The Southern African Institute of Steel Construction (SAISC) has highlighted the innovative use of steel cladding and the benefits of this durable, energy-saving and environmentally-friendly building option.

Steel cladding has been viewed as functional rather than aesthetic. However, it is increasingly being installed as both roof and side cladding on upmarket residential and commercial buildings across the country, explains the SAISC chief executive officer, Amanuel Gebremeskel.

A rising trend

Developers and architects are delving into what can be done with steel cladding materials – a trend made evident at the 2022 Steel Awards, which showcased several uses of cladding across categories, including in homes, offices and warehouses.


A citrus-processing warehouse in the Eastern Cape won the popular choice vote at the Steel Awards event. Using a unique combination of steel cladding and vents, this building does not require any artificial heating or cooling, saving energy costs and cutting carbon emissions. Thermal efficiency does not stem from the steel per se: it is the combination of the cladding and the vents which produces the overall energy savings.

Fire prevention

“The relationship between fires and cladding is a major and much-needed research topic around the world,” says Gebremeskel. The SAISC’s fire research centre at the University of Stellenbosch has attracted global attention for its research about cladding systems that can slow down or stop the progression of fires in informal settlements.

Specifications and certification

Technical specifications help to raise standards and prevent the use of substandard or non-compliant cladding. Industry experts – including Gebremeskel and other SAISC team members – are working on product specifications and certification, creating a reliable testing regime for cladding properties, such as wind and gravity-induced loads, and to develop technical standards for products and their installation.

Top tip: The SAISC is one of six similar industry professional bodies globally which track and understand key steel sector trends.

For more information, contact the SAISC:
Tel: +27 11 726 6111

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