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

QLD Non-Conforming Building Products Audit Taskforce and Safer Buildings

Source: http://www.hpw.qld.gov.au/construction/BuildingPlumbing/Building/Pages/NonConformingBuildingProducts.aspx

Queensland building safety

Maintaining the safety of Queensland buildings involves many factors, including the adequacy of existing fire safety systems.

It is important to note that investigations by the Non-Conforming Building Products Audit Taskforce are in addition to an already strong building safety system in Queensland. Mandatory fire safety systems in commercial and accommodation buildings may include fire alarms, sprinkler systems, and evacuation requirements. Hospitals equally have comprehensive emergency safety systems and measures in place.

If issues are identified during the audit process, the Taskforce will work closely with building owners and local authorities to explore solutions.

While the risk of an incident is low, if you have concerns about a building, please contact the QBCC on 139 333.

Safer Buildings website

The Safer Buildings website has been established to help identify buildings in Queensland that may have potentially combustible cladding.

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) is contacting some building owners in Queensland who may be required to register and complete the combustible cladding checklist as part of the Safer Buildings website. Building owners that have not been notified must also register.

On 1 October 2018, the Building and other Legislation (Cladding) Amendment Regulation 2018 came into effect compelling building owners to complete the combustible cladding checklist to determine the type of material used on their building and whether any further assessment is required.

Technical information (PDF, 1.79MB) has been developed to provide owners of particular private buildings, building industry professionals and fire engineers with guidance on how to meet their respective obligations under the regulation to complete the combustible cladding checklist. This information supplements and extends the guidance information available on the Safer Buildings website.

For more information read the Safer Buildings for Queensland summary (PDF, 610KB) or contact the QBCC on 139 333.

What is the Audit Taskforce?

On 30 June 2017, the Queensland Government established an Audit Taskforce to conduct a targeted investigation into buildings using Aluminium Composite Panel (ACP) cladding and other possible combustible products. The Taskforce is made up of representatives from HPW, QFES and the QBCC.

The Audit Taskforce is working to identify government and privately-owned buildings of possible concern.

Work was prioritised, starting with hospitals, aged care facilities, accommodation buildings, high occupancy public and private buildings, and high-rise office buildings.

In relation to privately-owned properties, the Taskforce is supporting local governments with data to help them identify any in-scope buildings built from 1994 onwards, requiring further investigation, including:

  • health care buildings, public buildings (places of assembly), high-rise residential buildings greater than one storey or greater than 3,000m2 overall building size
  • retail facilities and office buildings greater than two storeys or greater than 3,000m2 overall building size.

Building owners may need to seek the services of an industry professional such as a fire engineer. In some cases, mitigation and remediation work may be necessary.

What are non-conforming building products?

Non-Conforming Building Products (NCBPs) can cause serious health and safety issues for Queenslanders.

NCBPs are building products and materials that are not safe, not of acceptable quality, do not meet Australian standards, or are not fit for their intended purpose.

In some cases, a product technical material may contain false or misleading statements.

This Australia-wide issue is complex, and affects industries including manufacturing, importation, retail and construction.

National program of work

All jurisdictions across Australia have undertaken audits to understand the extent of potentially combustible cladding incorporated within their respective built environments.

The national Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF) has been active in addressing the inappropriate use of potentially combustible cladding materials in Australia.

On 6 October 2017, the BMF agreed to use the available laws and powers in their respective jurisdictions to prevent the use of combustible cladding in a range of buildings depending on their classification under the building code and number of storeys.

In April 2018, the BMF reaffirmed their commitment to prevent the inappropriate use of potentially hazardous aluminium composite panel (ACP) cladding on Australian buildings. Consultation with industry will soon commence on possible options for a new system of permanent labelling for ACPs.

In addition, the BMF has made recommendations to use available laws and powers to prevent the use of ACP.

These are just some of the BMF actions contributing to the improved safety of buildings across Australia.

For more information on the BMF visit www.industry.gov.au/BMF.

Permanent Labelling System for ACP products discussion paper

The Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF) recognises the public safety concern and clear risk arising around the use of cladding that does not comply with the National Construction Code (NCC).

The Senior Officers’ Group (SOG) has consulted with industry on a discussion paper containing four possible options for a new system of permanent labelling for cladding products. Outcomes from the consultation were presented to the BMF at the last meeting on 10 August 2018. The BMF has agreed to ask Standards Australia to develop an Australian Standard for permanent labelling of aluminium composite panels to be mandated through the NCC.

Read the August 2018 BMF communique (PDF, 98KB).

Read the Permanent Labelling System for ACP products discussion paper (PDF, 257KB).

Non-Conforming Building Products Audit Taskforce Status Report

On 17 May 2018, the first Non-Conforming Building Products Audit Taskforce Status Report (PDF, 3MB) was tabled in parliament.

