The Victorian government has announced a ban on the use of aluminium cladding panels with a polyethylene core of more than 30 percent on high-rise multi-storeyed buildings in the state.
Following up on the recommendation made by the Victorian Cladding Taskforce last year, the Government has revised the guidelines, which will discourage the use of high-content polyethylene (PE) cladding on buildings.
However, the ban has created confusion among developers of under-construction multi-storeyed buildings.
The Victorian ban on the use of aluminium composite panels (ACP) with a PE core exceeding 30 percent on these buildings is being seen as harsher than the planned update of the National Construction Code next year, which would determine compliance based on the panel’s ability to pass specific performance criteria.
The new guidelines would mean panels with a PE core of more than 30 percent cannot even be considered for assessment under these performance markers.
Welcoming the new guidelines, independent fire consultant Stuart Rickerby says tests done on ACPs with 30 percent PE or less have revealed their fire-safe qualities. He adds that there are several ACP options in the market that would meet the new compliance requirements.
But there is an element of ambiguity regarding the impact of the Victorian government’s announcement on buildings under construction.
Builders will be allowed to apply to use a high-content PE cladding on their buildings but they will have to make a case to the state's Building Appeals Board.