Cladding install isn’t bushfire compliant

We were really happy with the way the cladding was looking, but as I’ve mentioned before we were a little worried about having colorbond flashings. Turns out that the plumber didn’t think that was a problem, because he WASN’T ADDING any more.

The maxline panels clip onto plates that have a removable foam covering on them. The plumber had left the foam on the plates and suspended the panels around 25mm above the bottom flashing. Looks good, but it leaves a gap between the cladding and the house frame. According to the bushfire regulations for Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) 29, we can’t have an opening greater than 3 mm, and I don’t think we can have anything flammable outside the sisalation – in any event I don’t want something flammable there.

2) Joints
All joints in the external surface material of walls shall be covered, sealed, overlapped,
backed or butt-jointed to prevent gaps greater than 3 mm.

So in the event of a bushfire, we can get an ember blowing onto the lip of the flashing, and blowing into the house, or set fire to the foam pads so we’ve got a fire in the walls, or the radiant heat could autoignite the foam pads, or more likely, the pads melt, drip down on the ember and ignite – fire in the walls. It’s not just that it doesn’t comply with regulations, and won’t pass building inspection, it is most definitely a hazard. And it’s a similar issue at the top of the panels, although at least there isn’t a lip purpose designed to catch embers there.

And the plumber is not planning to flash the rough cuts around windows, doors etc.

OMG!!!!

Met the builder on site, and explained the issue. He immediately instructed the plumbers to remove the pads before any more plates were installed, and was going to consult with the building inspector about whether to remove them from the already installed panels. He agreed that flashing was required around the windows, and talked about potentially using flame retardant materials to caulk up all the gaps. The whole house would be caulking! Although I think he was just clutching at straws and after taking a more detailed look, I don’t think he really believes it’s a viable option. I hope not. He was interested to see if there were flashings that could be installed after the panels…

There are appropriate Maxline flashings to cover all of these things – neat and tidy and BAL compliant. It’s just they need to be installed BEFORE the panels are fitted. Revolution Roofing had provided all the details to the plumbers (Kingbuilt had just contracted them to do the job, and don’t work with them often) and they had just elected not to buy/use them. They knew the house was BAL rated, but didn’t bother looking at the regulations and ensure that they complied.

The right solution would be to stop installing panels, remove the ones already installed, buy and install the correct flashings, and then reinstall the panels (without the pads).

What the actual solution will be, I have no idea.

Did I say lockup by Xmas?

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