A fix for building envelope longevity, aesthetics and sustainability


The choice of fasteners for roofing and cladding determines how well the building envelope stands the test of time. SFS’ Andy Stolworthy explains

Innovation and creativity by many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the cladding sector are shaping how buildings are designed, built and refurbished. In the pursuit of meeting the brief for originality, visual appeal and budget, however, it’s much smaller, often overlooked components – the fasteners – that hold the key to ensuring the building envelope delivers on its promise.

Fundamentally, how well a fastener performs during the building envelope’s lifespan depends on the type of metal used in its manufacture. Austenitic stainless steel fasteners offer enhanced resistance to corrosion, compared to coated carbon steel products. Many specifiers and clients, however, are now upgrading the specification further by choosing A4 (316 grade) stainless steel, rather than the widely accepted A2 (304 grade).

A4 fasteners

A4 stainless steel is gaining traction as the preferred fastener material for numerous reasons. A4 fasteners simply outperform A2 fasteners, by offering better corrosion resistance and durability, making them more suitable for aggressive environments like coastal areas.

Additionally, A4 warranties are considerably longer. Depending on building location, site and system application, SFS intec can provide meaningful warranties of up to 40 years where SFS A4 316 stainless steel fasteners are used in the building envelope.

The shift to A4 fasteners comes down to the movement, driven by initiatives like BIM, to create better quality buildings, with greater certainty for clients/users and reduced operational expenditure. With A4, the building could have an extended service life, with lower maintenance demands or risk of premature façade replacement. A4 fasteners, therefore, are a more sustainable option – a tiny additional capital expenditure cost will deliver significantly amplified savings in the operational expenditure budget. And, with the structured data available from SFS, architects can have full visibility of this within BIM models.

A4 stainless steel fasteners also enhance the building’s long-term aesthetics, especially when they are colour-matched to the roofing or cladding system.  SFS offers powder coated fasteners for a more uniform finish, that is less prone to damage during installation and more durable during the building envelope’s lifespan. Fastener heads can be matched to any RAL colour, with bespoke finishes also achievable, produced in-house to ensure product consistency.


As a world leader in the design and manufacture of fastening systems, SFS has worked closely with OEMs for decades at the early stages of panel conception and delivering their vision for surface designs, textures and colours. We also work with specifiers, so they are fully informed about the solutions available and understand the considerations to secure panels most effectively.

The SFS Specifications Team offers a range of RIBA-accredited CPD seminars and help to write NBS Plus clauses to support the entire specification process. Alongside SFS’ technical and sales teams, they support architects and contractors in their endeavours to create and build sustainable, beautiful buildings that stand the test of time.

More information is available at www.sfsintec.co.uk 


Andy Stolworthy

Product and Market

Development Manager



Please note this is a commercial profile


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