Please see the following Press Release regarding the recent withdrawal of a number of CodeMark certificates for ACP and EPS products.
A CertMark assisted study on MGO boards conducted by;
the a School of Science and Engineering, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore, Qld 4556, Australia; and
College of Engineering, Information Technology and Environment, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia,
has been published by the Elsevier – Construction and Building Materials journal.
Assessing variability in the hygrothermal performance of magnesium oxide (MgO) cladding products of the Australian market
Published 19 January 2019
a b s t r a c t
Magnesium oxide (MgO) boards are relatively new cladding materials on the Australian construction
market. They are chosen primarily for their fire resisting properties and are fast replacing traditional cladding
materials in newer buildings. Recent reports of water staining on MgO boards is thought to be due to
the effects of relative humidity promoting corrosion of metallic fasteners. Different commercially available
MgO board samples were investigated by following their behaviour in a controlled relative humidity
environment and when in contact with different metallic fasteners. It is observed that water absorption is
different for different products and that staining varied with the composition of the metallic fasteners.
Staining and water absorption was not a problem at a low relative humidity (RH) of 75% but was evident
at a high humidity of 97% for all but one of the MgO board samples. The concentration of chloride is implicated
and has its origin in the binder material. These results emphasise the need for standard characterisation
of commercially available MgO boards for their use in high humidity environments.
2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
The following notification has been provided by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) to assist in preparing the market for the introduction of the National Construction Code (NCC) 2019. Further information can be found at;
Changes being introduced in NCC 2019 are almost here. As seen in the public comment draft released last year, there’s lots to take in! Read on to find out more about key changes, dates and what’s available to help you understand it.
Quantifying many of the NCC Performance Requirements to provide more performance-based compliance options is a key feature of NCC 2019. You’ll see more Performance Requirements quantified with the introduction of 20 new Verification Methods (VMs).
The ABCB’s readability project aims to improve the NCC requirements to be more readily understood. Introducing consistent NCC Governing Requirements is the first step of this major piece of work with all three Volumes of the NCC having the same requirements from 2019. Significant changes have also been made to the structure of NCC Volume Three, the Plumbing Code of Australia.
NCC Volumes One and Two
New VM for construction in bushfire-prone areas.
Health and amenity
New condensation management provisions.
New VMs for access to and from a building and for ramps.
New heating and cooling load limits for residential buildings using the NatHERS DTS compliance pathway.
NCC Volume One only
New DTS Provisions for fire sprinkler systems, for apartment buildings and other residential buildings (i.e. Class 2 and 3 buildings) 4 storeys and above and up to 25 metres in effective height (generally those buildings 4 to 8 storeys).
Occupiable outdoor areas
New DTS Provisions clarifying requirements for occupiable outdoor areas, such as roof-top bars and cinemas.
Fire safety VM
A new, non-mandatory VM for fire safety introduced (NCC Schedule 7). This VM can be used for developing a Performance Solution for up to 24 Performance Requirements. Its adoption will be delayed until 1 May 2020 to allow time for training and support.
The commercial building energy efficiency requirements (i.e. Section J) are significantly changed, including new VMs for NABERS and Green Star. This change is subject to a 1 year transition period from 1 May 2019, during which time, either the NCC 2016 or NCC 2019 requirements may be used.
Accessible adult change facilities (AACF)
AACFs are sanitary facilities with additional features to assist people with more profound or complex disabilities who are unable to independently use standard accessible facilities. New requirements mean these facilities are required in certain new or redeveloped public buildings such as shopping centres, museums, theatres, sporting venues and airports.
NCC Volume Two only
New and improved acceptable construction practices (ACPs), including new ACPs for masonry and attachment of decks and balconies and improved ACPs for roof and wall cladding and fire safety.
NCC Volume Three only
New and consolidated requirements for heated water temperature control, cross-connection control and rainwater harvesting and use.
NCC 2019 Key Dates
|Preview released||NCC 2019 adopted||Energy efficiency transition ends||FSVM adopted|
|February 2019||1 May 2019||1 May 2020||1 May 2020|
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.
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
- Queensland leads the way forward
- Code of Practice
- Schedule of notified government buildings with confirmed combustible external cladding
- Government progress
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).
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.
Find out what else is being done to contribute to safer buildings for Queensland:
- Background information (PDF, 168KB)
- What’s happening across Australia? (PDF, 112KB)
- What government is doing to enhance the safety of Queenslanders (PDF, 137KB)
- Use of façade cladding in the future (PDF, 147KB).
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.
- 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.
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).
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
|Princess Alexandra Hospital||Queensland Health|
|Logan Hospital ||Queensland Health|
|Mackay Hospital||Queensland Health |
- 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.
To contact the SOG, please email BCQ-NCPSOG@hpw.qld.gov.au.
Click the following link to our volume 4 news letter featuring external cladding.
Read the Veriglobal Newsletter to read how CertMark International is applying ISO 14034 ETV to demonstrate innovative technologies.
See link below for the Queensland governments status report from the Non-conforming Building Products Audit Taskforce.
A news article from the ABC on Flammable Cladding on Government Buildings.
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