Roofing and Cladding in India: Keeping Pace, But not Yet Pushing the Envelope

Big Bazar

Though both roofing and cladding in construction have come a long way in the past decade, they are yet to achieve the exalted status and keen attention they deserve given their critical position in the building envelope, writes Mukta Naik.

The Indian roofing and cladding industry has undergone a sea change in the last decade, primarily because of two reasons—one, the changing needs of the Indian market with a growing number of industrial applications and two, the increasingly aware consumer who is dissatisfied with conventional options.

In fact, several myths have been busted about Indian consumers and preferences, especially in roofing and cladding.

Myth #1: Indian customers are price-sensitive

Roofing and cladding in india

Not at all; it's just value for money that the customer is looking for! The Indian buyer no longer compares per unit rates alone. If the solution offers value for money, in terms of offering extra services, durability, more features and easier maintenance, customers will go for it even if it is higher priced, within reasonable limits, of course. What this means is that a good, strong brand does go a long way in increasing sales in the long run, as there is a growing trust and reliability factor in the minds of customers.

Myth #2: The Indian market is not receptive to new technologies

Manufacturers vehemently deny this today, especially the foreign companies that are entering in India. In fact, the Indian market is at this time ready to give anything new a chance, even though manufacturers have to work a little to break the conventional mindset. Usually, there are a few reputed professionals who are known to be adventurous and they try out new techniques and materials first. If their use of it is successful, others follow suit.

Myth #3: A new technology takes 8-10 years to be accepted

Some technologies take a long while to get entrenched, either because they are prohibitively expensive or because their suitability to Indian conditions has not been adequately demonstrated. However, the penetration period of well marketed, appropriate solutions has come down to about 6 years now.

Myth #4: Customers do not pay adequate attention to roofing

Weather Tight Roof
This was true not so long ago, but today roofing is recognized as a critical area in the building envelope. Users now know how important it is to have a waterproof, weather-tight roof using modern, efficient technology and materials. Users also understand that a high quality roof means long-term savings because of added protection, low maintenance costs and peace of mind.

Myth #5: Cladding is not recognized as an important protective layer, only as an aesthetic feature

Largely, many customers think of cladding as a visual element, but the increasing emphasis on façade design in today's construction scenario indicates that customers understand that facades are the building's skin and need attention.


Though there has been considerable progress in the last decade, the rate of change cannot be said to be dramatic. The advent of metal, fiberglass and asphalt roofing has forever changed the roofing industry, which was previously restricted to conventional RCC roofs or at best, GI or asbestos-cement sheet roofing. The quality of fasteners, clip-on systems, hardware fixings and trimmings has increased considerably, allowing structures to look attractive and neat. Further, these systems allow quick installation with the least on-site time. These new technologies have also made possible long-span roofs, roofs with interesting shapes, roofs that incorporate FRP skylights, and many other variations. Tiles and shingles are also available, making metal and fiberglass roofs a part of the residential scenario as well. This aspect is now being pushed by manufacturers in India.

Cladding, from a barely known industry, is now growing in the consciousness of the consumer. In keeping with international trends, façade design has become a basic part and parcel of the design concept and identity of a building, whether commercial, retail, residential or industrial.

Metal panels are becoming de rigueur, superseding conventional stone and tile cladding because of their neat application and durability. Glass façades that double up as the building skin are gaining ground for commercial construction and increasingly sophisticated technologies for designing and managing glass façades are in the market today. Plus, façade design is looking at various aspects like energy conservation, efficiency, strength, resistance to high speed winds and vibrations, and many other factors critical to the building structure and safety.

Needed: A shift into a higher gear

Glass Facades

Clearly, these trends follow a normal growth curve that desperately needs to be catapulted into a sharper curve. This is not merely to help roofing and cladding manufacturers push their products in the country. More importantly, both roofing and cladding are critical elements of the building envelope. They protect the building from external elements, play an important role in climate control and hazard mitigation, and they define the aesthetic character of a building. For all these reasons and for the basic safety and security of the people using a structure, it is critical to keep pace with the latest trends and technologies in roofing and cladding.

