At a recent summit the Housing Industry Association has signalled that it will spearhead a campaign to address the problem of non-compliant building products in the residential housing sector.
Areas of concern include but are not limited to – strapping, bracing and tie down connectors, concrete and reinforcing, structural grade timber and LVL, structural steel, steel framing, windows and glazed doors, balustrading, roofing and wall cladding and masonry materials.
“The problem of non-genuine and non-tested building materials and components making their way into in residential building is growing,” said HIA Managing Director Shane Goodwin. “Our view is that regardless of where something is manufactured, it should meet Australian standards.”
“It was clear from the debate at this week’s summit that there are products being used in Australia that are not fit for their intended purpose. This can have consequences such as subsequent repair costs, damage to the reputation of the building industry and potentially threats to human health and safety.”
“Our message is that it’s just not worth the risk of using inferior materials and components.”
The summit also identified the problem that inconsistent compliance regimes led to an uneven playing field between manufacturers that comply with standards and those that do not.
“Manufacturers who do the right thing are being disadvantaged against those that neither invest in producing products that meet Australian standards nor programs to demonstrate compliance.”
Pryda has identified (via independent and internal testing) that at times some suppliers are selling bracing and timber connector products that fail to comply with the relevant Australian Standards including AS1684 part 2 and 3–2010 Residential Timber Framed Construction.
“It is Pryda’s intention to participate in training and marketing campaigns with representatives of building approval bodies such as the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors (AIBS) and industry associations such as the HIA to raise the awareness of non-compliance. We expect this initiative, in conjunction with the campaign launched by the HIA, will assist building practitioners in selecting compliant products and building surveyors to assess whether buildings comply with building regulations,” said Pryda’s Category Manager David Taylor.
The standards which are referenced by the Building Code of Australia are AS1684.2-2010, AS1684.3-2010 and AS1684.4-2010.
Bracing and timber connector products which meet the requirements of these standards are deemed to comply with the requirements of the Building Code of Australia. To be compliant, a product must meet these standards or prove performance to otherwise comply with the Building Code of Australia.
The Standard for Strap, Bracing and Timber Connectors
AS1684.2-2010 has specific requirements for products to meet the standard, the minimum requirements are –
- Minimum corrosion resistance of Z275 – the thickness of galvanising on the products.
- Bracing and structural connectors cannot be manufactured with general manufacturing steel; they must be manufactured using G300 structural grade steel or equivalentwhich has guaranteed minimum yield strength. This is critical as the published engineering design data is based on the steel’s minimum strength.
- In the case of bracing products there are minimum dimensional requirements.
- Metal Angle Brace
- 18 x 16 x 1.2mm (Mini Brace) to achieve 0.8kN/m bracing unit.
- 20 x 18 x 1.2mm (Maxi Brace) to achieve 1.5kN/m bracing unit.
- Strap Brace & Tensioner
- 30 x 0.8mm strap with tensioner hole to achieve 1.5kN/m bracing unit.
- 30 x 1.0mm strap with tensioner hole to achieve 3.0kN/m bracing unit.
- Metal Angle Brace
David commented that, “Over the past two years Pryda has in their own testing laboratory and independently, carried out tests of different types on many brands of product purchased from trade & hardware stores around Australia. That testing has shown that some products (builder’s strap, angle brace and framing anchors) do not meet the specifications as detailed in AS1684.2.”
“Traders have an obligation to supply products that are fit for purpose. Therefore Pryda is undertaking a campaign to make the requirements of the standard known and for traders to satisfy themselves that their supplier is providing them with products that comply.”
Why is it important
“Following the HIA campaign it is likely that their members, builders and building inspectors will be asking whether the products that they purchase or inspect comply. To avoid embarrassment and a potential loss of customers, you should be certain that you supply code compliant products.”
What should hardware merchants & truss plants do
“For their own peace of mind they should be aware of the requirements of the standards, their own obligations to provide products fit for purpose and ensure that their supplier can provide them with engineering specification, to show how the products perform under load such as the Pryda design guides and a certificate of compliance to the standards. If their supplier can’t provide those things they should find one who can,” David said in closing.