The report was prepared by the Independent Chair of the Taskforce, the Honourable Terry Mackenroth.

The report is the result of Taskforce investigations into the use of non-conforming combustible cladding on government and non-government (private) buildings in Queensland and combines the expertise of the Department of Housing and Public Works (HPW), Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) and the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC).

At the heart of the problem is the use of a thin layer of combustible thermoplastic material called polyethylene (PE) sandwiched between two sheets of aluminium which, when fitted externally to buildings, can contribute to fire spread.

Taskforce investigations have resulted in six recommendations to address this issue which are supported by the Queensland Government.

Read the NCBP Audit Taskforce Status Report (PDF, 3MB).

More information

Find out what else is being done to contribute to safer buildings for Queensland:

Queensland leads the way forward

Queensland is leading national work on ways to address the issue of NCBPs, whether domestically manufactured or imported.

The BMF, via its Senior Officers’ Group (SOG), has investigated the issue and endorsed a plan (PDF, 1MB) to help address the problem.

The SOG is comprised of senior officers from each state and territory as well as the Commonwealth. Queensland’s Department of Housing and Public Works is the current secretariat for the SOG and is also the Chair. The Deputy Chair is Victoria’s representative.

The BMF has asked Queensland to lead the implementation of the strategy that looks at ways to improve state and territory building regulatory frameworks.

On 24 August 2017, legislation addressing NCBPs was passed by the Queensland Parliament and commenced on 1 November 2017. This legislation was the first of its kind in Australia.

The Building and Construction Legislation (Non-conforming Building Products—Chain of Responsibility and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2017 (PDF, 628KB):

  • establishes a chain of responsibility, placing duties on building product supply chain participants (including product designers, manufacturers, importers, suppliers and installers) to ensure building products used in Queensland are safe and fit for intended purpose
  • expands the compliance and enforcement powers of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission, and the responsible Minister.

Code of Practice

To assist industry in meeting their obligations under the amended Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991, HPW has prepared a Code of Practice (PDF, 132KB).

Schedule of notified government buildings with confirmed combustible external cladding

The Queensland Government has been dealing with the issue of potentially combustible cladding since the inception of the Non-Conforming Building Products Audit Taskforce in June 2017. The Princess Alexandra Hospital was the first government-owned building found to contain combustible external cladding.

The following list represents a summary of Government-owned buildings where combustible external cladding has been confirmed within the facilities’ facade.

It is important to understand that these facilities are deemed safe to occupy whilst remedial works are being undertaken.

Interim risk mitigation measures have commenced with staff and building occupants notified. The facility is subject to heightened Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) response. Where remedial works have been completed to the satisfaction of a specialist fire engineer, such facilities will be removed from the schedule of notified Government buildings.

It is the government’s priority to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of Queensland residents and visitors where they live, work and visit.

List of buildings as at 15 October 2018

Buildings​ Asset Owner​
Princess Alexandra Hospital Queensland Health​
Logan Hospital ​ Queensland Health
Mackay Hospital Queensland Health ​

Government progress

  • 1 October 2018 – the Building and Other Legislation (Cladding) Amendment Regulation 2018 came into effect compelling building owners to complete the combustible cladding checklist on the Safer Buildings website.
  • 20 August 2018 – Safer Buildings website and combustible cladding checklist launched enabling building owners to complete a combustible cladding checklist.
  • 27 July 2018 – The Building and Other Legislation (Cladding) Amendment Regulation 2018 was announced.
  • 17 May 2018 – Non-Conforming Building Products Audit Taskforce Status Report tabled in Queensland Parliament containing six key recommendations to enhance public safety.
  • 1 November 2017 – Queensland NCBP legislation commences.
  • 24 August 2017 – Queensland Parliament passes a suite of NCBP-related legislative reforms – the most comprehensive building product safety laws in the country.
  • 30 June 2017 – Non-Conforming Building Products Audit Taskforce established in Queensland to develop a risk-based approach to deal with potentially problematic buildings.
  • 19 February 2016 – Outcomes of the SOG investigation were considered and given in-principle agreement by the BMF. The SOG released a consultation report (PDF, 1MB) to seek feedback on the best way to implement the strategies. The SOG is implementing these strategies (PDF, 845KB).
  • 31 July 2015 – BMF established the SOG (PDF, 203KB) to form a national approach to address the issue of NCBPs.

More information

For more information about NCBPs, including how to report a potential NCBP, please visit the QBCC or the Australian Building Codes Board.

To contact the SOG, please email BCQ-NCPSOG@hpw.qld.gov.au.​​​​​​​

Building Product Safety Alert : Use of ACP and EPS as external wall cladding

This Building Product Safety Alert warns building practitioners about the potential fire risks associated with the non-compliant use of Aluminium Composite Panels (ACP) and expanded polystyrene (EPS) products when used as external wall cladding and provides information on the Ministerial Guideline restricting the use of these products.