Indian usage may be more or less conventional today, but with new technologies entering the market everyday, the scenario will change in the coming five years. Foreign investment and the increasingly global nature of Indian companies are factors that will speed up the change towards better technology.

A peek into the future

Cutting edge roofing and cladding technology worldwide focuses on energy management and control, ease of maintenance and superior performance. Newer and more innovative solutions are being tested everyday in all corners of the world and more so in the Western world. Many of these solutions are applicable to the Indian context and will be seen here soon, if they become commercially viable and globally marketed applications.

Here is a sneak peek at some interesting roofing and cladding experiments worldwide.

Natural evaporating roofs

There are very few roof cooling technologies that can keep out water while also blocking the sun's heat. The US Department of Energy's Inventions and Innovations Program has developed NightSky, a roof spray system that provides cooling and protection from outdoor conditions and at the same time double the life expectancy of a flat roof. It claims to cut cooling loads by at least 50%, proving to be energy efficient without causing damage to the roof structure. Although best suited to commercial, one-storey, flat roofed buildings, NightSky can also be applied to low-rise and low-sloped roofs.

Double-shell façades

An innovative use of the façade for air conditioning has made the Düsseldorf City Gate in Germany a landmark as well as a sought-after office building. Developed and applied with the help of calculations made on supercomputers in the University of Stuttgart, the double-shell façade creates a greenhouse effect in the building. It does this by using window ventilation to condition the inside air while the outside air temperature is roughly between 40-70° F. There are doors on the inside of the façade that are opened and the motorized windows on the outside are adjusted to let in the fresh air from the outside.

Another building that uses a layered façade is the Malaysia Securities Commission Headquarters at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The building has a double-layer façade that acts as a buffer between the outer and the inner atmosphere. It is the first modern facility in Malaysia with totally ductless air conditioning.

Natural Evaporating Roofs

Solar panel integrated cladding

Cladding that has solar panels integrated with it—the Manchester College of Arts and Technology (MANCAT), England, has used this innovation to reduce the energy consumption as well as to keep the building cool. Solar modules made up of photovoltaic cells are positioned in relation to the main wall. This helps to regulate the internal temperatures of the building by minimizing solar gain in the summer, and creating a thermal insulation layer to contain the warmth inside in the winter. The solar design has been provided by solar century.

Robots to clean façades

A robot that scampers up and down the building façade and cleans it—this is the innovation developed by Germany's Fraunhofer Institute of Factory Operation an Automation IFF. The robot, called SIRIUSc, uses a kinematic principle called "advanced sliding module" to move along the façade efficiently, without needing guide rails to direct it. The control system is flexible, and not rigidly programmed for any specific building. At present, the robot is installed in the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft's headquarters in Munich, Germany, an 80m tall building with a façade area of 4,000 sq m.
Click Here
To Know More / Contact The Manufacturer
Please provide your details we will contact you as soon as possible
Please let us know your name.
Please let us know your Designation.
Invalid Input
Please let us know your email address.
Please let us know your City.
Please let us know your Contact Number.
Please brief your query.
Our other value-added services:

To receive updates through e-mail on Products, New Technologies & Equipment, please select the Product Category(s) you are interested in and click 'Submit'. This will help you save time plus you will get the best price quotations from many manufacturers, which you can then evaluate and negotiate.

Equipment & Machinery
Invalid Input
Building Products
Invalid Input

Tensile - A Favoured Material of Architects & Builders

Tensile structures offer pleasing aesthetics, are energy efficient, recyclable, eco-friendly, sustainable, and use fewer resources, making them sustainable and cost-effective. Being lightweight and heat efficient, the spaces covered by tensile need less energy. Plus, tensile Read More ...

