Aluminium Composite Panels (ACPs)
The fallout from the Docklands fire and the ongoing debate (at the highest level of government) has resulted in changes to not only ACPs in the market place, but also, tangible and actionable new requirements under the NCC and State and Territory regulations.
CMI has been in consultation with a number of industry stakeholders regarding the use of composite panels. This includes the Victorian Building Authority (VBA), Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) and the Joint Accreditation Scheme-Australia New Zealand (JAS-ANZ). CMI have also been in discussions with several prominent building surveyors regarding future use of the CodeMark Certificate of Conformity as well as the evidence required in the use of the CodeMark Certificate of Conformity.
CMI’s discussions with the VBA have resulted in the requirement for a performance solution in support of the product. This is required either on a case by case basis for each building or part of the supporting evidence within the CodeMark Certification Certificate. This is due to the VBA’s position on the limited application of Deemed-to-Satisfy clauses for combustible products. For example, specification C1.1 Clause 2.4 requires the attachment not to cause an undue risk of fire spread. This is a performance detail within the DtS clauses which can only be demonstrated through evaluation to the Performance Requirements by an appropriately qualified engineer.
Discussions with the ABCB indicated that a product Evaluation Report by CMI is required with support from a professional fire engineer. In addition, the ABCB have advised that the CodeMark Certificate of Conformity will have a format change to be introduced in late June or early July. The purpose of this change is to greatly enhance the mandatory information contained on the Certificate of Conformity. The proposed format will provide a more useful document that facilitates the granting of consent on building projects. By having an Evaluation Report supporting the certificate, the information will be transposed from the Evaluation Report to whatever format the certificate may take. During this time, it is considered important that a consistent Evaluation Report be generated.
So where to from here?
1 – Test evidence
ACPs will need appropriate testing on a small and large scale. This applies to all panels on an individual basis.
For internal use of the panel, the following testing is required:
- ISO 9705
Any testing from 1 May 2016 will require documentation detailing a group number under AS 5637.1:2010 from testing to:
- ISO 9705 or
- AS/NZS 3837
For external use of the panel, the following testing is required:
- Core testing to AS 1530.3
- Assembly testing to AS 1530.3 (panel as a whole)
- Full scale façade testing
- NFPA 285
- BS 8414 or ISO 13785.2 (independent of AS 5113)
- AS 5113 (BS 8414 or ISO 13785.2)
- Performance evaluation by a professional fire engineer registered on Engineers Australia NER demonstrating compliance of the product against the Performance Requirements CP2 and CP4.
From the above testing and performance solution additional information relating to the product such as installation manual as well as technical fixing detail for various configurations will be needed. This includes walls, around doors and windows, awnings and the like.
CMI will then complete an Evaluation Report of the product which will be publicly available and supplement the CodeMark Certificate of Conformity.
The CodeMark Certificate of Conformity will be updated in its current format following review of the testing, performance solution and installation details.
When the ABCB releases the final formatting of the enhanced CodeMark Certificate of Conformity, CMI will make the necessary changes as required in consultation with the Certificate Holder. The details will be extracted from the Evaluation Report, which will remain consistent.
Currently, many Certificates of Conformity are at different stages based on various changes. CMI requires that all Certificates of Conformity including new applicants meet the CMI Acceptance Criteria for ACPs with their supporting evidence.
CMI is committed to following directions set by the ABCB, JAS-ANZ and Building Consent Authorities to build confidence in the evidence and application of the CodeMark Certification Scheme.
2 – Next step
As a consequence of the requirements outlined above, the minimum requirement for CMI to approve a new certification or to maintain a current ACP certification will be:
- A CMI Evaluation Report
- A performance solution
- Full scale testing
- Core material testing
- Assembly testing
Many CodeMark Certificate Holders will need additional testing or information (Supporting Evidence) to validate their certificates. CMI will work with all ACP applicants and current Certificate Holders to assist in achieving the conformity requirements. CMI will complete a technical analysis of each ACP certificate, and a gap analysis report will be provided to current Certificate Holders.
Update – August 2016
Please note that the small scale testing of AS/NZS 3837 and ISO 5660.1 are no longer accepted, and have been removed from the article.