The Most Stringently Tested Bonded Laminate
What are bonded laminates?
As the focus shifts to recladding projects, architects, designers and specifiers are looking at alternatives to the type of aluminium composite panels (ACPs) – specifically those with a flammable polyethylene core – that were responsible for the recent streak of apartment tower fires.
Whilst solid aluminium panels have emerged as a viable solution due to their inherent non-combustibility, there exists other non-combustible alternatives such as Vitracore G2 where its performance exceeds that of solid aluminium, from its thermal performance to how it performs in real life fire events.
There are also misconceptions about ACPs within the industry that should be addressed. There are composite cladding solutions that do not have a flammable polyethylene core and are non-combustible in accordance with the requirements of the National Construction Code (NCC) – Fairview’s Vitracore G2, a bonded aluminium panel solution with a non-combustible profiled aluminium core, is one such solution. Vitracore G2 offers the architectural benefits of ACPs – light weight, strength, and durability – while delivering ample fire resistance.
A little about Vitracore G2
Fairview introduced Vitracore G2 to the market in 2016. Since then, we’ve supplied over 1 million sqms of Vitracore G2 to new build and rectification projects across Australia.
Vitracore G2 is not only a fully compliant and safe solution, but also the cost-effective choice that offers limitless design options.
On site, Vitracore G2 can be machined with precision and it’s far lighter and easier to install than the usual ACP. It needs minimal maintenance too, altogether making Vitracore G2 cost effective.
John Wallace, Victoria State Sales Manager, says “Vitracore G2 is a popular choice because it’s at least a 30% cost saving for supply and installation. It’s half the weight of 3mm Solid Aluminium. and can be fabricated three times quicker. It’s an installers dream!”
There is NO compromise on design. Vitracore G2 uses the PPG coating system so it’s available in the same extensive colour range as Fairview’s leading solid aluminium panel, Vitradual.
Rob Gray, New South Wales State Sales Manager, says “the NSW market chooses Vitracore G2 because it’s fully compliant to AS1530.1 and AS1530.3, while also being fully Insured by the top 10 Insurance companies, with no extra premiums. Vitracore G2 ticks all the boxes!”
Let’s talk about Vitracore G2 in the real world. A perfect example of Vitracore G2 being used for rectification projects is the Monash House Private Hospital.
By using Vitracore G2 to replace problem cladding, meant the building achieved compliance using Vitracore G2 while ensuring the look and appeal of the project remained consistent. The replacement had to be something light-weight and easy to install to ensure the job of replacing the old façade was simple and efficient.
We spoke to Ashley How, Fairview’s Head of Innovation to get an understanding of what the testing regulations are when it comes to bonded laminates.
“The testing regulations, when it comes to bonded laminates are fairly simple. The BCA has a selection of requirements of the materials suitable for use when non-combustible materials are required. These types of products include painted metal sheeting, compressed fibre cement and bonded laminates, among others”, Ashley says.
For the bonded laminates specifically, it sets out three requirements:
- The first requirement is that the layers are non-combustible to AS 1530 Part One. AS 1530 Part One, is a small and intense furnace test. The product’s layers are put into a furnace for half an hour. If that flame is more than five seconds, within a half an hour period, the product is deemed combustible.
- The second testing regulation that the BCA requires is the whole panel. So that’s the panel, comprising of all layers, all finishes, and so forth, is tested to AS1530, Part Three. This is a radiant heat test.
This is quite intense and has a small pilot flame. The product is exposed for a period, and it is measured against several indices, including ignitability and flame spread. With Vitracore G2, we received zero for ignitability and zero for flame spread.
- The third requirement of the BCA for bonded laminates, is that the adhesive layers are less than one millimeter in thickness and the total thickness of the adhesive layers is less than two millimeters.
Vitracore G2’s adhesive layers are produced at 45 microns. Therefore, as a whole panel it is well under 10% of the permitted allowance in the Building Code. Of course, large scale testing is important, however it is not required under the Building Code, but Vitracore G2 has been tested large scale and indeed, in real life fire scenarios. In these events, it’s been shown to prevent the spread of fire.
In verified test situations (and two real-life site incidents) the Vitracore G2 panels did not conduct or spread fire. Vitracore G2 has never failed a BS8414 test where non-combustible insulation was used and where the test was conducted under official test guidelines by a qualified and independent materials testing and product qualification testing company. Vitracore G2 tests demonstrate that – when installed correctly – there is no propagation of fire and temperatures are within the prescribed test limits.
Vitracore G2 is the most stringently tested product.
Fairview has invested over $800,000 into diverse and stringent testing of Vitracore G2 – The facts are that Vitracore G2 aluminium cladding has undergone the most demanding and stringent levels of testing stipulated, and it remains among the safest and most certified, compliant cladding products available.
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