Holding Redlich – Combustible Cladding Assessments

Combustible cladding assessments for building industry professionals and fire engineers: golden goose or road to ruin?

In response to public concerns about the use of combustible building materials, the Queensland Government has introduced a new regime to assess the safety of existing cladding on buildings.

On 1 October 2018, changes to the Building Regulation 2006 (Regulation) commenced, affecting privately-owned class 2 to 9 buildings of type A or type B construction, (ie mainly, but not exclusively, commercial buildings over three story’s )[1] for which a building development approval was given after 1 January 1994 but before 1 October 2018 for building work to build the building or to alter the cladding on the building.

The new changes have ushered in a process for such building owners to assess whether buildings have potentially combustible cladding (i.e. made of a material not consistent with the Building Code of Australia (BCA)), or deemed combustible under AS 1530.1-1994.

This new regime may provide a golden business opportunity for some building industry professionals and RPEQ fire engineers with the ability to cater to this new market need. However, building industry professionals and fire engineers should carefully consider whether to undertake this type of work as there are risks involved.

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Read the full story at https://www.holdingredlich.com/combustible-cladding-assessments

 

QFES Building Application Position Statement – Combustible Cladding

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services have put out a position statement,

“To inform stakeholders involved in the development of Class 2 – 9 buildings of Type A or Type B construction in Queensland of the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services’ (QFES) expectations with respect to the fire safety performance of buildings affected by combustible cladding.

This position statement is intended to be a readily identifiable policy applied by QFES as a Referral Agency for the purposes of Section 22(2)(b) of the Planning Regulation 2017.”

For the full position statement please see https://www.qfes.qld.gov.au/buildingsafety/cladding/Pages/Cladding-Position-Statement.aspx

CMI Advisory Notice: Report Validations, Performance Requirements & Engineering Assessments, CodeMark NZ Template & Evaluation Reports.

Subject: Evidence of Compliance – Report Validations

CMI wishes to advise all our valued clients of the following requirements in relation to evidence of compliance.

It is the responsibility of the Certificate Holder to make sure that all the evidence supplied to CMI in support of your accreditation is up to date, verifiable and completed by accredited &/or competent persons.

In most cases testing bodies place a validity period on their reports. This means that reports that are approaching the end of this period will require revalidation by the testing authority. Where testing bodies do not place a validity period of testing reports, CMI suggest the testing be validated by the testing authority every 5 years, regardless of whether the testing standard has changed. This may be for a number of reasons, but generally, where the test standards remain current, it is to ensure that the test lab maintains its support of that testing.

In the case of Engineering Reports these need to be kept up to date given the changes in the standards and building codes. To ensure that you are keeping your testing current and Engineering Report, Technical Appraisals etc. current, CMI requests that all of our clients review their current testing and determine if any of the test reports or Appraisals/Evaluations require validation.

It is important to note that, in most cases, the testing body merely needs to issue a validation of the original test, this can normally be done quite quickly by the issuing body. Engineers and technical bodies will similarly re-issue their report having conducted a review of the material.

When conducting annual surveillance and accreditation audits, CMI will be advising Certificate Holders if we note testing that is due for revalidation. CMI believe the above direction is fair and reasonable and shows us that you keep current and up to date records and provide the expected Quality Assurance of your product in the market.

Subject: Performance Requirements & Engineering Assessments

In light of the changes to the Building Code and increased surveillance, moving forward, there will be a need for Engineering Report and Evaluations to be provided in support of any Performance Requirements of the BCA or NZBC being claimed. Please note, this is not a requirement for Deemed to Satisfy (DtS) provisions of the BCA in most cases. An example where an Engineering Report would be required for both the DtS and Performance Requirement is Structure. Clients will be required to engage the services of a suitably Qualified Engineer to assess the test data and report on the product/system’s compliance with the relevant building code and confirm the applicable clauses, inclusive of sub-clauses.

