Aluminium’s range of unique properties make it the perfect material for a wide range of building applications – meaning that designers and architects can realize their creative and innovative designs for intricate, stable and lightweight structures without concern of warping or high maintenance costs.
Aluminium’s properties make it the material of choice for building and construction:
Aluminium building products are made from alloys that are weather-proof, corrosion-resistant and immune to the harmful effects of UV rays, ensuring optimal performance over a very long lifetime.
Aluminium’s combination of properties mean that it can be easily shaped by any of the main industrial metalworking processes, including rolling, extrusion, forging and casting, guaranteeing virtually unlimited design potential.
Aluminium’s light weight makes it cheaper and easier to transport and handle on site.
The use of aluminium in buildings assists architects meet performance specifications while minimising expenditure on foundations. Alloyed aluminium can be as strong as steel at only a third of the weight.
Aluminium’s natural oxide coating provides an effective protective barrier against elements that wear other metals.
A layer of insulated aluminium siding is four times more effective than uninsulated wood siding, four inches of brick, or ten inches of stone masonry.
Aluminium is 100% recyclable and uses only 5% of the energy used to make the original product. Almost all aluminium used in construction is recycled.
Like many industries today, the building and construction industry is faced with many environmental challenges. As the world looks towards a more sustainable future, there are many issues that need to be considered, including: impact on climate change; the materials used; and methods of waste disposal. As the world grows to recognise the importance of the lifecycle of the building and its fittings and that that must be balanced against the realities of design, function and economy, aluminium has increasingly become the material of choice.
There are many benefits of using aluminium in construction and building applications. The websites and web pages listed below are just a few that the AAC considers to provide useful information:
Council for Aluminium in Building website (UK)
The Council for Aluminium in Building’s aim is to support the interests of the architectural aluminium industry. This website contains a brief industry description, as well as pages for: news, projects, downloadable literature items, technical publications, images and links.
Building and Construction section of the Alcoa Worldwide website
Alcoa is the world’s leading producer of primary aluminium, fabricated aluminium and alumina. This section of the Alcoa Worldwide website contains an overview; information on green building; market trends; success stories; news; history; business contacts; a product catalogue; and an MSDS search function – all specific to building and construction.
Construction Sector page of the All About Aluminium website
The All About Aluminium website has been constructed by Rusal to provide information about aluminium to “anyone who seeks it”. This page has information on the history of aluminium applications in construction, dates, names of important figures, some statistics, and a couple of images. There is also a link to further information titled Planning Repairs at Home?
In the 21 century the world is looking towards a sustainable future, and aluminium in construction is destined to play a prominent role:
Green Building website by the IAI
The International Aluminium Institute released its Green Building website on 29 June 2009 which contains a wealth of information on green building with aluminium, as well as images, videos, downloadable reference material and links to external sites and more.
Commercially produced aluminium is still relatively young – just over 100 years old – aluminium has been used in building and construction for almost as long:
Fact sheet by the European Aluminium Association
This fact sheet contains information on the history of use of aluminium in building and construction, as well as images, dates, and examples of building applications.
There are many examples of aluminium in use in building applications with many informative articles showcasing such uses. Below are a few such articles:
Prefabricated Architecture in the Postmodern Age, by the Aluminum Association (USA)
Article/reference material on prefabricated architecture.
Construction News, by the Aluminum Association (USA)
This page from the Aluminum Association lists news items related to building and construction – each item heading links to the relevant page.
Please call the Australian Aluminium Council’s Technical Advice Service: 1800 642 230 for all technical inquiries.
Aluminium – Specifications, Properties, Classifications and Classes – AZO Materials
This web page contains a brief overview of aluminium as a material, as well as specifications, properties, classifications and classes.
Australian Window Association website
This website contains pages with information on standards, energy efficiency, news, FAQs and links relating to windows.
Building and Construction section of Hydro website
This section of the Hydro website provides information on aluminium applications in building and construction. Various applications are named with dedicated pages containing information on features and alloys. Sales contact can be found on right of pages.
Further technical information can be found under the Building Standards and Publications relevant to aluminium in construction headings.
Each country has building codes that must be adhered to. Australian building standards can be found at:
Building and Construction Industry section of Australia.gov.au
Internet directory for various building and construction industry associations, organisations, publications etc.
Building Codes of Australia from the Australian Institute of building website
The Building Code of Australia is produced and maintained by the ABCB on behalf of the Australian Government and State and Territory Governments. The BCA has been given the status of building regulations by all States and Territories.
Australian Building Codes Board website
The BCA contains technical provisions for the design and construction of buildings and other structures, covering such matters as structure, fire resistance, access and egress, services and equipment, and energy efficiency as well as certain aspects of health and amenity.
The AAC is working on an update to its 1994 publication Aluminium Standards Data and Design – Wrought Products, which will be tailored to the Australian market as much as possible and should be available late 2010.
Other useful publications are currently available from:
Aluminum Association (USA) – bookshop
The Aluminum Association has a number of publications that could be of use:
- Aluminum Design Manual
- Aluminum Structural Welding
- Aluminum Structures: a Guide to their Specifications and Design
- Welding aluminium: Theory and practice
Aluminum Standards and Data 2013 Metric SI
The AAC recommends the Aluminum Association’s publication Aluminum Standards and Data 2013 Metric SI as the go-to resource for key information on aluminium properties.
ASM International – Aluminium search results
This site contains 4,642 aluminium related items. Items include articles, data sheets, publications, and conference and technical papers. This is a link to the ASM International welcome page – to get to aluminium items, type aluminium in the advanced search box, on the left hand side of the page, click search.
There is a multitude of aluminium and aluminium product suppliers. Some sources that could be helpful can be found on our Producers and Distributors page.
There are a number of aluminium in building and design awards, with various categories for designers, manufacturers, and builders:
Aluminium in Architecture & Construction
The European Aluminium in Building and Architecture Awards are bi-annual prizes awarded by the European Aluminium Association and are awarded to products in which aluminium is applied in a useful and innovative manner. The entries illustrate that aluminium is the most sustainable solution, whether it is used for new buildings, to preserve a piece of national heritage or to upgrade the environmental performance of residential or utility buildings. Completed new or renovated buildings as well as building products like doors, windows, cladding, roofing & energy saving systems, building tools and machinery may apply. This website contains entry forms, press, about the awards and news.
Winners of the 2014 European Aluminium Award
Designers, manufacturers, builders and constructors can enter into various categories for the EUROPEAN ALUMINIUM AWARDS.
Nominees of the 2016 European Aluminium Award
The 2016 entries for the European Aluminium Award.