The residential construction market has been going through tough times with the current COVID-19 pandemic presenting fresh challenges for the entire property industry.
However, one of the most serious problems impacting high-rise domestic dwellings pre-dates the Coronavirus pandemic by several years. Ignored for a long time, building waterproofing presents an even greater issue than ‘at risk’ or non-compliant cladding.
Up to 30% of high rise housing stock can be affected by waterproofing issues, according to various independent and government studies from around the world including Canada and New Zealand. Here in Australia, failed waterproofing is the most common defect nationally and while the total cost of building defects nationwide is expected to top $6.2 billion in the last decade, weather and water damage issues account for $1.4 billion of that total – paid for, mostly by homeowners and insurance companies.
Since insurance is perhaps the most significant factor affecting facade compliance, it is imperative that all in the facade approval chain fully understand the code and requirements. The mandated AS4284 waterproofing test report will not address the issue. For a building’s facade to be compliant, it is critical to review the respective test reports and - in the case of weatherproofing - make sure the detailing and pressures are relevant to each specific project. In other words, the AS4284 paperwork is not proof of compliance.
Having conducted considerable research and extensive independent testing of its products’ waterproofing performance, Fairview, as a national leader in facade solutions, has engineered high performance weatherproofing systems using several of its key products.
Under independent tests at a NATA-approved testing laboratory, three Fairview products - Stryüm, Vitracore G2 and Vitradual - all exceeded the minimum testing requirements as well as the best-attempt results attained by any of its key competitors’ products.
Highlights of the shower and pressure tests conducted in Q1 of 2020 in a specially built chamber with one clad wall delivered stunning performance results. A key measurement in the waterproofing testing is the air pressure, which gauges the cladding systems’ ability to prevent leakages under skyscraper-height wind conditions. All of the 2020 independent system tests proved that the three Fairview products performed well in excess of the NCC Verification Method, which nominates up to 2.5kPA as a performance target.
These NATA-standard results accurately assess the ‘Serviceability’ attributes of three diverse Fairview cladding products, showing superior performance over almost any other product on the market. In fact, during ultimate testing, Vitradual actually withstood the highest pressures the testing equipment could generate (4.5kPa) so its real attributed pressures could actually have been higher.
All three cladding systems passed with flying colours, which is testament to the work done by Fairview’s innovations and solutions teams who specialise in designing products and systems that don’t just match code, but significantly exceed code requirements.
Building and facade cladding is all about compliance, and compliance is much more than combustibility or flammability. Architects, builders, specifiers, certifiers, developers and even facade manufacturers and suppliers mustn’t mistakenly think that compliance is found in a piece of AS4284 documentation, which will likely be insufficient for insurable compliance.
Every discreet project will have a ‘Serviceable wind-load pressure’ and an ‘Ultimate wind-load pressure’, which must be known in order to ascertain whether a particular product can be used on a specific building. In these recent NATA certified standards, the three Fairview products performed considerably better than virtually all others, which means they are the best choice for your facade.
Remember, if your project or building insurance excludes non-compliant cladding and the cladding system leaks, insurance is not going to cover it.