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How do I link indoor and outdoor areas using panelling?

Linking indoor and outdoor areas is a growing trend, made more popular due to the proven health benefits of Biophilic Design.

One of the challenges in making a smooth connection or transition between the interior and exterior spaces of a building, is to maintain a sense of continuity between the two spaces.

There are a few ways of doing this, for example using matching flooring, using large sliding or bifold doors, or even matching furniture between the indoor and outdoor spaces, to create the feel of one space.

However, it has not been easy to match a timber panelling system from indoors to the outdoors cost effectively.  The recent requirements for non-combustibility of outdoor cladding has made this even more difficult.

Externally, there are also requirements for wind loading and durability.  So, what can Supawood do to help?

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The Diplomat Apartments, Woolloomooloo NSW


Supawood has matched its wood paneling for interior walls with matching outdoor products.

Most of our interior finishes have an equivalent exterior finish with a 10-15 year warranty for outdoor applications.

Supawood can also help you with what detailing options that are appropriate for outdoor areas.


Fire Compliance

Apart from durability issues, exterior cladding systems have different fire requirements to indoor panelling systems, which is not always understood.

What makes this ambiguity even worse is that suppliers in some cases, are still handing out certifications that are invalid and are now out of date since the BCA of 2019.

Incorrect certifications currently being handed out include AS1530.3 for outdoor areas and AS3837 for indoor areas, so watch out for these.

AS1530.3 is no longer valid for commercial buildings of two stories or more, and AS3837 is no longer valid for materials that have openings or gaps, and plastic materials that shrink in a flame.


It is now required that cladding, lining, and attachments must all be rated as non-combustible for all commercial buildings of two stories or more.

This means a sports hall with a mezzanine or classrooms on another level now must have non-combustible linings to the sports hall.

Likewise, a very popular product, timber composite cladding, is no longer compliant for commercial buildings as it is combustible.

Supawood’s exterior products are made of aluminium and we have a non-combustibility test for these products.



The pandemic has permanently changed the way commercial buildings look and function—and the change has gone beyond mere Covid-type controls.  Developers and architects are observing the way commercial building users engage with the landscape and outdoor spaces. COVID-19 has contributed to accelerating this trend.

The desire for comfortable outdoor spaces at commercial properties has grown tremendously in the past decade. Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, this trend was already emerging. People want to spend more time outside.

Also think about drawing persons into your building.  An attractive entrance can entice persons into a building, the outside appearance connects them with the inside beyond.


ANZ House, 15 Moore St, Canberra ACT

Commercial entrances with large soffits

Seamless connection of indoors and outdoors is an imperative because it is so well suited to the Australian climate and lifestyle. Creating a perfect transition between your indoor and outdoor spaces is a brilliant way to create an illusion of more space within your building, without expanding your building footprint.

Large decorated outdoor soffits, especially with a linear pattern directing persons towards the entrance, coupled with attractive timber wall panels, help draw people indoors.


This blurred line between interiors and exteriors is becoming stronger as more businesses utilize designs with indoor/outdoor spaces.

To encourage people to make the most of their outdoor living spaces, contemporary architects are looking for ways to blend the boundary between inside and out, to facilitate an everyday connection with nature.

Bridges or other covered connections between buildings are also used in this manner.

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Abbotsleigh School for Girls, Wahroonga NSW

Outdoor entertaining or function areas

There is certainly more interest in creating larger and more functional outdoor spaces than ever before. Places where people won’t just take a quick break, but have an outdoor meeting or get their work done outdoors. Or it may be where they meet with clients or hold a lunch event.

Outdoor relaxation or exercise areas

If you operate or manage a commercial property—whether it’s a corporate campus, a school, a hospital, or shopping centre—your clients do want to be outside. And there’s a growing expectation that these amenities will be available to them. So, creating enticing outdoor areas may not only draw more people to your property but will help keep them there longer.  Think of how even you would prefer making a long phone call in an outdoor environment, rather than an indoor one, where there is always the uneasy feeling that somebody may hear you or be listening in.

The goal today is to create something that is enticing and where people will want to spend time. Commercial properties are adding and enhancing outdoor areas in many ways.  In what way will you make the most of your inside-outside links?

Supawood can help with all aspects of your project, including durability, fire compliance, matching of finishes, acoustics, engineering, access, services, and any custom design features.

If you would like Supawood to help you technically or with the design aspects of your inside-outside project, please contact us.

Biophilic Panels Taronga Wildlife Retreat Restaurant
Tarong Wildlife Retreat Reception Lounge
Fire and acoustic rated timber cladding and linings for sustainable design at Wildlife Retreat, Taronga Zoo, Sydney NSW

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