is very important. This should be followed with a general cleaning operation to leave surface clean and ready for service. A regular maintenance cleaning regime must then follow as dictated by the environment. If these prerequisites are followed, long life with little or no change in appearance can be expected. Architects can therefore design in stainless steel and be confident of achieving the desired result for the client
Whilst there is no universal definition of architectural flatness, it is important agreement be reached between designer, supplier and fabricator as to the level of flatness required. For many small components it is possible that commercial flatness will be adequate, but in some cases, such as large panels, flatter material may be required to avoid the effect of oil canning.
This can be achieved in a variety of ways including:
- Specifying stretcher, tension levelled sheet quality
- Ensuring adequate stiffness in the component via the use of sandwich panels, eg plywood, particle board, honeycomb materials or monomer substrates with or without additional backing materials to compensate for differential thermal expansion rates
- Stiffening with edge folds or by using light gauge structural sections such as angles or channels
- Using slightly concave or convex panels, design permitting, obviates the need for the above flatness considerations
- Allowing for movement within a component, between components, or between components and the building, due to variable expansion and movement rates of the material is important
The reason for stainless steel:
Stainless steel is a functional, practical material with unique aesthetic appeal. Architects and engineers the world over are taking advantage of stainless steels unique combination of properties.
Stainless steel is a versatile material that is eminently suitable for numerous building and constructional applications, including facades, roofing, windows, doors, building entrances, furniture and a host of attractive interior applications.
Visually attractive, with a sense of strength and permanence, stainless steel requires only minimal maintenance across its many applications.
An exciting and contemporary material, yet with an impressive history spanning many decades, stainless steel blends successfully with its environment, reflecting surrounding colours and images with a dynamic and often stunning effect.
The Atlas Group is working with architects Australia wide to produce innovative and contemporary designs.