What Defines an ACP?
Firstly, let’s start with the definition of what a composite material is: A composite material is made from two or more materials that have different physical or chemical properties.
When these two materials are combined it produces another material that has its own characteristics and is called a "composite" material.
An aluminium composite panel, generally known as an ACP, is a flat panel product made up of two thin coil-coated aluminium sheets with a NON-aluminium core. The core is made of polyethylene or a mix of polyethylene and fire-resistant mineral filler.
The fact that these types of panels are made from 2 different types of materials (aluminium and a polyethylene/mineral-filled core) is what makes them a "composite" material.
There are three main varieties of aluminium composite panels (ACP’s) as listed below:
While there are varying degrees of fire risk with each of these ACP types, they are ALL deemed COMBUSTIBLE as per the NCC 2019 Specification C1.9(e)(vii) when tested to the required AS 1530.1 test standard.
To avoid the risk of liability or insurance problems it is highly recommended not to specify or install any of these ACP type materials in external wall cladding applications, particularly on Type A or B construction projects in Australia where they are very unlikely to be compliant.
They may be compliant for Type C projects in some applications however insurance companies could still refuse cover or increase premiums as a result of their use so even for Type C projects it is recommended not to specify or install any of the above ACP materials.
ARE THERE SAFE & COMPLIANT ALTERNATIVES TO ACP'S?
YES THERE ARE!
As a locally-based, 100% Australian owned business, BLUECHIP is dedicated to the development of safe and compliant façade materials that ensure the safety of occupants and long-term value for investors and building owners.
They have developed two aluminium façade panel materials listed below that are safe and Deemed-to-Satisfy (DTS) compliant alternatives to combustible ACP’s. They can both be fabricated, folded, and installed using the same well-known and well-proven v-groove mechanical cassette-fix system.
Neither of the below products is a "composite" material as each lamina is made exclusively of aluminium, and both products contain zero percentage (0%) of flammable polyethylene - BLUECHIP prefer to call them All-aluminium Panels or AAP's.
Because these two cladding materials can "not" be defined as an ACP, and are both proven to be Deemed-to-Satisfy (DTS) compliant to the current NCC 2019 backed up with NATA accredited testing, use of these panels will not put you at risk of voiding your professional indemnity (PI) insurance, particularly if your policy has a cladding specific clause in relation to the use of aluminium composite panels (ACP's).
Both these "All-aluminium Panels (AAP's) are DTS Non-combustible when tested to AS 1530.1 and AS 1530.3 in accordance with NCC 2019 Specification C1.9(e)(vii) and for added peace of mind, ULTRACORE has also been tested to AS 5113 full-scale testing to prove it does not contribute to the spread of fire. Both products also have a category D (lowest risk) insurance classification from the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA).
Given all the above, you can confidently specify or install either of these materials in all external cladding applications on any type A, B & C project giving you all the excellent practical benefits of the aluminium cassette-fix cladding system without the risk of compliance issues, future liability or insurance problems.
BLUECHIP also has a network of qualified installers to ensure our cladding materials are installed to a high standard using recommended and best practice installation methods.
They are more than happy to arrange project specific meetings to discuss compliance for your external façade cladding requirements and demonstrate compliance pathways and relevant testing methods in more detail.
To discover more about BLUECHIP and the services / products they offer, head to the BLUECHIP Archify page.
Information sourced from BLUECHIP