Clad in success - Cladding and Roofing NZ
Clad in success

Clad in success

An expert in aluminium facade cladding systems, Panelab brings more than 30 years’ experience designing and installing cladding solutions to the market.

Words by Justin Foote

The 1980s has come to be characterised by its flashy displays of conspicuous wealth and ‘greed is good’ capitalist mentality, which saw a paradigm shift in how we, particularly in the western world, defined society.

Architecturally speaking, the decade also saw the first real push into developing and using non-traditional construction materials—such as aluminium composite material (ACM) panels—as technological advances enabled us to produce dimensionally sound, lightweight building products.

“Minimalism was the architectural style of the day as designs became more pared back and open plan. This was particularly true in the commercial world, where traditional materials associated with wealth and trustworthiness—stone, marble and exotic timbers—were replaced with glass, chrome and aluminium for a sleek, polished look,” says Wayne Sullivan, Co-founder of Panelab.

“I was at the forefront of the adoption of ACM panels as a building material while living in Australia in the 1980s and saw firsthand how revolutionary a product it was. On my return to New Zealand in the early ‘90s, I founded WES-TEC at a time when the product was in its infancy here. Later, I also founded Symonite, which I ran until I sold it around seven years ago.”

Then, in 2017, Wayne co-founded Panelab. “It really is a niche industry and we saw a gap in the market for someone doing quality panel work.”

Panelab was contracted to supply, measure, fabricate and install the Solid Aluminium Alucolux System in Dark Grey Metallic and Ruby Red on the National Hockey Centre.

Panelab: a commitment to the best materials and workmanship

“Essentially, we design, fabricate and install panelised aluminium facade cladding and rain screen systems,” says Co-founder, Sean Sullivan. “No one else in the market was concentrating solely on what we do—a full package offering—and we knew through our experience and knowledge that we could fill that gap.”

Sean says Panelab works with architects from the design stage; taking the design specifications through validation before fabricating the panels and undertaking the installation.

Recent projects include the new Air New Zealand domestic lounge at Auckland airport and the NEO apartments in the Auckland city-fringe suburb of Grafton.

“We worked closely with Leuschke Architects on the specifications for NEO and after the shop drawings and details were finalised and signed off, we got to work measuring and fabricating the 750-plus panels that make up the facade, coming in on time and on budget.

“Part of the success of that project comes down to developing a close working relationship with CMP Construction, something we pride ourselves on achieving with all projects and all contractors. Minor detail and aesthetic adjustments are always crucial to the successful completion of any project and we guarantee hands-on site involvement with every single project to ensure everything looks perfect.

“A high level of innovation was required for the Air New Zealand building and the result is a good example of what we can achieve in keeping within budget without sacrificing quality—concluding with a client who is more than happy with both the result and cost.”

Panelux Solid Aluminium, seen here in black and white options on the Blake St Apartments, Ponsonby, is non-combustible and fully compliant with the NZBC for all commercial, industrial, residential and high rise construction.

Panelab: aluminium facade technicians

Based on Auckland’s North Shore, Panelab services the wider Auckland area and up to Mangawhai and down to Hamilton.

“We carry out a broad range of new build or reclad work from architecturally designed residential projects through to industrial units—no project is too big or too small; from $5000 to $1.5m,” says Sean.

“We have been in the fortunate position of being able to improve on the systems over the years and work with a lot of different manufacturing products. The underlying commonality is the longevity of the products—20-year product warranty, 5-year workmanship warranty—and all offer a high level of aesthetics coupled with being practically maintenance free; just need to wash the building down once a year—when you wash the windows, wash the panels.

“As well as a superior product, our real difference is that we are fully invested in the end result of each project, with myself being heavily involved in the work being carried out on site. Ours is definitely a team business with a dedicated crew of project managers; fabricators and installers.

“We tend to be the last piece of the puzzle, that’s why we concentrate on getting our process done and dusted as quickly as possible—3–5 working days from measure to back on site.

We generally have 10 live projects at various stages of production on the go at any one time; each with a different type of product and different colours.”

Learn more about the range of aluminium facade products available for your next commercial or residential project.

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