In the lifetime of any building, cladding rectification may be required to repair damaged panels, modernise the appearance of an older building, improve energy efficiency or to replace non-compliant panels.
Recent catastrophic events both here and overseas have raised considerable concern over the safety of a building’s façade and the impact those cladding materials may have on the building’s occupants. In Australia especially, this has led to an immediate overhaul of building standards to tackle the use of non-compliant cladding materials.
In 2019, state and territory Building Ministers tasked the ABCB with developing national responses to 22 recommendations in the Building Confidence Report (BCR) and developing a definition of building complexity. This has prompted state taskforces such as Cladding Safety Victoria and NSW’s Project Remediate as an example, to close the gap on BCR recommendations by conducting building audits and overseeing work to rectify at-risk buildings that have been identified.
Every aspect of the construction industry is now affected with insurers increasing premiums to unsustainable levels or limiting their liability due to the use of non-conforming cladding materials.
While governments have been clear about the ‘what’ – that Aluminium Composite Panels (ACP) and Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) in unsafe quantities must be removed from high-rise buildings – they haven’t been as clear about the ‘how’ – that is going to have a widespread impact on the industry and the environment.
Here are five things that every building owner should consider before recladding:
1. THE LAWS
- Code compliance. Regulations change, and best practices evolve. While updating older façades isn’t usually required, a change in use or a significant renewal might trigger an obligation to meet current codes.
Creating a new look is the perfect opportunity to refurbish the building envelope to meet the recently amended regulatory requirements in regard to fire safety, thermal performance and energy efficiency, resulting in a better performing building for occupants and building owners.
- Fire. There have been significant changes in recent years to statutory guidance on façade fire safety which range from limits on the combustibility of materials to requirements for fire stops at compartmentation boundaries, and a focus on physical testing rather than a reliance on desktop engineering.
- Thermal performance. Regulations for thermal performance are becoming more stringent, with demanding U-value targets. Full reclads typically require compliance with current rules, so a careful review of costs and benefits is essential.
- Watertightness. Even with regular maintenance, sealants and gaskets often fail after 15 to 20 years. The condition of these components is an important factor in the repair versus reclad decision.
2. THE COST
Depending on the project, repair may be cheaper in the short-term, but less cost-effective over time. Removing and replacing the façade has excellent long-term value, but can be expensive up-front and is disruptive to tenants and operations. Installing new cladding over the old system can reduce costs – no expensive deconstruction is needed – and boost energy performance by creating a double-skin façade.
The exact cost of recladding will depend on how much combustible cladding is included on the façade of a particular building as well as the size and location of that building. The recladding materials chosen will also affect the cost.
If you are a building that has been prioritised for cladding rectification by a state government program such as Project Remediate (NSW) or Cladding Safety Victoria, you may be eligible for potential funding.
3. THE MATERIAL
The choice of replacement building material will be a critical component. There are various alternatives to combustible cladding that are long-lasting, aesthetically pleasing and safe for residents.
While there are many non-combustible options for external cladding, it can be confusing to navigate what materials are compliant and which aren’t. It’s recommended that your materials comply with the following Australian Standards: AS1530.1 (combustibility), AS1530.3 (flammability), and AS3837 (ignitability).
Your chosen cladding should be endorsed by:
- A certifier and fire engineer to confirm that the replaced wall system complies with the BCA
- Other stakeholders required by the body corporate or local regulations
- All stakeholders during the replacement as well as at completion
At the heart of Fairview’s cladding rectification product solution is our deemed non-combustible aluminium composite product, Vitracore G2, and the non-combustible premium solid aluminium cassette cladding system, Vitradual. These products form part of our complete range of compliant products available to the construction industry for cladding rectification works across all buildings applications.
Fairview offers five different compliant product solutions for almost every façade rectification need.
4. THE DISPOSAL
State Governments have strict regulations on the disposal of combustible cladding materials. For instance, combustible cladding should be transported in a horizontal position in order to avoid spontaneous combustion. It will be necessary to engage a building practitioner who has knowledge and experience in these areas.
Only certain facilities are licensed to accept combustible cladding waste.
Developed by Fairview to help solve the environmental impacts of rectification works, the Ecoloop process promises to divert 100% of non-compliant cladding waste from rectification projects from landfill, recycling the waste and giving new life to the resources recovered as they are repurposed into new products, reducing virgin material consumption, and contributing to the circular economy.
Ecoloop, has been verified to comply with Green Building Council of Australia’s (GBCA) Construction and Demolition Waste Reporting Criteria.
5. THE BUILDING EXPERT
The recladding process can be complex with involvement of many stakeholders. Inadequate consultation with the appropriate stakeholders could result in increased costs, approval bottlenecks and project delays.
There is a range of key stakeholders that could be included in the process:
- Building Manager / Owner
• Qualified Engineer (including Fire Engineer)
• Project Manager / Architect
• Fire Service / Local council
• Private Certifier / Surveyor
• Façade Consultant
• Façade Builder
Fairview’s team of building & façade experts offers comprehensive recladding services, providing asset owners with peace of mind that their structures are both safe and compliant with the latest standards.
What sets Fairview apart?
Fairview is trusted for absolute compliance across our extensive product range. When it comes to advice and products for your cladding rectification project our team of dedicated professionals are at the forefront of providing up-to-date advice and expertise.
- Network of Experienced Professionals
Fairview a re renowned for our superior customer service, through which we have nurtured relations with Project Management Consultants, Façade Engineers, Builders and Installers.
Our specialist Rectification Team provide complimentary consultancy advice on the most cost-effective cladding solutions that deliver a compliant and safe building.
- Regulations Compliant
Fairview are trusted for absolute compliance across our extensive product range.
Through our commitment to innovation and testing, Fairview offers some of the most stringently tested products on the market, exceeding the performance of similar products when it comes to oil-canning, weatherproofing and combustibility.
- In Stock
With one of the largest stock holds in Australia, we have the ability to ensure a consistent and timely supply to our dedicated installer network. In addition, our flexible and innovative approach allows us to work closely with our clients to deliver the best possible project outcomes.
- 360VIEW – Symbol of quality and compliance
This ‘quality seal’ embraces the four key areas of work: Customers, Creativity, Compliance and Control. 360VIEW governs how we think, act and deliver from product design to the fabrication floor and from customer relations to product compliance and sureties.
Fairview strives to ensure that 360 VIEW is experienced, not only here internally but, by all our associates and customers. Wherever you hear ‘360’ mentioned by Fairview, you’re assured by commitment to a set of values and behaviours aimed at making your experience with the team a totally satisfactory one.
Is there a recladding specialist near me?
Fairview has consultants in every capital city in Australia, as well as several regional sites. All are full-service offices with dedicated staff and local workforces. Clients benefit from local knowledge, backed by a large, stable, national network.