In response to widespread confusion regarding what qualifies as a Metal Composite Material (MCM), The Metal Construction Association (MCA) has published a comprehensive and authoritative white paper, "What Is A Metal Composite Material?" and made it available as a free download in three parts on its website:


International Building Code (IBC) defines a Metal Composite Material (MCM) as "a factory-manufactured panel consisting of metal skins bonded to both faces of a solid plastic core." The IBC also has an entire section (1406) dedicated to the use of MCM in construction.


“IBC Section 1406 contains considerable detail about physical and fire performance and the required testing to allow the use of MCM on a variety of construction types," says Karl Hielscher, MCA's Executive Director.  “Physical and fire performance can vary from product to product, and therefore, the end user must be certain the MCM panels that are chosen meet the code requirements.”


The unique manufacturing process that goes into creating MCM panels makes them lighter and more versatile and flexible than a solid metal of similar thickness—qualities that have helped transform modern architecture. With designers using MCM more frequently and for high-end monumental projects, this white paper provides valuable information regarding MCM production, skins, skin performance, core material and performance and more.


"While the end product may look visually similar when first installed, long-term flatness, delamination, and fire performance can vary from product to product," Hielscher points out. "The end user must be certain the panels meet the code requirements used as an MCM."