Mehler: Proven Expertise in Tensile Fabrication & Application

India is one of the fastest growing markets in textile architecture; in fact, India is showing rapid growth in all sorts of infrastructure construction. This is mirrored in the large number of under-construction and planned airports and railway projects, where tensile structures Read More ...

Serge Ferrari: Offering an Attractive Roofing Option

The tensile membrane industry in India has been growing steadily over the past few years. India’s infrastructure development projects, such as airports, metro stations, railway stations, bus terminals and stadiums, and sports complex, have been major contributors Read More ...

Lucky-Tech: Enabling Creative Freedom

India has a significant presence in the global textile industry, including the tensile industry. The Indian tensile industry is expected to continue to grow and develop in the coming years, driven by increasing demand, both domestically and internationally, and favorable Read More ...

Fabric Facades: Smart Wraps

Fabric façades are the new generation façade materials and are much more than just a textile wrap for a building; since they give savings in weight, sub-construction and material consumption are sustainable and economical. Read More ...

Revolutionary Facade Concepts

Architects have designed various types of facades over the years; each facade indicates that the construction has something distinctive to offer. Façades are the most essential architectural components, with the ability to influence the inhabitant experience Read More ...

Stainless Steel Cladding

Elegant yet durable, beauty with strength, tough but still easy to fabricate, and low maintenance cost are some of the attributes that define stainless steel, making it an ideal material for enhancing the elevation of new-age buildings and infrastructure Read More ...

Striking Ceramic Façade

Working closely with MVRDV, Agrob Buchtal created flat and profiled surfaces in a special shade of grey to create a striking ceramic outer skin for this residential complex. Ilot Queyries - the impressive new building grabs onlookers’ attention with its heights, depths, and angles Read More ...

Asian Streck Metals: Making Mesh Facades

Expanded Metal Facade Screen is a versatile and eye-catching medium which offers an interesting option for architects, consultants and interior designers looking to create unusual facades and giving buildings a distinctive character. Sidharth Saraf, Owner, Asian Streck Metals Read More ...

Fostering Connections in Architecture

Saurabh Goenka, architect and urban designer at S9 Architecture, New York, shares his approach towards creating meaningful relationships in architecture. Architecture is an amalgamation of several philosophies - grandeur, spatial ideologies, aesthetics, materiality Read More ...

Acoustic Design of Facades

One of the main difficulties in designing low energy, modern buildings is the prevention of noise break-in from the many noisy sources such as motorways, dual carriageways, trains, aeroplanes and city noise. The acoustic design of the facade becomes fundamental; and the ability Read More ...

Glamour & Creativity

Glamour & Creativity MVRDV completes second Bvlgari façade at flagship store in Bangkok. Located in the IconSiam department store – one of the largest malls in Asia – the project is the second in a series of façades designed by MVRDV for the luxury brand. MVRDV was tasked with rethinking Read More ...

City Homes With Dynamic Elevations

Vivek Gupta, CMD & Ritu Gupta, Director, of Delhi-based architectural firm Pramod Group share trends in façade design, materials, lighting, and eye-catching features. The latest trends in contemporary building facades veer towards a bold and stylish look combining Read More ...

The Metallic Look

The most common material options for metal cladding are galvanized steel, aluminium, stainless steel, zinc, copper, titanium, etc, each of which have their own strengths and weaknesses; the choice of material will be influenced by the desired aesthetics Read More ...

The Fabric Wave

A wave pattern façade was planned to camouflage the existing facade and raise the design quotient. The design team played with tensile fabric to achieve the flexibility and fluidity, which also creates a barrier from the west side sun, directly hitting the façade Read More ...

Solid Aluminum: A Clear Winner in High Rise Buildings

Solid aluminum is the material for future facades; its versatility, economics and fire compliant properties make it a clear choice for sustainable façade design, creating long-term value for the building. It is also being successfully used as a material for ventilated Read More ...