CMI may be able to assist in recommending Engineering firms for this work. Please notify us should you require this assistance.

Subject: New Zealand CodeMark Certificate of Conformity (CoC) Template

As of mid July, CMI has been given the approval to amend the single page CodeMark New Zealand CoC template to an extended template that CMI have produced in line with the CodeMark Australia template. The additional real estate allows us to address matters we previously were unable to on the template supplied to Certification Bodies; such as detailed information on product/system components, tested specimens and subsequent results, evaluation methods etc.

Subject: CMI Evaluation Reports issued in conjunction with CodeMark

Given that the function of the CMI Evaluation Reports was to fill the gaps between the lack of information on the old format CodeMark CoC templates, CMI, upon consultation, has determined that having both the new format CodeMark CoC and an Evaluation Report in the market place will lead to confusion, consequently as the CodeMark CoC is now carrying the same information that the Evaluation Report would have contained, the Evaluation Reports, as related to a CodeMark CoCs, have become redundant. Consequently, CMI will not be issuing Evaluation Reports in conjunction with CodeMark CoCs and will be withdrawing any applicable Evaluation Reports. The above will become effective upon issue of your CodeMark onto the extended template CoC. Following this date, the Evaluation Report will be withdrawn and must be removed from advertising and other company literature.

For those clients who would still prefer to have an Evaluation Report, CMI will be happy to supply one, however this will require a new application and will be subject to Surveillances and Renewals similar any other Scheme offered by CMI.

CMI would like to thank our Clients for their understanding in the above matters and request that should clarification be required in relation to any of the above, please reply via email: office@certmark.org.

Testing requirements under the Building Code of Australia (BCA) – CodeMark Australia, Type Test & WaterMark

The review of the BCA 2016 Amdt 1 has resulted in the redefining of what constitutes an Accredited Testing Laboratory.

Under the requirements of BCA Volume 1, Part A1, the following definition is now stated:

CMI has been in conversation with both NATA and the ABCB and wishes to advise the following:

Any testing undertaken, to be used as evidence of conformity against the BCA, MUST BE conducted by a NATA or ILAC accredited testing body, with the test standard under its scope.
CMI WILL NOT accept testing from testing bodies that do not meet this criteria and nor should any Engineering Firms.

Clients are advised that they must be mindful of this when commissioning test reports. The test lab should be asked to provide a copy of their scope, referencing all of the test standards they are proposing to test the product against. Alternatively, you can search the scope of the laboratory on either the NATA web site https://www.nata.com.au/accredited-facility/ or through a mutually recognised accreditation body from another country https://ilac.org/signatory-search/, such an IANZ in New Zealand http://www.ianz.govt.nz/directory/.

Please note, in many cases, testing bodies who are not accredited will produce test reports with a disclaimer, usually; “this report is not to be used for regulatory purposes”. Such reports can not be used as evidence of compliance against the BCA.

Clients currently proceeding through Initial Certification, Certificate Changes, Surveillance Audits or Renewals, will be notified of whether any reports supplied are not valid, otherwise, CMI request that each Client complete a review of their supporting documentation and ensure that all testing  and Engineering Evaluations have been conducted in line with the above prior to your next audit activity.

If you have any questions, please email office@certmark.org or contact your Client Manager.

Both houses of the NSW parliament have passed the “Building Products (Safety) Bill 2017

The Bill is the latest in a series of steps taken nationally in a response to both the Port Melbourne “Lacrosse fire” in Victoria and the tragic Grenfell Tower fire in London. This bill is similar in its intent to the QLD Non-Conforming building products regulations.

Source: https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/bills/Pages/bill-details.aspx?pk=3471

 

Banning Combustible Cladding In Victoria

The Andrews Labor Government will ban the most dangerous types of combustible cladding from being used on Victorian buildings.

Minister for Planning Richard Wynne today released new ministerial guidelines to building surveyors – a key recommendation of the Victorian Cladding Taskforce – which focuses on buildings where people sleep or gather.

