Steni rainscreen cladding panels at Valley Infants School

Steni rainscreen cladding panels at Valley Infants School

Five special colours of Steni’s Colour fibreglass reinforced polymer composite panels with a smooth surface of electron beam-cured acrylic (without the use of solvents) were specified by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council for the £1million redevelopment of Valley Infants School.

The two-form entry infant school with 240 children on roll was built in 1957 over a single storey over two floor levels using a timber-framed modular system with single-glazed wooden windows and vertical painted timber board-clad uninsulated hollow walls.

As such, it was identified by the council’s primary capital programme (PCP) as being in the highest category and requiring major PCP action in terms of improving the structure and fabric to extend its design life and encouraging community use.

Three programmes of work comprised modernisation of the whole building external envelope, addition of a new attached 86m² community room and extension of the existing IT classroom from 37m² to 57m². A new 10m² secure entrance lobby was also included.

All the new-build elements were designed to achieve a BREEAM “Very good” rating, with 60% reduced carbon emissions.

All of the existing timber-clad walls were stripped back to the uninsulated wooden framing for inspection and making good before installation of a vapour control layer, non-combustible board sheathing, bonded dense insulation, and Steni’s rainscreen cladding on a timber support system.

Architect Marcus Russell of Solihull MBC’s building design group said: “A progression of four harmonious colours was chosen to highlight the identity of the nursery and separate year groups. As a foil to emphasis the colours, set back elements were treated in a light neutral grey to accentuate their appearance as voids against the coloured classroom blocks.

A bright yellow was selected for the nursery while the new community room and reception class is lime green and the extended IT classroom, kitchen and main entrance/admin offices blue. The library and Year 2 classroom are orange.

Steni’s Colour range comprises 44 standard colours and three gloss levels. Completely resistant to weather, water, chemicals, impact and fire (Class O performance), Steni Colour panels also feature a 40-year working guarantee.

Parents and neighbours of Valley Infants School who attended a consultation meeting felt the new colours would reflect the vibrancy of the school but expressed concern about graffiti on the cladding panels.

They were advised that “In addition to the aesthetic improvement, the replacement cladding panels would help provide additional insulation and their glossy finish would help limit and reduce graffiti, and if graffiti was to appear it could be wiped off very easily.”

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