Spotlight: Insulated Metal Panels

At Western Steel Buildings we specialize in prefab metal buildings and structural metal building solutions.

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Benefits of Building with Insulated Metal Panels 

As we near the start of 2022, if you’re still building with concrete tilt or precast, you need to ask yourself why? The building envelope has evolved, and Insulated Metal Panels (IMPs) are changing the future of new construction. Major retailers like Ikea, Whole Foods, Amazon and more are choosing pre-engineered steel building systems clad with IMPs as their construction method of choice. Is this new building solution that much better than the others? Yes. 

Perhaps the most unique feature of IMPs is that they combine a finished interior liner, the insulation layer which is a polyisocyanurate foam core, factory applied vapor shield, and exterior metal panel into a single cladding unit. This means installing IMPs is an extreme timesaver. If you compare this to tilt, once tilt panels are produced onsite, they then need to be installed, after installation they need to be insulated. After insulation they need to be lined. The numerous sub trades of tilt installation are obsolete with IMP, it’s a more efficient and cost-effective building solution.  

But wait… there’s more. Below we’ve compiled the Top Five Reasons to Choose IMPs, and the Top Five Questions Regarding IMPs.

Top Five Reasons to Choose IMPs:

1.    Energy Efficiency | IMPs provide a secure and weathertight thermal envelope utilizing a tongue and groove seam. With thermal values ranging from R-20 to R-64 they offer superior energy efficiency.

2.    Architectural Features | IMPs are appealing and available in a wide variety of panel profiles and colors.

3.    Time Saver | The all-in-one composition of IMPs is an incredible time saver during install, shortening project schedules, minimizing delays, and decreasing the need for multiple trades.

4.    Economical | Western Steel Building Systems coupled with IMP provide one of the best costs per square foot compared to traditional building types. In addition, Federal state and/or local governments often offer incentives for using sustainable or “green” products that meet energy efficiency requirements. 

5.    LEED Accredited | IMPs include a minimum 30 percent recycled steel content, making them 100 percent recyclable and reusable, contributing to the numerous LEED credits and net-zero energy targets. Numerous LEED Credits including low-emitting materials, water efficient landscaping, water use reduction, optimizing energy performance and more. 

Top Five Questions Regarding IMPs: 

1.    Are you able to repair IMPs if they are damaged? Since IMPs are non-structural, they cost less and take less time to repair than tilt. Tilt walls are a structural component and support the roof. Cracks in tilt can be fixed with epoxy, this usually renders the tilt wall stronger than before. However, if a semi-truck accidentally backs into a tilt wall, since it is a structural element, it is a very expensive replacement. In addition, the roof will have to be supported while the damaged tilt wall is replaced. Conversely, if a semi-truck backs into an insulated metal panel, the damaged panel and the two surrounding panels will need to be replaced. No worries about extra costs to support the roof while it is repaired since IMPs are not structural. 

2.    How does this affect resale value? IMPs provide a superior life span in addition to a superior insulation value, creating lower operating costs. IMPs deliver a high R-value per inch and can be used to meet energy codes or achieve a net-zero energy output. The lifespan of a metal building is the same as concrete, they are both durable and resilient building solutions.

3.    What is the time frame to receive a steel building system with IMP? Western Steel can provide a steel building package in as little as 3.5 months compared to tilt lead times of close to 12 months.  

4.    Concrete Tilt has minimal maintenance, but what about IMPs? The closed cell foam construction of IMPs coupled with their concealed fastener makes them virtually maintenance free. In addition to our standard paint systems, we can provide multilayered coil coat systems formulated to withstand a variety of aggressive environments. These specialty formulated paint finishes are an excellent barrier against corrosive or extreme weather conditions.

5.    Are IMPs adaptable to complex designs? IMPs can be run vertically or horizontally to achieve the optimal aesthetic. There are numerous colors and panel profiles to choose from, and with their lightweight nature they are more versatile than concrete tilt walls.