Aluminium encyclopaedia

Building construction

The first, albeit isolated applications of aluminium in the construction of buildings occurred in the 1890s for roofing (for example, the dome of San Gioacchino"s church in Rome), elevator gratings and balustrades. In the 1920s, enhanced corrosion resistance and new methods of colouring thanks to the development of anodising, coating and new alloys also led to the use of windows, doors, roller blinds, rolling grilles and frames for glazed areas (such as display windows) made from aluminium. However, it is only since the end of the Second World War that aluminium has been used as an actual building material, at first for roof edging, wall coping and façade cladding.

Today, building construction is an important field of application for aluminium. Profiles with complex cross sections make system solutions possible: individual components fulfil several purposes simultaneously (for example profiles can have a support function as well as carrying electrical cables) and complement each other like building blocks in a construction kit. The most important applications of aluminium that are economically attractive thanks to its corrosion resistance and the resultant long service life are:

  • window frames and window sills made from anodised or plastic-coated profiles, available in many designs, both for new buildings and for the modernisation of older ones
  • blades and shutters made from profiles and strip used for solar shading
  • doors made from profiles and sheet, widely used in residential and industrial building
  • window frames and doors made from a combination of aluminium and wood, particularly suitable for living areas
  • roof structures using profiles range from simple lean-to roofs to frames for roofs made of low-emissivity glass and include large-span arched roofs
  • roofing such as sheeting with a trapezoidal or corrugated profile and roof tiles
  • lightweight loft ladders and spiral staircases made from profiles
  • suspended ceilings made of profiles and sheet cover the busbars and ventilation ducts of the air conditioning " frames for conservatories and solar technology
  • façade cladding with lightweight sandwich plate as a composite material. It consists of two anodised or painted outer layers with a core of heat-insulating and sound-absorbing plastic; it can be installed using rivets or screws.
  • cast plates for the decorative design of the outside surfaces of buildings
  • in civil engineering, aluminium supporting structures are also used for single or two-storey residential and functional buildings.