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General building approval: GKD metal mesh façades are regulated in line with building guidelines

Trainers from 58 chambers of trade and metal construction guilds form a network of the Stainless Steel Information Center (ISER), which focuses on all topics in and around stainless steel and its processing. Its latest training seminar examined subjects as diverse as duplex steels, the general building approval (abZ) and 3D metal printing with stainless steels. The highlight of the two-day event at the Aachen Chamber of Trade was a visit to the internationally leading technical weaver GKD – GEBR. KUFFERATH AG (GKD) in nearby Düren. GKD metal mesh façades are the only ones worldwide to have been given a general building approval, thus making them regulated building products – bringing all the associated advantages for installers, architects and building owners.

As an organization for the manufacturing, processing, trading and surface refinement of stainless steels, ISER regularly provides information on innovations, standards and processes relevant to practical applications. On the second day of this year’s training for around 50 training supervisors from all over Germany, the focus was on mesh façades with general building approval. Until now metal mesh façades were an unregulated product, as the strength of the stainless steel alters through forming during the weaving process and the chosen mounting fixtures also influence the overall structure. After four years of preparatory work GKD has become the world’s only manufacturer to have received the general building approval (abZ no. Z-14.7-795). Not only is this required for more and more projects in Germany, but increasingly also for international tender offers. Alongside exterior and interior façades, the general building approval for metal mesh façades from GKD also covers freely suspended ceilings and vertical fall guard protection elements made of stainless steel. Therefore, tensioned solutions consisting of GKD metal mesh and mounting fixtures are the only products of this type that do not need time-consuming and expensive approval on a case-by-case basis for architectural applications, but instead can demonstrably be used throughout Germany in accordance with state building codes. This full conformity with standards applies for the GKD cable meshes TIGRIS and OMEGA 1520 as well as for the spiral mesh ESCALE 7×1 with the accompanying mounting fixtures. These qualify as tested building products for the area of façades listed in the German Construction Products Regulation.

Many advantages for metal constructors
The advantage this brings when gaining approval was particularly important to the trainers from the chambers of trade and metal construction guilds who were in attendance at the course, as it means that planners, installers and building owners are always on the safe side. GKD meshes and mounting fixtures have been among the most popular products for metal mesh façade design for almost three decades. Moreover, because they are regulated structures with the general building approval, approval on a case-by-case basis with all the associated uncertainties is no longer necessary. For façade and metal constructors, this brings with it a range of advantages: for instance, as a special permit is no longer needed, they save considerable amounts of time and money. On the other hand, their conformity to standards also makes these GKD metal meshes ideal for smaller building projects. In addition, architects can invite tenders and inspect samples for mesh façades with regulated products so that building owners have a sound basis even at an early stage in the decision-making process. Structural and specialist engineers also benefit from the binding verification of the dimension and performance values.

After a lecture describing and discussing the various design possibilities offered by tensioned metal meshes from GKD, the trainers took the chance to get a glimpse behind the scenes of the world market leader for metal mesh. In small groups they experienced at first hand how industrial meshes with wire diameters of 20 µm, process belts and metal fabrics are manufactured at the third-generation family business.

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