See the following linked PDF issued by the State of Victoria: https://certmark.org/downloads/Building_Product_Safeety_Alert_13.03.18_12.20pm.pdf

Fairview’s new packaging initiative for use on ACM panel types

Finding safe solutions to the non-compliant use of ACM cladding is currently a primary focus of industry regulators and businesses. Fairview keenly supports this drive, and has several updates below, which may help find effective answers to critical problems. We hope you find this informative and useful.

CertMark initiative

Fairview – in partnership with CertMart – is launching a new packaging initiative to further assist people to correctly identify and use ACM panel types. While our current panels do feature inkjet identification stencils on each panel, all Fairview ACM panels will soon feature striking new red, amber or green labels clearly reinforcing panel types and suggested usage.

CertMark CEO John Thorpe said: “This is a timely and effective initiative by CertMark and Fairview to ensure each panel has a definition of the core material and the applicable class of building the panel can be installed on”.

Fairview informs Senate Committee

Having previously (2015) briefed and met with politicians interested in the safety of ACM panels in Australia, Fairview was again able to address a Senate Inquiry on 19 July. Our CEO Andrew Gillies – supported by key technical staff – presented Senators with expert insights and information about initiatives we are pursuing to facilitate better understanding of panel technologies and safety procedures. At the hearing, Fairview supported a suggested ban on the import of ACM panels with a PE core.

State task forces

Fairview Architectural also welcomes the Victorian Government’s task force to fast-track the investigation into non-compliant cladding. Architect and former Liberal Premier Ted Baillieu and former Labor deputy premier John Thwaites will lead an audit of buildings to ensure they adhere to safety standards. We trust our new labelling initiative will support ongoing audit works.

Fairview also welcomes the formation of similar agencies in other states and territories.

Kind Regards,

ANDREW GILLIES
MANAGING DIRECTOR | M +61 4 29 034 395

FAIRVIEW ARCHITECTURAL
P +61 2 6352 2355 | F +61 2 6352 3115
E andrew.gillies@fv.com.au

CMI Advisory Note: Product Certification vs. System Certification.

certmark-int-180

CMI has recently sought advice from the ABCB regarding the referencing to test results of products that have been tested in concert with other building materials to achieve specific compliance values.

For example, a wall sheeting material that has been tested for its acoustic and insulation values in a wall assembly that incorporates the sheeting, Rockwool insulation, an air gap and plasterboard.

Such an assembly may well achieve a R value of 50 + and comply with the requirements of the Building Code. However; if the CodeMark™ application for certification is for the wall panel, as a “product”, and not for the wall panel as a “system”, then the certificate of compliance cannot reference the R values achieved by the “system”.

In the case of a “product” certification, only the values actually achieved by the “product” that forms the subject of the certification can be attested to on the certificate of compliance.

If the application is for a “system” then the “system” certification must clearly identify the components that go into making up the system. For example:

The XYZ wall system consist of the following:

Product Description
XYZ wall panel The XYZ wall panel is a 12mm fibre cement wall panel.
Top Hat The Top Hats have a nominal width of 35mm
Framing Steel framing conforming to NASH Standard/Timber Framing to AS1684
XYZ Rockwool 75mm XYZ Rockwool
XYZ plaster board 10mm XYZ plasterboard
Fasteners & Fixing Fixing of Top Hat to steel framing; 10-16x16mm Hex Head Teks screw
Fixing of XYZ wall panel panels to Top Hat from inside of buildings 14-10x65mm Hex Head Type 17 Screw
XYZ Adhesive XYZ Adhesive is used for gluing the panels together at vertical and horizontal joints.

 

It is important to note that certification of a building system requires the Certificate Holder to accept responsibility for the other components used in the system. Such components must be clearly defined in the Certificate Holders version controlled installation manual or guide. Any installation of the certified system that varies from the description on the Certificate of Conformity (CoC) will be considered to be non-compliant in line with CMI’s Terms and Conditions and the Scheme Rules.

If you require further information on the above or clarification on any other aspect of the CodeMark Scheme, please contact your CMI Client Liaison Officer.

ABRB – Issue 18 Released

The ABRB is one of the ABCB’s key mechanisms for delivering and raising awareness of technically based information directly relevant to the building and plumbing industry and the community. This electronic publication provides a means for delivering information on code-related issues that address specific technical matters, contains information on broader building and plumbing regulations, and provides for expert opinions on significant technical and regulatory topics.

The ABRB is produced three times each year and is an information service to users of the NCC.

This is the August 2016 edition.

Visit the ABCB website for the PDF Download

Bypass bridge steel found to fail tests in New Zealand

Breaking_News_LogoA article has been published by Radio NZ today that sixteen hundred tonnes of steel from China has been found to be too weak.
This steel was to be used for four bridges on the $450 million Huntly bypass that forms part of the $2 billion Waikato Expressway.

