The design of a modern building has to include a range of considerations, including aesthetics, planning considerations sustainability and the longevity of the materials. Here Richard price, Technical Director at Catnic looks at how standing seam roofing and cladding can provide a solution to meet these demands.

The correct design and specification of the roof can have a huge impact on the overall look and performance of a building. There are many possible options but one that has seen increased use in recent years is metal standing seam.

Standing seam roofing and cladding is suitable for a wide range of applications – including large retail, commercial and public buildings for which it has been used for many decades. However, it is also an increasingly popular choice for residential properties where it is being used in both urban and rural settings. In particular pre-coated metal standing seam roofing provides an excellent degree of versatility.

For example, when compared with other roofing materials such as tile or slate, standing seam roofing allows for a far greater variety of roof shapes and designs, which can significantly change the look of the property. Simple modern profiles such as mono-pitch and saltbox style roofs can be created, as well as more complex designs including clerestory, butterfly and double-pitched ‘M’ shaped roofs.

Furthermore, leading standing seam systems can commonly be installed on roofs with a pitch as low as 5 degrees. This can reduce the overall height of the building compared with a standard 40-degree pitch roof and help satisfy planning restrictions without the need to compromise the available space. In fact, a low pitch can help maximise the internal area as a 5-degree pitch can increase headroom in attic rooms by as much as 44% compared with a traditional roof.

Pre-coated standing seam also provides an alternative range of colours to choose from, with a mix of muted and traditional tones as well as striking shades such as Catnic’s Patina option in RAL 1807025.

The combination of design freedom and colour options means that metal standing seam can provide a simple and cost-effective way of recreating specific looks to help the building blend into its environment. In rural areas, for example, houses can be designed to replicate traditional agricultural architecture – another common requirement of planning authorities.

In addition to the design benefits, standing seam roofing and cladding can contribute to improving the environmental impact of the building. When evaluating the sustainability of a building material it is important to take into account the life cycle analysis of the product – its impact from cradle to grave to cradle. Roofing professionals should look for products that are Green Guide compliant and check for ISO 14001 and BES 6001 certifications. These accreditations and standards demonstrate that the materials have been sourced responsibly, the products manufactured in a way that does not damage the environment and that the company itself has taken steps to reduce its environmental impact.

For example, Catnic’s SSR2® Roofing and Cladding system is BES 6001 certified and 100% recyclable, with a carbon footprint that is three times lower than some of the leading eco-designed urban roofing products. For projects looking to achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating or above, the correct choice of materials will help maximise the credits that can be attained under the Responsible Sourcing of Materials criterion.

A further factor that must be considered is the longevity of a system as this not only has long term cost implications for the homeowner or end user but also contributes to the overall environmental impact. The more durable a product is, the less capital and natural resources are needed to maintain and eventually replace it during the life time of the building.

For a roofing system, this includes the obvious long-term resistance to the elements as well as compliance with current standards for wind loading, weather tightness and fire performance. Steel systems perform well in all these categories, with some guaranteed for up to 40 years. However, it is also important to consider how the panels are finished. A high-quality coating will help ensure greater durability, lower maintenance and provide UV protection to help the roof and cladding retain its original colour and finish.

An additional benefit of standing seam is that it provides a quicker, safer and easier installation compared with the alternatives. A pre-coated steel system is simpler to fit than zinc or aluminium alternatives as it does not require specialist skills or involve often time-consuming install processes. For example, Catnic’s SSR2® standing seam roof and cladding is seven times lighter than traditional roof tiles and has been designed with a quick fit system that reduces installation time. Pre-coated steel roofing and cladding systems can also offer material cost savings of up to 40% when compared to zinc and aluminium.

Modern pre-coated metal standing systems offer roofing professionals the design flexibility to achieve a distinctive look and overcome challenges as well as the long-term durability and sustainability required. They offer a cost-effective alternative to both traditional roofing systems as well as zinc and aluminium products.

For further information on the SSR2® Roofing and Cladding System visit: or follow @CatnicUK.