Building Combustibility and Cladding


As long as there is fuel for a fire, we have seen that it can be easily spread from floor to floor, through and over facades, and the result can be catastrophic. A fire hazard is more severe if the components of the façade system are combustible and/or incorrectly installed.
Do you know any common exterior faced materials that are combustible? Here are some:
• Exterior Insulation Finish System (EIFS)
• High-Pressure Laminates
• Structural Insulation Panel Systems (SIPS)
• Weather Resistive Barriers (WRB)
• External Timber Panelling
• PE Aluminium Composite Material (ACM)

You may have seen or heard about the Dubai Torch Tower going up in flames. Do you know the cause?
Apparently someone was smoking on the 50th floor, and the cladding combusted into flames. It was made from a polyethylene foam and thin aluminium, which is highly flammable. This type of cladding is called aluminium composite panels. It usually consists of polyethylene or mineral-based material, or both, sandwiched between the aluminium panels. The core material is what affects the fires combustibility.
When talking about aluminium composite panels, issues are primarily related to multi-storey buildings. There is then a potential for vertical fires when incorrect products have been used. This affects the safety of building occupants, the public, and emergency personnel. We need to ensure that all building materials, components or systems are suitable and appropriate for their intended use.

Building Code of Australia (BCA) Requirements
It is a requirement under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and Regulation that building work is carried out in accordance with the BCA.
The issues with external wall construction, including aluminium composite panels, primarily relates to Volume One of the BCA (which pertains to class 2 to 9 buildings) and to buildings of Type A or B construction.
The BCA includes requirements for materials used in the construction of external walls and attachments to external walls, however, careful consideration needs to be given to the understanding of what constitutes an external wall and what is an attachment to an external wall in order to ensure that relevant provisions of the BCA are met.

For help: call us on 9295 0311 or send an email to

For more see:

Click to access PE-ACM-The-Issue-of-Combustibility.pdf