As a result of the VBA cladding crackdown, Building Surveyors are finding that they are at risk of being sued. This has caused a shift in the insurance market where premiums are doubling and exclusions are being applied.

Consequently, we may find that Building Surveyors will be forced to leave the industry due to unsustainable costs and pressure, and construction will slow due to a shortage of competent building certifiers.

The cladding landscape is shifting every day. Numerous suppliers are attempting to sell their product as non-combustible without the relevant accreditation, clients are becoming increasingly frustrated with the unknown environment and cladding approval process and Building Surveyors are spending copious hours educating clients, manufactures and builders as to why they cannot use particular products.

Whilst the cladding review is welcomed, the resultant outcome has unsurfaced a larger issue than merely the use of non-compliant cladding, creating much concern and angst amongst Building Surveyors, many unsure of what the future holds.

Published on: Mar 13, 2018

On 13 March 2018, the Minister for Planning issued a Ministerial Guideline removing the ability of Registered Building Surveyors to approve the use of ACP or EPS cladding products where the core comprises of more than 30% polyethylene. This is irrespective of whether the Building Surveyor deems it satisfactory with concessional clauses of the NCC.

The Approval for installation of any ACP or EPS product on buildings of 2 or more storeys must now solely be approved by the Building Appeals Board prior to the issue of a Building Permit.

“The effect of the Guideline is not to prevent the use of the products outright but to restrict the approvals pathway to ensure that their use has been subject to rigorous analysis as part of a BAB determination”

It is important to note that a BAB determination is site specific and not a blanket approval for use on other projects.

Read the Guideline in full : Building Product Safety Alert

Evidence needed to confirm product compliance
  • Evidence to support the compliant use of external wall cladding materials are:
  • A report issued by a Registered Testing Authority (Registered with NATA or an authority recognised by NATA);
  • A current Certificate of Conformity issued under the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) CodeMark scheme;
  • A Certificate of Accreditation issued by the Building Regulations Advisory Committee (BRAC);
  • A Certificate issued under Section 238 of the Building Act 1993 by a registered fire safety engineer.
  • A current Certificate issued by a product certification body accredited by the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ);
  • Any other form of documentary evidence that correctly describes the properties and performance of the material or form of construction and adequately demonstrates its suitability for use in the building.

All methods of certification listed above must confirm that “The material is NOT deemed COMBUSTIBLE according to the test criteria specified in Clause 3.4 of AS1530.1-1994”.

Compliant cladding options

The following external wall claddings have a Certificate of Test certification, confirming their non-combustible status in accordance with the Australian Standard.

Product Name & Certificate Quote No. Report No. Date of Test Certificate Date of Issue
Vitracore G2 NC7442 FNC11476 3 September 2015 11 September 2015
Larcore A2 NC7633 FNC11734 20 June 2016 23 June 2016
Alcadex A1 NC7459 FNC11685 16 December 2015 11 April 2016
Knotwood Aluminium 414179-02.1 FNC11764 29 August 2016 31 August 2016
Loxo AAC 365312-00.1 FNC11463 18 August 2015 25 August 2015
Multiboard MgO NC7488 FNC11531 4 November 2015 11 November 2015
Ezylite Astrix NC6294 FNC9994 12 November 2010 16 November 2010
Cladex A1 NC7459 FNC11724A 16 December 2015 17 January 2017
Cladex G2 NC7630 FNC11715A 26 December 2016 17 January 2017
James Hardie CM40221 13 April 2018
Styrum Intelligent Aluminium Façade NC7365 FNC11417A 6 – 9 June 2015 11 Jun 2015
Vitradual NC7536 FNC11690 21 June 2016 16 August 2016