Cladding Repair & Fire Protection
Cladding is the term used to describe an outer layer that is applied to a building to make it more energy-efficient or to improve aesthetics without adversely affecting weather resistance. Alternatively, facades can be fitted onto existing buildings constructed of traditional masonry or incorporated into newly constructed buildings.
The combustibility of exterior wall cladding should be established prior to installing it on a building’s exterior walls since the panels will be affixed to these walls. Certain types of aluminium composite panels (also known as ACPs) are banned in NSW because of their fire safety risks. However, to ensure that a building has adequate passive fire protection, the correct cladding is a very important consideration. It is recommended that external wall cladding possess the ‘surface spread of flame’ classification to prevent fires from spreading otherwise cladding repair may be required for both the safety of the occupants and legal requirements.
The Building Code of Australia (BCA) should be used to classify cladding materials based on their fireproofing ratings. The system evaluates the degree of combustion, the flame spread, the amount of heat released, the level of smoke, and the number of flaming droplets and/or particles the system is capable of emitting. MJ Engineering Projects, evaluate the risk of fire ignition associated with cladding, assess cladding compliance with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and conduct project management of Cladding Repair and Fire Protection.
In modern construction, composite panels, including aluminium composite panels, are commonly used to clad building exteriors. In NSW, external cladding, external walls, external insulation, facades, and rendered finishes in buildings with a core containing more than 30% PE are banned and require cladding repair. Aluminium composite panels do not necessarily indicate that the building is non-compliant or unsafe, how the cladding is configured and how it has been used and other fire safety measures will also need to be considered and assessed prior to cladding repair.
Similar to ACP cladding, timber cladding has been scrutinised for its flammability and the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal has deemed products such as Biowood an undue risk of fire spread via the extending up the facade of the building which would allow the fire to spread into the building.
Cladding Repair Fire Protection Service
Many building contractors do not test their cladding while it is being installed. Therefore, buildings are at risk of fires. Many houses and buildings have non-metal and metallic claddings that have not been tested. It’s our responsibility to ensure that these cladding do not act as a catalyst for a fire by inspecting them. Rather than focusing only on the external material of the cladding, our inspection entails evaluating the entire system.
Our observation is that, in most cases, the type of cladding contributes to the spreading of the fire. Metal and insulators are most commonly used as cladding. Sometimes they are layered with additional insulation. As the material melts, it becomes an essential fuel for a fire.
When inspecting a property, we use a variety of techniques. Nevertheless, we believe fire risks can generally be reduced by testing in isolation. The cladding on your property will be inspected by our team of experts. Tests will be conducted on the cladding in different compartments that typically catch fire. We will also test the cladding to see if the contractor did the job correctly, in addition to checking the vulnerable areas.
In recent years, MJ Engineering Projects has noticed an increase in inquiries regarding fire ratings and cladding repair. The current Australian market is saturated with non-compliant aluminium composite panel (ACP) cladding that has been banned by fair-trading NSW in late 2018. ACP presents a large risk for occupants and the public. This could lead to severe injuries and lawsuits if not rectified. MJ Engineering Projects can recommend and rectify cladding.
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