Aluminium Cladding Panels with a polyethylene core of more than 30 per cent will be banned on all multi-storey buildings. Expanded polystyrene will also be banned.

The new ministerial guidelines spell out precisely what can’t be used on Victorian building sites for suppliers and practitioners in the building chain, spelling an end to the use of dangerous, flammable materials.

Mr Wynne has directed the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) to issue a product safety alert, and building practitioners who ignore this directive will face disciplinary action from the VBA.

Last year, the Labor Government established the Victorian Cladding Taskforce to investigate the extent of non-compliant cladding on Victorian buildings.

The Taskforce is chaired by former Premier Ted Baillieu and Deputy Premier John Thwaites, and handed down its initial report in December.

The Taskforce originally identified 1,369 buildings as most likely having Aluminium Cladding Panels with a polyethylene core or Expanded Polystyrene, but already that figure is decreasing.

Of those buildings, it’s since been established that 579 have not begun construction, and a further 129 are half built.

The Labor Government has beefed up the powers and resources of the (VBA), which has already assessed 87 buildings as part of a statewide audit.

If buildings are found to be non-compliant, the VBA and Municipal Building Surveyors are issuing emergency orders, ensuring additional measures are put in place to meet the highest standards of safety.

Building practitioners are now on notice, with the Government directing the VBA to inspect more of Victoria’s buildings each year, from less than two per cent annually to 10 per cent.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Planning Richard Wynne

“We’re putting a stop to dangerous combustible cladding being used on Victorian buildings. This has been allowed to go on for too long and we’re ending it.”

“The rules are clear: if builders use these dangerous flammable products, they’ll face disciplinary action from the VBA.”

“There’s nothing more important than public safety, which is why we’re cracking down on the use of dangerous materials on worksites.”

 

Source: https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/banning-combustible-cladding-in-victoria/

False claims up in flames as company pays penalty

Queensland Government home

A Sydney based company and its director have entered into an enforceable undertaking with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), for alleged breaches of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

Between 2 July 2015 and 20 January 2016, Peter Jones, director of Fire Combat Australia Pty Ltd (which previously traded as Modakboard), imported and sold fire-resistant magnesium oxide boards which were marketed as being Codemark certified to meet international safety standards.

Mr Jones obtained CodeMark certification in 2011, via an authorised independent certification company known as CertMark International. However, in 2015, CertMark International suspended, then cancelled the Modakboard CodeMark certification.

Mr Jones failed to remove all references to the Codemark certification of the building product from his website, and later made further misleading representations about the products his business sold.

Fire Combat Australia agreed to enter into an undertaking to demonstrate its commitment to its obligations under the ACL.

The enforceable undertaking will remain in force for three years and requires Fire Combat Australia to supply documentation to the OFT if requested at any time to substantiate any claims made regarding product certification.

A penalty of $12,960 has been paid by Fire Combat Australia.

Fair Trading Acting Executive Director Craig Turner said businesses must not take shortcuts and make inaccurate claims to consumers.

“Making misleading representations about a product, particularly ones which are supposed to offer protection from fire, is reckless,” Mr Turner said.

“Purchasers of building products should be able to rely on the representations being made by traders, as misleading representations about certification may potentially inhibit or delay the final approval of the building.”

Associations and consumers may report misleading representations to the OFT by lodging a complaint at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

An enforceable undertaking by the OFT is an alternative to court action where a breach of legislation is alleged. It is considered a legally binding agreement, which if broken can result in court action being commenced for breaking a term or condition of the undertaking, as well as seeking orders from the court to enforce the original undertaking.

Source: https://www.qld.gov.au/law/laws-regulated-industries-and-accountability/queensland-laws-and-regulations/fair-trading-services-programs-and-resources/fair-trading-latest-news/media-statements/false-claims-up-in-flames-as-company-pays-penalty