The use of natural Welsh slate for cladding is breaking new boundaries in a £20million project nearing completion in North Wales.
The new Welsh Government building near the resort town of Llandudno features approximately 2,385m2 of the renowned resource, quarried at Welsh Slate’s Penrhyn site in the mountains just a few miles away.
This extensive coverage of the building envelope is the equivalent of more than 128 tonnes of rainscreen cladding, consisting of panels measuring just 20mm thick. Contractors Cerrig believe it is the first time such a high quantity of Welsh Slate has been employed using this method of rainscreen construction.
For the standard cladding panels, Welsh Slate supplied its Penrhyn Heather Grey slate product with a polished finish. Its resistance to weathering and chemicals, and negligible water absorption, makes it an extremely durable outer shell.
Each slate panel is secured via four undercut anchor bolts back to an aluminium frame. There are 10mm gaps between each slate panel, making the removal of single panels easier than in a fixed rail system.
With the building set to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating, the project proves indigenous natural materials like Welsh slate can be used successfully as a striking architectural feature in sustainable developments.
The 8,800m2 floor area building, which will house up to 650 government office workers on three levels, features a natural ventilation system and blast-resistant glazing.
“Not long ago the standard thickness for slate cladding was 40mm but now companies like Cerrig and their suppliers are proving quality slate is just as effective at half this thickness.” Michael Hallé, Roofing Sales & Technical Manager, Welsh Slate