Aluminium Composite Panels (ACP) have always been a trusted building material for constructing medium and high rise buildings across the nation. However, it seems the cladding material is facing scrutiny following aluminium cladding related fires in Melbourne’s’ Lacrosse Building and London’s Grenfell Tower.
Why do builders opt for this material?
Builders select this material for its versatility, compared to alternatives it can be moulded and shaped to fit a design specification and perfect for where lightweight sheeting is required. ACPs are also a great economical choice, as the material itself is much cheaper than non-combustible panelling systems and requires a smaller team to get the job done.
What is the issue?
The main issue with the use of Aluminium Composite Panels (ACP) is, its contents. The main component of ACP is Polyethylene (PE). Although Polyethylene is a common plastic, it has the power to be quite hazardous. Australian Safety Engineer, Mr Tony Enright commented on the nature of this perilous plastic stating that, “a kilogram of polyethylene will release the same amount of energy as a kilogram of petrol”.
You can just imagine the outcome when that material comes in contact with fire. The other issue with this material is that it is usually imported from countries such as the United States, Germany, China and Brazil. The use of these imported materials is not ideal as it is difficult to assess whether they are compliant with Australian standards.
In September 2017, The Australian Senate Economic Reference Committee recommended that the Federal Government implement a number of restrictions for building professionals. These included a total ban on the use and sale of Aluminium Composite Panels with a Polyethylene core and penalties for those who did not comply, among other measures.
BellMont have experience in assessing this material type and are commencing one of the first “recladding projects “on a King St Wharf property, based on the new regulations. We have been working closely with a leading material supplier and are now able to specify the use of suitable, compliant aluminium cladding material to replace the current material. The new material complies with new regulations with regard to fire performance. Stay tuned for updated information on this exciting project.
If you are concerned with your façade cladding and require BellMonts assistance, let us know by sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d be more than happy to help! Until then take a moment and get to know us a little better by checking out our King St Wharf Facade Refurbishment Project and other works at, www.bellmont.net.