Pryda has thrown its weight behind an industry campaign, spearheaded by the Housing Industry Association (HIA), to ensure building products meet Australian Standards and comply with the Building Code of Australia.
The move follows a recent HIA summit that identified a significant and growing number of non-compliant building products within the residential housing sector.
Use of these non-compliant products could lead to a possible risk of failure within the building design and result in significant rectification costs, according to Pryda’s Category Manager, David Taylor.
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 and steel framing, windows and glazed doors, balustrading, roofing, wall cladding and masonry materials, he said.
Pryda has particularly concerned itself with structural connections and bracing products with which it has considerable proven expertise and on which it conducted a series of tests.
One was a CSIRO organised salt spray test, which Pryda used to check not only its own products but seven of its competitors. While the Pryda products held up well over more than two months of testing, five of the others failed badly with several beginning to rust prolifically in only a few days.
They are supposed to meet Australian Standard AS1684-2010 parts two, three and four covering residential timber framed construction, Mr Taylor said.
Bracing and structural connectors are to be manufactured from G300 or equivalent structural grade steel. It is critical that this steel grade is used as the steel supplier guarantees a minimum yield strength, which the timber connectors design values are based on.
The G300 steel should also have a zinc coating thickness of 275 gsm, referred to as Z275. This is to provide adequate corrosion protection in internal applications in most environments.
Pryda has found this not to be the case in many of the products tested.
We have concerns about timber connector and bracing products on building sites and hardware merchants shelves that are manufactured with inferior steel and corrosion protection. The products are not only non-compliant, they are also not supported with engineering data to confirm how the products perform under load, stressed Mr Taylor.
For example, one supplier was distributing angle bracing 20% thinner than what was specified in the standards, Mr Taylor said.
While Pryda is keen to assist the HIA in raising awareness of non-compliance, the company also has moved to alert the industry about the potential problems with inferior connectors and bracing through training and marketing campaigns with building approval bodies such as the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors.
It is a case of educating building surveyors about the code and its requirements and how to look for non-compliant products in the marketplace, Mr Taylor said.
Another Pryda initiative is to encourage hardware merchants to ask suppliers for documentation detailing the engineering specifications of the products to show how they perform under load.
For their own peace of mind they should be aware of the Australian Standards requirements and the fact they have an obligation to provide products fit for purpose, Mr Taylor said. If suppliers cannot provide documentation, such as Pryda has with its design guides and certificates of compliance, then they should look for another supply source.
For more information, contact David Taylor at Pryda Australia on 1800 810 741.