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How Should We Deal with the Ambiguities in the BCA?

Supawood’s commitment

Supawood has a simple way of handling any ambiguity that apply to fire safety and compliance in accordance with Building Codes of Australia and Fire Resistance Levels (FRL) that apply to building products and materials.

Put simply, we don’t leave anything to chance when it comes to designing, manufacturing, supplying fire resistant panels that are certified by NATA or IANZ fire engineers in accredited laboratories, using fire assessments of our installed systems.

Why is there still ambiguity regarding the changes made to the BCA in May 2019?

Since 2019 NCC/BCA came into effect, a lot of confusion has emerged around fire compliance of interior linings (Eg. fire resistant panels) used in commercial buildings, as outlined in C1.10 in Volume 1 of the NCC.

Much of the confusion stems from suppliers who submit ambiguous or non-compliant fire tests and reports. Often tests or reports are submitted without clear guidance of what product configurations and install method the test or report applies to. Unfortunately, such ambiguous reporting only leads to incomplete veracity of fire resistant compliance, potential project delays, hidden costs and client frustration.

For this reason, the BCA is tightening processes to demand that fire resistant interior linings pertain a complete copy of the original certificate, report, or document is to be submitted to ensure the product has been tested in accordance to how it will be installed on site.

Determining the integrity of a fire resistant panel should be verifiable by referring to design specifications, diagrams, photos or a detailed descriptions in the full report.

What Supawood Does (and will not do)

At Supawood, we believe in doing things right the first time, by using products, processes and materials that are proven for compliance and fire-safe.

Supawood only uses fire tests and fire assessments from NATA or IANZ accredited laboratories, as our view is that only these fire engineers are appropriately qualified for the job.

We choose this course of operation because NATA or IANZ accredited fire engineers have superior expertise and access to the knowledge gleaned from all the tests that have been conducted in the industry, which are peer reviewed and ISO 17025 certified.

Supawood does not use fire tests or fire assessments from non-certified fire laboratories or fire engineers as these will be likely based on incomplete information and performance assumptions, therefore may be ambiguous or misleading.

Supawood’s commitment is to ensure that any fire test or fire assessment we supply will match the actual install, materials and function of the system supplied to the site.

For example, Supawood do not use fire intumescent paints, as these require a specified thickness of paint to be applied to the edges of all holes and slots, which is impossible to guarantee in reality.

SUPAWOOD products are fully compliant with the current relevant NCC/BCA standards in all respects: Reaction to Fire, Non-Combustibility, Seismic, Acoustic, and Sustainability. We are known for this and for providing clear and concise compliance information to design and building professionals.

If you have any questions about this topic, or you would like help selecting fire resistant wall panels or fire resistant panels for ceilings for your project, please Contact Supawood.

The Stardust night club fire in 1981 killed 48 and injured 214. This video shows a recreation of the fire and demonstrates how quickly linings can contribute to flashover.