What is ACP?
Aluminium composite panels (ACP) are flat panels, typically 3mm – 5mm in thickness, consisting of two thin aluminium sheets bonded to a non-aluminium core, commonly made of polyethylene (PE), polyurethane (PU), or mineral fibre, or a combination of these components.
The PE core of ACP is the key driver of the recent product ban, due to its combustibility and potential to contribute to rapid fire spread on the exterior of the building.
THE NEW SOUTH WALES GOVERNMENT
(DEPARTMENT OF FAIR TRADING) HAS ADVISED THAT FIRES WHICH ARE ASSOCIATED WITH ACP WITH A POLYETHYLENE (PE) CORE POSE A
SAFETY RISK, ESPECIALLY WHEN INSTALLED IN MULTI-STOREY BUILDINGS.
Why The Ban?
The NSW government’s ban follows the tragic Grenfell Tower fire in London in June 2017 which claimed 72 lives, the Lacrosse Building fire in Melbourne in November 2014, and similar fire events in China, France and the United Arab Emirates, the severity of which has been attributed to the installation of ACP cladding with a PE core.
Beware the 30% red-herring.
Three key concepts:
The National Construction Code has long required the external walls of (most) buildings to be non-combustible.
Does my building comply with the non-combustibility requirements of the BCA/NCC?
Did it ever comply?
Is the ACP cladding the building’s ‘external wall’ or an ‘attachment’?
NSW Fair Trading has used consumer protection/safety legislation to only ban the most unsafe/combustible type of ACP.
ACP with >30% PE core.
Yet, ACP with <30% PE is still combustible and incapable of passing the non-combustibility requirements of the NCC/BCA – AS1530.1.
Do I feel safe living or working in a building clad in ACP?
Do prospective purchasers want to buy a unit in a building clad in ACP?
Importantly, ‘compliance’ doesn’t necessarily = safety.
Life safety trumps ‘compliance’.
Council can now order you to remove the banned acp cladding.
The ACP ban has created a number of risks that impacted
owners ought to consider:
- Fire risk
- Council rectification orders
- Insurance changes – for your building, for your consultants
- A decrease in property value
- Difficulty selling property whilst
- Capacity to obtain personal finance
(for a special levy)
- Availability of qualified remedial contractors
Frequently asked questions
DO WE HAVE TO REMOVE ALL OF THE BANNED ACP?
Legally, it depends. Pragmatically, full removal may best address your fire/life safety, legal, insurance and property value ‘risks’.
Is the government going to pay for this?
No. Not at this stage.
Will the council and Fire + Rescue NSW wait for us to resolve any legal claims before ordering us to remove the ACP cladding?
What if the ACP was deemed to comply with relevant building legislation at the time it was installed, surely we don’t have to remove it?
The ban operates retrospectively.
What about litigation, surely we can sue someone for this?
It is worth investigating but is unlikely to be fruitful for many owners. Likely to be costly and slow, with uncertain prospects
What are the risks in leaving some, or all, of the ACP cladding in situ?
Numerous ongoing ‘risks’ remain: fire/life safety, legal, insurance, and property saleability/value.
• Residential Strata owners are under pressure financially and are struggling to come to terms
with the ban and their risks
• Commercial owners are responding commercially and pragmatically
• The fire, legal, insurance and property value ‘risks’ are real – indecision and inaction isn’t the answer
• Insurers have considerable power and have responded rapidly with premium increases
• Professional indemnity insurance is evaporating by the day
• ‘Partial replacements’ and ‘engineered solutions’ are unlikely to be approved
• Litigation is likely to be very costly and slow, and is unlikely to be work for most owners.
• Council and Fire + Rescue NSW are increasingly risk-averse – post NEO200 fire
• Property sales in cladding-affected buildings are being affected
• Solid aluminum is the clear market preference for re-cladding
Once all Stages are complete your fire risk will be reduced, your building can be removed from the NSW Cladding Register, and your insurance premiums ought to normalise.
Budget & Program
& Insurance feedback
Detailed Cost Planning