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Department of Justice

Non-conforming building products

Do you have concerns about a building product?

If you suspect that a building product is non-conforming (ie. not what it claims to be), the Department of Justice wants to know.

Please report your concerns to CBOSinfo@justice.tas.gov.au or ring 1300 65 44 99

There have been national concerns about the risks of using non-conforming building products. Using the wrong products and materials can lead to:

  • significant repair and replacement costs
  • risk to health and safety
  • in some cases building failure.

To make sure Tasmanian buildings are safe, healthy and durable, building work must meet:

  • the National Construction Code (NCC)
  • relevant technical standards, and
  • state legislation.

Your building product may be non-conforming if:

  • it fails to perform to the expected standard
  • it needs repair shortly after installation or construction
  • appearance, strength, functionality or durability is compromised
  • supporting documentation (eg. manufacturer testing) seems questionable
  • it causes safety or health issues.

How can consumers ensure their building products conform?

  • Talk to your designer, builder or building surveyor about product suitability
  • Consumers should understand conformity requirements when buying building products and materials.

Non-conforming building products

  • Claim to be something they are not
  • Do not meet the required Standards for their intended use
  • Are marketed or supplied with the intent to deceive those who use them.

A non-conforming building product does not meet Australian Standards.

Example: a 'combustible' building product is labelled 'non-combustible'. This is non-conforming.

Non-compliant building products

Non-complaint building products are products which comply with Australian Standards but are being used for the wrong purpose.

Example: a 'combustible' building product is installed where only non-combustible products are allowed by the National Construction Code. This is non-compliant.

Everyone in the supply chain has responsibility for their products, including:

  • manufacturers
  • importers, wholesalers, distributors, suppliers and retailers
  • architects, designers, engineers and other specialists
  • building surveyors
  • builders.

Manufacturers’ products sold as conforming products should have material testing, assurances and certification. Manufacturer statements should also clearly specify how to use a product.

Importers, wholesalers, distributors, suppliers and retailers must not breach trade or consumer laws. They should also be able to supply information about the product including limitations.

Architects, designers, engineers and other specialists must ensure that any products, materials or systems specified are “fit for purpose” and meet the NCC, Australian Standards and local laws.

Building Surveyors have a role in inspecting building work. They need to be aware of the issue of non-conforming building products. Evidence of the suitability of a product should be sought by the building surveyor where necessary.

Builders should know a product is suitable before installation. This is because builders are most likely to be involved in disputes and rectification work if things go wrong.

In Tasmania there are six different types of evidence that can be used to verify that a product conforms and or complies with the NCC. These are:

  1. CodeMark or WaterMark Certificate of Conformity
  2. accreditation by the Director of Building Control
  3. certificate from an appropriately qualified person such as an engineer
  4. certificate from a product certification body accredited by the Joint Accreditation Scheme of Australian and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ)
  5. report issued by a registered testing authority
  6. other suitable documentary evidence.

Aluminium Composite Panels (ACP) can be and is used safely in buildings and in most cases its use is allowed by the National Construction Code (NCC).

The Director of Building Control, in response to fires in high-rise buildings interstate and internationally, is undertaking an audit of multi-storey buildings using ACP.

The Audit is specifically aimed at Classes 2, 3 and 9 buildings of more than 2 storeys and at other commercial buildings (Classes 5,6,7,and 8) of more than 3 storeys.

I think my house has been clad in ACP

If it is used on your house then you have no reason to be concerned, this is a safe and compliant use of the product.

The safety issue being looked at is how ACP is used in large multi-storey developments, such as high rise hotels, appartment blocks and the like.

For these multi storey developments we need to be sure that it is installed in a way that takes into account:

  • the nature of the building,
  • the fire safety features of the building (e.g. the sprinkler system),
  • the appropriate method of installation and
  • the paths to exit from the upper storeys.

Use of ACP in multi-storey commercial developments in the future

We will continue to actively participate in all of the measures being undertaken at a national level to improve compliance and enhance public safety, as well as finalising the audit of buildings in Tasmania.

The Tasmanian Government has decided that the Director of Building Control will use his powers in the Building Act 2016 to ensure that the future use of cladding products in Tasmania meets community expectations.

This will mean that use of ACP for any commercial building above 2 storeys (Classes 2,3 and 9) or 3 storeys (Classes 5,6,7, and 8) will require approval under a product accreditation scheme to be established by the Director.

The Director will work with industry to ensure a smooth implemenation by 1 February 2018.