31/08/2004 - 22:00

Survey exposes insulation flaws

31/08/2004 - 22:00

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

The Masters Builders Association WA branch has expressed concern at what it claims is an unfair and confusing situation involving insulation products in the State’s building sector.

Survey exposes insulation flaws

The Masters Builders Association WA branch has expressed concern at what it claims is an unfair and confusing situation involving insulation products in the State’s building sector.

MBA director of economics and housing, Gavan Forster, was responding to a recent survey of insulation suppliers prepared for an industry player.

“The survey exposed that some consumers are being misled by insulation companies and are inadvertently purchasing inferior products that do not conform to the BCA requirements,” Mr Forster said.

“This is unfair and we advise builders to follow a risk management strategy when purchasing products  in order to protect themselves and to ensure the customer receives the appropriate product.”

The Building Code of Australia standard, released in October 2002, requires that insulation companies test insulation products assuming installed environmental conditions, whether in a residential or commercial building, and obtain a third party certification of compliance.

The BCA standard was aimed at improving energy efficiency in the built environment.

For the survey, undertaken by Perth marketing firm Linc for Air-Cell Insulation, eight insulation suppliers, representing 90 per cent of the Western Australian market, were asked to verbally confirm accreditation and certification, and send written confirmation of accreditation and certification within seven days.

A majority of companies contacted verbally indicated they had accreditation, however most did not provide relevant documentation within the stipulated time period.

“Sales staff did not have easy access to conformance information when the audit was conducted, which demonstrates that internal communication within these insulation companies should improve so that consumers are able to make an informed decision when selecting insulation for their homes or businesses,” Mr Forster said.

The current circumstances, whereby some insulation companies conformed to standards and others didn’t, had created an unfair and confusing situation for consumers that was potentially risky for builders from a legal standpoint, he said.

Apart form the firm that commissioned the survey only one other business supplied relevant BCA conformance documentation for residential insulation.

Since the survey was completed in July this year, however, another local insulation firm has reached compliance with the relevant BCA standards.

WA Builders Design Association president John Hodgins said it was very important insulation complied with building codes to ensure efficiency and sustainability.

“Buildings proved after completion of not attaining the required levels of operation may be judged to have failed by the use of non-compliant insulation,” he said.

WA Business News understands the CSIRO has been concerned for some time at national level by the lack of  compliance.

An internal CSIRO  letter viewed by WA Business News, dated October 2003, says that a situation had arisen where: “building regulators and certifiers are also happy to ignore the new [BCA] standard”.

Due to a lack of products submitted for testing, the CSIRO recently closed its facility in Western Australia.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options