By Joshua Bowditch

The Prospect of Using Fairview Architectural Products in Florida

Presenting a solution to the need in Florida for alternative building products as factors to sustainability is Fairview Architectural, manufacturer of innovative cladding panels. For decades, massive quantities of concrete have been used by the building industry in Florida. Offsetting the use of conventional types of concrete can be achieved by using alternatives that exemplify dematerialization, the concept of using less material to fulfill an intended purpose, as in cladding a building. This correlates with less embodied resources, lighter weight load, and in most cases, cost savings. Vitrabond® FR (fire-retardant) and Vitrabond G2® (non-combustible) by Fairview Architectural are 4mm (0.157 inch) aluminum composite panels that use much less aluminum than conventional 1/8” aluminum plate, thereby having the advantages of aluminum but in significantly lower quantity.

Exceeding Hurricane Standards

Fairview Architectural North America has Florida Product Approval for HVHZ (High-Velocity Hurricane Zones) use of Vitrabond® FR and/or VitrabondG2® as integrated with their Arrowhead® attachment system.1 Florida Product Approval is required in compliance with the Florida Building Code for using products as building envelope components anywhere in the state, and the HVHZ is defined as Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. The Florida Building Code is increasingly stringent, with an updated edition every three years. Products are evaluated according to test protocols depending on their intended application.2

Rainscreen Principle

The Arrowhead® system, collectively with Fairview Architectural’s aluminum composite panels, is efficiently used in exterior wall assemblies consisting of 1/2” fiberglass mat gypsum sheathing over light gauge steel framing. The system is referred to as a rainscreen, which is double layered construction separated by an airspace gap. The exposed outer layer blocks nearly all of the wind-driven rain, and shades the back-up layer, a continuous air/water barrier membrane applied directly over the sheathing, from exposure and the weathering effects of direct sunlight. In principle, though the rainscreen cladding is an open joint system, it is pressure-equalized so that moisture is not driven inward, and self-ventilating to allow escape of incidental moisture.3

Exceptional Finishes

Vitrabond® panels have a polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) exterior finish meeting AAMA 2605 performance standards,7 providing an exceedingly high level of durability,8 and resistance to dirt accumulation because of its fluoropolymer formula.3 Fairview Architectural has extensive options regarding the aesthetics of PVDF finishes, and offers architects the opportunity for coordinating custom finishes. The variability of formulations allows for a wide range of colors, gloss, and special effects such as metallic speckling.8 The finish is factory-applied by coil coating,6 a highly automated and highly efficient process. On a continuous coil coating line, the aluminum sheet is uncoiled, pretreated, primed, coated, cured in a finish oven, then recoiled. The continuous coil process minimizes liquid paint waste with nearly a 100% transfer efficiency, and also accommodates controlled collection of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).9 The exterior finish coating is extremely resistant to adverse conditions, including salt spray in coastal environments.8

Coordination and Subcontracting

The decision to use these products should be deliberated early on in the planning stages to be integral to the overall design. Moreover, the supply chain consists of Fairview Architectural as manufacturer and a separate, typically local entity as fabricator. Fabrication of panels ready to mount on the wall assembly involves cutting to size, then routing and folding at the perimeter edge to result in a continuous return for attachment of respective panels. In Florida, the rep firm for Fairview Architectural is Building Envelope Associates. They provide consulting, design assistance, engineering support, and liaison with local fabricators and installers.


This article of Architectural Stewardship was sponsored by Fairview Architectural North America.

1L. Roberto Lomas P.E. 2022. Florida Product Approval #25812.1.
2International Code Council, Inc. 2020. Florida Test Protocols for High-Velocity Hurricane Zones, 7th Edition (2020).
3Ehrlich, B. 2014.By Joshua Bowditch
4Arrowhead® Information Flyer. 2020. Fairview Architectural.
5DrJ Engineering, LLC. 2021. Technical Evaluation Report TER 2006-02 Arrowhead® Fastening System. Fairview Architectural.
6Fairey, P. 1994. Radiant Energy Transfer and Radiant Barrier Systems in Buildings. FSEC Publication DN-6. Florida Solar Energy Center.
7Vitrabond® Technical Manual. 2020. Fairview Architectural.
8Iezzi, R. A. 2015. Polyvinylidene Fluoride-Based Coatings Technology. In: ASM Handbook, Volume 5B, Protective Organic Coatings. K. B. Tator (ed.)
9Pilcher, G. R. 2012. Market Analysis Preview: Coil and Extrusion Coatings. In: CoatingsTech. American Coatings Association

About the Author: Josh Bowditch
As a native resident with architectural experience and environmental regard, Josh Bowditch is intent on publishing about sustainability in the architectural and building construction industry locally. From being in the architectural profession, Josh has an understanding of the processes involved. Is it possible to reconcile environmental considerations with development? The word sustainability has various connotations but indeed can be viewed in the context of stewardship. Read previous article.