Design Freedoms of IMPs

Design Freedoms of IMPs Preferred Performance, Appealing Aesthetics

Expert Analysis Writer: Brian Finnegan, District Sales Manager at CENTRIA

How the Evolution of IMPs Can Bring a Design Vision to Life

When selecting materials for any building project, architects and designers have a vision in their mind’s eye of what the building will look like when it is completed. That means they are constantly searching for products that will help them achieve the desired impact. Among the questions they ask themselves: How will the façade help create a signature for the resulting structure, telegraphing its mission and purpose? How will the materials for the exterior walls take what is on paper or in a diagram and deliver it in real life?

Those same architects must factor in all the key criteria when it comes to performance: protection from the elements, durability over the long haul, and energy efficiency.

To make that vision a reality, designers and architects hand over the controls to contractors and installers, who face ever-increasing pressure to deliver on time and on budget. One of the key value propositions for these construction professionals is ease of installation, which drives efficiencies.

Insulated metal panels (IMPs) are engineered to deliver results on both fronts – aesthetics, and performance.

IMPs have evolved in how they are utilized for the façade. Years ago, they were often specified for a more rudimentary structure such as a rectangular storage facility. Today, they have helped to transform the faces of sports arenas, office buildings, healthcare facilities, schools, museums, and more. A product that was once offered in limited colors, profiles, and finishes can now be customized to meet the most specific designs. Panels can be fabricated thinner than any other exterior product to achieve any face, sharpness, or appearance while still achieving the performance advantages of other materials.

Taken together, this means that choosing IMPs for a project preserves the design freedom architects seek, and it also opens the door to a wide range of benefits for those charged with constructing the building. It is an all-in-one cladding solution for architectural, commercial, and industrial buildings.

Eliminate Complexity: The Single-Component Solution

Traditionally, if a building’s barrier fails, the air barrier is the first weakness to be detected. This is due to multiple product layers, which leave room for gaps, failing to achieve that continuous barrier to eliminate breaches. In a single component, IMPs provide thermal, air, water, and vapor protection. Offering a metal air barrier that is impervious to moisture and vapor creates the perfect barrier solution for commercial buildings.

Beyond protection from the air and the elements, today’s buildings must meet stringent energy performance codes. The façade – and the materials selected for that outer layer – are a critical component of this equation.  Insulated metal panels provide continuous insulation, and they do so in a thinner profile. The strength of metal panels combined with the panel’s structural foam core promise a durable building façade that is resistant to conditions in all climates and environments.

By using recyclable materials to manufacture panels, IMPs become 100% recyclable products, which can contribute to LEED credits for a project, something that is increasingly desirable. IMPs also come with finishes that are engineered for a reduced carbon footprint, maximum solar reflectance, and thermal resistance.

An Eye on Design

With increased performance comes greater design flexibility. By providing the same look as thinner materials, IMPs allow architects to specify each color, finish, profile, and application that is best suited for each design. IMPs are available in vivid, fade-resistant color, with incredible durability and environmentally friendly cool technology.

Consider the case of the MONUMENT ARENA in Rapids City, South Dakota, a 250,000-square-foot facility for several local teams and for entertainment. It seats 12,500 spectators. The design team aimed to provide the community and surrounding region with a facility that was functional, visually appealing, and accessible. Specifiers for the project had additional conditions to meet. The arena was publicly funded, which meant the contractor had a guaranteed maximum price for The Monument and needed to ensure first-time quality for any materials selected. Contractors installed 25,000 square of IMP panels in colors that complemented the beautiful natural environment where the arena was located, ensuring that the facility would make a statement with its new look.

Integration: Making it Seamless

Integration of materials and profiles is an important consideration when it comes to designing a building. IMPs provide benefits in this arena as well.

An IMP’s ability to integrate with doors, windows, louvers and more represents a unique advantage over other materials. IMPs can seamlessly merge glass curtainwalls, metal, masonry, or stone. For products with a more intricate design, IMPs can go in between different materials or behind those materials to carry out the designated design. A wide variety of colors, profiles, lengths, and widths can help bring any architect’s vision to life by allowing for multiple styles and looks to be integrated into different parts of a building.

The façade of the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS PHOENIX OUTPATIENT CLINIC in Phoenix, AZ, offers the perfect example of IMPs that can deliver on aesthetics and the need for integration with other materials. The facility offers comprehensive care to veteran patients and is one of the largest VA facilities ever built. Designers of the facility had achieved great success by specifying IMPs for the facades of other such facilities and did the same for the new Phoenix clinic. This included ones that created flat, flush walls for the entryway. The panels seamlessly integrated with glass panels and served as a feature to welcome patients into the center.

Installation and Durability

Compared to a traditional rainscreen product, IMPs deliver significant benefits to time and cost savings on installation. Specifying an IMP replaces all other components for installing the building envelope. Depending on the location and climate, there are factors where efficient construction is hard to achieve thanks to conditions such as cold temperatures, high winds, and heavy rain. Compared to other materials, IMPs can be a quick fix. By requiring only one pass around the building, installing IMPs save on coordination of trades, reducing time that crews spend on a construction site. This can lead to lower costs.

When it comes to durability, IMPs deliver as well. Traditional single-skin panels with a thinner profile will begin to bow in extreme heat, creating a wavy or distorted look. However, with an IMP, the steel is adhered to a foam core to make the panel thicker. The stress from a fastener that often causes distortion of a panel is greatly reduced or even eliminated with an IMP. Concealed fasteners attach to the entire assembly rather than a single layer of steel.

The Smart Choice for Aesthetics and Performance

When building or renovating a space, architects and designers have a host of factors to consider for the materials of the façade. Does it create the desired look and feel that will set the building apart and give it curb appeal? Is the material durable and resistant to the elements and long-term wear and tear? Will it require constant maintenance to retain its look? And is it a product that will produce long-term benefits when it comes to energy efficiency and sustainability?

IMPs create the ideal formula for countless advantages to designers, architects, contractors, and installers – design freedom, verifiable credentials when it comes to performance, and easy-to-calculate savings on time and money on the job site.