Cemintel assist builders in meeting new BCA changes

News /
15 June 2015
Cemintel assist builders in meeting new BCA changes

The Building Code of Australia changes which came into operation on May 1st introduced an update to the weatherproofing requirements for all buildings, including a new verification method. CSR Cemintel has developed a number of solutions and support tools to assist builders and specifiers to meet these new requirements.

To address concerns relating to issues in markets with similar construction practices, such as Canada and New Zealand and locally via the Victorian Building Authority the BCA now has an increased focus on weatherproofing. Compliance can now be assessed by one or a combination of four different methods, to demonstrate that a solution meets the BCA Performance Requirements.

While compliance is mandatory, the assessment methods used are optional. These include:

  1. A new verification method developed by an ABCB working group specifically to focus on the issue of weatherproofing. This is a test procedure suitable for walls of some buildings with limited design wind pressures.
  2. Evidence to support the use of a material form of construction or design that meets Performance Requirements or a Deemed-to-Satisfy provision. A CodeMark Certificate of Conformity is one way to achieve this option, and it has mandatory acceptance.
  3. Comparison with a Deemed-to-Satisfy provision, where applicable.
  4. Judgment by a suitably qualified expert to determine whether a solution complies with the Performance Requirements.

Referencing the Australian Standard AS/NZS 4284: 2008 ‘Testing of building facades’ the new verification method covers three types of systems based on a risk assessment matrix, these are:

  • Cavity wall system which is simply a wall that incorporates a drained cavity.
  • Direct fix cladding system which is a wall with cladding attached directly to the wall framing without the use of a drained cavity.
  • Unique wall system which involves a wall which is neither a cavity wall nor a direct fix cladding wall.
“Based on our testing and examples from markets which have similar construction practices, we believe the best means of weatherproofing a building is via a drained and ventilated cavity and the recent BCA changes certainly reflect this move towards greater cavity use,” Cemintel Marketing Manager Ben Thompson explained.
 “Cavity systems are already a major feature of the building codes in countries with similar construction methods, such as Canada and New Zealand, and the verification method in the Draft BCA 2015 stated cavities must be used on buildings which had a high score when utilising a risk assessment matrix. Although this was removed from the final BCA 2015, it suggests this may feature in future editions,” Ben added.
“Using cavity systems to prevent water penetration offers a number of advantages. Buildings with cavity systems perform better in high wind zones, have a lower reliance on sealant and allow air to circulate more effectively. In addition, cavity systems allow water to evaporate and escape helping better manage any moisture in the building.”
“Cemintel provides a number of cavity options that address various site requirements. For instance our Designer Series range is an excellent example of a practical and affordable walling solution that offers a stylish and creative design aesthetic and also incorporates a ventilated and drained cavity. The unique clip system used to install Designer Series panels is not only quick and easy but provides a 15mm open cavity without the additional cost of battens.”

Another cavity option available to builders looking for a ventilated and drained cavity system is to use Cemintel’s wide range of cladding sheets and weatherboards over structural or non-structural battens. Cemintel’s durable, fibre cement battens are a quality material that can be used in either application. As a structural batten they are ideal for flat sheet products, such as Cemintel Mosaic, as the panel can be fixed to the batten with brad nails, minimising the appearance of fixings. Manufactured from fibre cement, these battens also represent a durable alternative to timber when used as a non-structural batten.

The other systems included in the verification method are the direct fix system, which is most suitable for less complex buildings in lower wind load zones, and the unique system, which includes systems that are either direct fix or cavity. Cemintel’s wide range of cladding sheets and weatherboards can be used in direct fix applications and Cemintel’s ExpressWall system is a great example of a unique system which is suitable for use even in cyclonic regions.

To help builders comply with these changes, Cemintel has introduced a number of support tools to assist them in choosing suitably assessed cladding systems.

Details are now available for all Cemintel sheet cladding and weatherboard products that have been assessed as meeting the weatherproofing requirements. CSR and Cemintel are also introducing a series of support materials and information events to help guide builders through the selection process.

CSR’s nation-wide Building Knowledge Seminar, running from June 9th to August 25th will cover the topic of Moisture Management and the use of cavities in buildings, which builders and specifiers can attend and earn CPD points.

In addition, Cemintel has developed a new cavity systems guide with information on the new weatherproofing clause and details on the new ventilated and drained cavity developed for its sheet cladding and weatherboard solutions. Cemintel’s DesignLINK technical support line is also open to answer questions on the BCA developments and their application.

“Any changes in building regulation can generate some initial questions around best options for compliance. This is where our support service and team comes into play,” explains Ben.
“We pride ourselves on offering the best service and support to builders which is why we are producing materials documenting the new changes and why we are running the Building Knowledge Seminar. We have developed the cavity system guide to specifically address what these changes mean for builders.”

For further information check out Cemintel.com.au to see how builders, designers and architects around Australia are using Cemintel’s product range to create great looking homes.

Cemintel

Cemintel is an Australian owned company and part of the inconic CSR Building products, supplying cement panels and building systems for external facades, internal linings, ceilings and flooring in commercial and residential applications.

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