Combustible Cladding Investigations
Combustible Cladding Investigations
The Building Code of Australia (BCA) requires that all materials used in the construction industry meet certain minimum safety standards. The use of Aluminium Composite Panels (ACP) or Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) as an external wall cladding may not meet the BCA requirements.
Cladding Risk Mitigation Framework
Ministerial Guideline 15 (based on the Building Act 1993) and the subsequent Cladding Risk Mitigation Framework were introduced in September 2023 and have changed the process and procedures regarding combustible cladding rectification works.
The Cladding Risk Mitigation Framework adopts a risk-based approach to combustible cladding rectification that prioritises alternative risk-reduction methods as opposed to the complete removal of high-risk combustible cladding.
Where possible, the framework suggests that the following rectification measures should be prioritised to achieve an acceptable risk rating:
Removal of combustible external cladding proximate to ignition sources;
Prevention of fires reaching combustible external cladding;
Prevention of fires already alight in the cladding façade from reaching residences; and
Providing early warning regarding the presence of fire to early and safe evacuation of the building.
What does this mean for building owners?
There is a potential fire risk where ACP or EPS is used extensively in a building. That risk is increased where it is exposed to an ignition source, where it spans several floors or where it is used in balconies.
What is Aluminium Composite Cladding and Expanded Polystyrene?
Both ACP and EPS are lightweight building materials
Aluminium Composite Panels (ACP) are primarily used as a cladding for buildings and in signage.
The panels can be used as a decorative application, often spanning multiple floors in medium and high-rise buildings.
Each panel is made up of an inner and outer aluminium sheet and a plastic or mineral core.
Polyethylene and Polyurethane are frequently used for the panel core and each can be highly combustible if not treated correctly.
Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) in construction is attached to a framework and then rendered.
EPS burns readily, is hard to extinguish and produces a noxious smoke.
How can AESG help?
AESG has developed a staged Combustible Cladding investigation methodology designed to identify potential problems, provide risk mitigation strategies and clear direction to achieve a complete and compliant resolution in line with Ministerial Guideline 15.
Step 1: Cladding Identification Reports
AESG’s External Wall Material Identification report provides a cost-effective method for the identification of Combustible Cladding at buildings. This report includes a visual site inspection, estimated percentages of external wall materials, identification of ignition sources and recommended action that should be taken in line with Ministerial Guideline 15. The report's purposes include insurance renewal, providing a foundation for the rectification of combustible cladding, and in some cases, can be used as evidence for municipal councils if this information is requested.
AESG offers 3 options for Cladding Identification Reporting, to best suit your cladding needs:
Option 1: External Wall Material Identification Report (Non-Invasive)
Our first Cladding Identification Report is based on a visual, non-invasive inspection, and provides our clients with information regarding the estimated percentages of materials used in the external cladding, identification of potential ignition sources and recommendations to mitigate risk in line with Ministerial Guideline 15
Option 2: External Wall Material Identification Report (Including Sampling)
We provide a visual and invasive inspection of the building and expand on our base report by also taking a sample/s of materials identified on site. These samples are then reviewed by our Solutions team to provide further insight and evidence as to the materials identified.
Option 3: External Wall Material Identification Report (Including Sampling & Laboratory Testing)
Samples taken from the site will be tested by an accredited and independent laboratory. The samples will undergo a series of tests to determine the combustibility and the fixing method of materials on site. The results will not only outline the combustibility, but will also identify the polymer and inert components.
Step 2: Review & Recommendations
The information gathered in the Cladding Identification stage of reporting will be utilised to create a detailed process for rectification, including immediate risk-reduction measures and/or methods to remove all combustible materials on site. Recommendations will be made in line with the current framework and guidelines, including Ministers Guideline 15 and the Cladding Risk Mitigation Framework.
AESG’s reporting will be reviewed by a suitably qualified Fire Engineer, and providing recommendations based on rectification required as per Ministerial Guideline 15.
This report can be used to obtain a building permit to conduct the rectification works required to conform with the advice provided by the Fire Engineer and Ministerial Guideline 15.
The approved report will contain the details necessary for a suitably qualified builder to be able to price the works required to conform with the required building permit.
Step 3: Project Coordination of Rectification Works
AESG can provide project coordination of the required rectification works as per our Stage 2 Report, utilising our breadth of connections to source suitably qualified contractors.
This will include:
Costing of coordination works to include quotations (tender) from several suitably qualified and registered builders.
Providing analysis and recommendations as a result of the tender, to appoint a suitably qualified builder to undertake the works.
Coordinating on-site works including a work program, an appropriate contract, and any special conditions required which may affect the site works or on-site conduct.
AESG's knowledge and experience in the building and compliance industry give us the unique skillset and resources to provide National solutions to your building compliance issues. AESG can draw on its team of specialist Architects, Engineers, Compliance Consultants and Building Practitioners.
Contact AESG via 1300 336 339 or email@example.com for further information.