Schmidt Bedachungen School
VENTILATED FAÇADES: A REWARDING ACTIVITY FOR A MEDIUM-SIZED ROOFER
LOCATED BETWEEN COLOGNE AND MÖNCHENGLADBACH, IN CENTRAL RHINELAND, ERKELENZ HAS PLAYED AN IMPORTANT PART FOR A VERY LONG TIME: THE CITY’S REGIONAL PROMINENCE DATES BACK TO 14TH CENTURY. WHILE SCHMIDT BEDACHUNGEN IS INDEED A MORE RECENT ADDITION TO THE LANDSCAPE, THE COMPANY HAS A RATHER LONG HISTORY OF ITS OWN. AS BERND SCHMIDT POINTS OUT, “WE HAVE BEEN ROOFERS FROM FATHER TO SON SINCE 1908, WHEN MY GREAT-GRANDFATHER FOUNDED THE COMPANY – AND IN THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE, WHEN MY SON OLIVER TAKES OVER, HE WILL MANAGE SCHMIDT BEDACHUNGEN IN THE FIFTH GENERATION”.
He continues: “With 16 people on the payroll, we definitely belong to the larger contenders in the Heinsberg district. Our technical equipment is comprehensive: it even includes a crane with a 36m mast. The same applies to our areas of expertise, as we cover roofing, plumbing, thermal insulation, solar systems and façades”.
A TYPICAL, FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESS WITH WIDE-RANGING ACTIVITIES
Schmidt Bedachungen has been installing ventilated façades for the last 15 years, and from the start, Trespa® was part of the company’s preferred products. “Façades account for roughly 15% of our revenue. We mainly install two types of façades – the ventilated type, with Trespa® cladding, and metal façades“, explains Bernd Schmidt. “For the latter, most of the time, we use aluminium sheet metal. We have our own metal workshop, and the available machinery includes a CNC press brake. I must point it out, though, that the Trespa® panels, our other mainstay, are in high demand. Architects are particularly fond of Trespa® products, and for most large public and commercial building projects, they are our designated contact persons”.
Bernd Schmidt continues: “As it happens, our newest project with Trespa came up yesterday. We will use ‘Focus Tribeca’ Meteon® panels. Their oriented finish allows for unusual effects. Interestingly enough, the building is a flat-roofed parsonage. We will install 250m² of ventilated façades on the front and back of the building”. He adds: “Such medium-sized projects are fairly common. It can even happen that we get commissioned by homeowners to simply clad dormers and the like with Trespa® panels. These I call our‘Trespa mini projects’. But most of the time, we indeed deal with ventilated façades for public and commercial buildings”
AN EMPHASIS ON SCHOOLS AND EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
“When an architect in charge of a larger project gets in touch with us, our size is certainly an advantage. Most of the time, our clients are located within 50km, and in this area, there are very few competitors of a similar size. In fact, over 50% of roofers employ three people or less“, according to Bernd Schmidt. For his company, the ideal façade project is in the 500 - 1,200m² size range. This includes the renovation of buildings which are about 50 years old. There is no lack of them, and many are clad in exposed aggregate concrete. Such buildings have everything to gain when the company installs ventilated façades.
Bernd Schmidt explains: “Typical projects are the pre-school in Golkrath and the Europaschule, a well-known middle school in Erkelenz; its façades underwent a complete refurbishment a few years ago. We installed a ventilated façade system that is truly standing out, as we played with Trespa® Meteon® panels in a rather original way”. The Europaschule favours an ambitious multicultural approach. Its integrative pedagogical concept sets it apart from ordinary middle schools in more than one way: 9th and 10th graders can even take Swedish as a foreign language.
“This called for a high-end façade that would make the school’s originality prominent at first sight”, as Bernd Schmidt points out. «We came up with the perfect solution by combining Meteon® panels in various colours. For most of the façade, we resorted to solid-coloured, dark grey panels. Then we highlighted certain areas by playing with a fairly wild pattern of panels in bright colours – a poppy red and two intense tones of yellow interspersed with a few grey panels. This is all the more striking since the various panel sizes emphasise the contrasts. I fine-tuned myself, by the way, the CAD shop drawings on my computer. We then ordered the panels from Janssen in Mönchengladbach, who works closely with V+V Kunststoffe in Langenfeld, the Trespa stockist for our area.