Contractors building the ‘Road of National Significance’ chose a very low bid for the steel tubes.

But the test certificates for them have turned out to be wrong, and now an expensive fix-up job is under way.

The contractors, Fulton Hogan and HEB Construction, have admitted to RNZ News the steel tubes were not good enough. They did not comply with standards for structural steel, which for bridges were very high as they must resist impacts, heavy loads and low temperatures.

It was only after a third lot of testing that the contractors found out. The first tests were done in China by the steel mill and the tube manufacturer; it is understood the second tests were done in New Zealand on samples sent here from China.

Both lots of tests said the steel met the New Zealand standard….

 

Read the full article on www.RadioNZ.co.nz

Australian Construction Safety

What benefits can be derived from product certification in the construction industry?

The overall goals of any product compliance function within an organisation should be to:

  1. Understand market and customer needs/requirements concerning product compliance with relevant safety, technical standards, specifications and regulation.
  2. Minimise the company’s legal exposure by ensuring all regulatory compliance and product approval requirements are met.
  3. Minimise the impact of market driven (government/customer) product requirements by providing a resource/ability to confirm compliance with those requirements.

The use of certified, compliant products ensures the organisation and the organisation’s product presently comply and continue to comply with all product regulations, product approval and associated requirements in all geographic markets where the organisation or the organisation’s distributors are supplying product (target markets).

This is particularly important when considering new products or technology as it enable the company to obtain and review all necessary product compliance documentation to ensure product compliance. The organisation can also resolve any compliance anomalies that may arise, and obtain the required product approval(s) and if necessary, establish product Technical Construction Files (TCFs) or product Compliance Folders (CFs).

In the case of product variants and or modifications, certification of a product will enable the organisation to review all necessary compliance documentation concerning the variation/modification to ensure continued product compliance.  Resolve any compliance anomalies and where necessary, obtain new product approvals or apply to update existing product approval(s).

Certification is also an ideal way to incorporate new information in existing product Technical Construction Files (TCFs) or product Compliance Folders (CFs) as required relating to compliance of product variations/modifications (including review findings, record of compliance decisions and actions taken as a result of such product variation/modification documentation review).

Types of Modern Construction

Modern methods of construction (MMC) are now used across the construction industry, and particularly to build new homes. MMC offer potential savings in time and materials and can provide higher standards of quality than conventional construction methods. Off-site assembly means quicker erection on site and the ability to achieve a weather-tight construction within a shorter period of time.

While off-site construction is generally well managed and auditable, there are a number of additional factors that those using MMC must bear in mind. With traditional building methods, certifiers have developed a good understanding of the associated risks. This is not the case with many new methods, and although the risk of systemic failure is low, the consequences could be severe. Insurers therefore seek to ensure that systems are correctly certified, and that they are manufactured and built in line with that certification.

MMC typically fall into the following categories:

  • Volumetric or modular construction involves the off-site production of three-dimensional units. Modules may be brought to site in a variety of forms, ranging from a basic structural shell to complete rooms with internal and external finishes and services already installed.
  • Panelised systems involve the off-site production of panel units, which are assembled on site. The panels may consist of wall, floor or roof units, sometimes referred to as cassettes.

Closed panel units may be built of timber, steel frame or concrete panels. Lining materials and insulation are installed in the factory. Panels often include services, windows, doors and finishes.

  • Open panel systems do not include elements such as insulation, lining boards or vapor control layers. These are applied to the frame system on site, together with external cladding and internal finishing. Careful control of on-site finishing is therefore required, and the panels must be protected against the elements until weather-tight.
  • Site-based structural systems, such as insulated concrete formwork, are not considered to be manufactured off-site. These systems require third-party approval to secure a warranty, and their acceptability relies heavily on the procedures in place to ensure correct installation on site.

With MMC, the construction, design and layout of a typical system is planned in advance and a “design freeze” is imposed before factory production begins.

Testing is often needed to ensure that standards for durability and weather-tightness can be achieved.

To obtain approval by a building certifier, MMC systems must:

  1. Meet the requirements of relevant local building codes, or international equivalents current at the time of application.
  2. Be covered by a current approval from an independent third-party technical approval body. Details of the testing body’s accreditation will need to be supplied to the certifier, together with the certification document.
  3. Have been subject to independent third-party testing that identifies equivalent local test standards have been verified. Details of performance and the limitations of use must be provided.

At CertMark, we operate the CodeMark™ certification scheme, which is recognized by the Australian and New Zealand governments and allows MMC providers to show evidence that their systems are fit for purpose. This scheme removes the requirement for individual site assessments in place of a general certification.

Contact Us

For further information regarding CodeMark certification, please contact our friendly team members on 1800 CertMark (237 862)  or email Office@CertMark.org.