Construction Sector Acts on Faulty Products 1

Friday, December 18th, 2015
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The construction sector in Australia has taken further action in its efforts to rid the building sector of dangerous and life-threatening products which do not meet Australian standards under the Building Code of Australia.

As concern over the importation of dangerous and dodgy products into Australian buildings and houses continues to grow, around 40 major industry representative groups have worked with the Australian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC) to release the second version of the Australian Construction Procurement guide, which outlines the steps which designers and builders should take to ensure products which they select, purchase and install are fit for purpose.

The move comes amid growing concern over the potential for dangerous building products to cause catastrophic loss of life.

Speaking before a recent Senate Inquiry, Melbourne’s Metropolitan Fire Brigade fire safety director Adam Dalrymple warned of grave concerns about the potential of products which don’t meet standards  to cause ‘disastrous loss of life,’ and said no modern apartment building can be deemed to be fire safe because of the extensive use of non-compliant cladding.

That warning comes as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) warned in October that deadly cable which did not meet safety standards remained in thousands of homes despite the regulator having spent millions on a nationwide recall.

Of all of the 4,000 kilometres worth of dangerous cable supplied in around 40,000 homes and businesses around the country between 2010 and 2013, around 62 per cent remained in place and had yet to be remediated, the ACCC said.

Originally released in 2014, the revised guide sets out a framework for ensuring building products purchased from suppliers comply with all relevant legal requirements to be used in buildings within Australia.

APCC chairman David McHugh said the guide highlighted the importance of understanding responsibilities when it comes to the question of whether or not products are fit for purpose, and that the compliance and durability of products were major risk factors which need to be considered and managed.

Housing Industry Association executive director, building and development, Kristen Brookfield said the guide would not only help suppliers understand how to correctly test and label their products and provide the right information but also builders and trade contractors to get the right product for the job.

“Knowing the right questions to ask and what to check when products are delivered on site has become an extremely difficult task,” Brookfield said.

An important part of the guide revolves around the recognition of a range of product accreditation schemes.

All in all, 34 such schemes are recognised across categories such as reinforcing and structural steel, cementitious materials for concrete, wood products, glazing products, electrical products, fire safety services, plumbing products, insulation products, coating products and building products.

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  1. Mark Whitby

    Good article Andrew.

    I'm glad something is being done at long? last.

    But there is action and there is ACTION.

    Has legislation been passed to stop the owners having to pay for these tragedies? If it ever happens, is it to be retrospective?

    And are those who specified the product (or could have stopped its use), the manufacturer of the product, and the building surveyor who permitted its use… still registered and operating??

    Wouldn't it be nice to have some REAL ACTION