The latter cut all the panels to size according to our specs. We resized only a small number of panels on-site, to allow for some necessary adjustments”. He adds: “We have been working successfully with both companies for quite a while now. Both Janssen and V+V are service-oriented and efficient. V+V keeps a large inventory of standard finishes, which makes them available at very short notice. But even if we have to place a special order, the delivery time is a mere 4-5 weeks – which is still fairly short. Anyway, we have to the install the sub-framing first. By the time we are done with this preliminary step, our order has usually been delivered”.
I must point it out, though, that the Trespa® panels, are in high demand. Architects are particularly fond of Trespa® products” Bernd Schmidt, Schmidt Bedachungen
A host of practical and technical
According to Bernd Schmidt, the Trespa® Meteon® panels are “… much easier to work with than fibre cement or glass fibre concrete ”. He continues: “In addition, no competitor comes even close to the Trespa® collection’s range of colours and finishes.
The HPL material (High Pressure Laminate) the Trespa® products are made of comes with another benefit – the dark, neutral colour of the panel core. This is an important detail, because – due to the gaps that are needed along the edges – the core’s colour remains fairly conspicuous on the finished façade. With some competing products, the core is greenish, which is suboptimal to say the least”. With public buildings, and in particular educational institutions, Schmidt Bedachungen can benefit from two additional, valuable advantages. On one hand, HPL is extremely shock-resistant and durable. On the other, Trespa offers a fire retardant grade of the material. This makes the Trespa® panels compliant with fire safety regulations in public spaces.
Bernd Schmidt also values the four standard panel formats offered by Trespa: “Depending on the project, it can happen that we cut the panels to size ourselves. In such a case, the choice between four standard formats comes in very handy: it helps us significantly minimise cutting losses”.
“We have, for example, renovated the façades of a pre-school in the vicinity. For this project, all the cutting was done on-site. We have a powerful table saw, and this posed no particular problem. There are two things to keep in mind, though: utmost accuracy is the essence, and the dimensional dilatation of the HPL material has to be carefully factored in. In this case, the length of the panels was no less than 200cm. With such a format, it is crucial to position the anchor points adequately and allow for sufficient movement. This is not a downside of the material – it’s all about being aware of and taking intoaccount its specific behaviour. Such aspects make thorough planning all the more advisable. We have our own stringent guidelines in this respect: no project is being tackled without CAD shop drawings that include even the smallest details”.
The more product and material know-how a roofer can rely upon, the better, as Bernd Schmidt sums it up. Accordingly, he welcomes the Trespa training programme: “I vividly remember an introduction to the products I received a long time ago at Trespa – it was outstanding. The effective online support should be praised as well. We had planned, incidentally, to take part in a training session in March. It did not take place due to Covid-19, but this will only postpone our attendance. There is always something to learn about the product and the good practices that will help us become even more professional”
There can be no question about it:
Trespa® Meteon® is the Mercedes-Benz of façade panels”. Bernd Schmidt, Schmidt Bedachungen
“THE MERCEDES-BENZ OF FAÇADE PANELS”
“In fact, we rarely use any other cladding panels – and anyway, in 99% of cases, the architect has already specified Trespa® products! The exceptional range of colours and finishes alone makes it literally a no-brainer. Then, Trespa is always coming up with some new, exciting finish options – like Lumen. We have yet to use Meteon® Lumen panels for one of our projects. But this should happen soon. Looking at the samples, it struck me immediately: architects will love the product”. Bernd Schmidt concludes: “There is one more reason why we consistently favour Trespa® products over alternatives: in terms of reliability, the product simply ticks all the boxes. There can be no question about it: Trespa® Meteon® is the Mercedes-Benz of façade panels”.