Imported formwork unsafe after bond quality fails in EWPAA tests
The engineered wood products industry’s vigilant watch on imports has snared another non-compliant product that has threatened the safety of workers on a Melbourne building site.
Formwork on the site, imported from Asia, has failed all pressure tests for plywood bond quality at the Brisbane laboratories of the Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia.
“The durability of the product is not what the manufacturer is claiming, so if gluelines fail it has serious implications for structural reliability,” EWPAA general manager Simon Dorries said.
“This imported material had a 100% failure rate which again highlights the industry’s constant monitoring of standards compliance.” The bond qualities and thicknesses of the samples were determined in accordance with AS/NZS 2098.2-2006 and AS/NZS 2098.4-2006 respectively. Bond quality pass criteria was used in accordance with AS/NZS 2269.
The importer of the formply has been put on notice, pending further investigation by building site inspectors and the CFMEU (Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union).
Mr Dorries said the use of the non-compliant formwork again reflected a common attitude: “if it’s cheap and looks the same, we’ll use it”.
He said to prevent inferior products entering the market, importers and local suppliers were urged to have each batch of structural plywood independently tested by an organisation registered with the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) to ensure compliance with the standard.
“The end users of the structural plywood (such as builders and consumers) should insist on receiving the certificates of testing for the relevant batches of structural plywood purchased. A copy of such certificates should be forwarded to the certifying building surveyor to ensure compliance with building codes in New Zealand and Australia,” Mr Dorries said.
“It is the responsibility of governments to have effective regulations to prohibit the use of dangerous or illegal materials and the industry is concerned about the ineffectiveness of current policing.”
The EWPAA is the only organisation providing NATA testing and is supplying NATA reporting on every production shift of its members in New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
The Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia provides accreditation for plywood, LVL, particleboard, MDF and solid timber.Learn more