Non-Conforming Insulation-Three out of Three Chinese Products Fail Australian Tests

28 August 2015 Kingspan Insulation Australia

The use of non-conforming insulation in Australian buildings continues to undermine the National Construction Code, according to manufacturer Kingspan Insulation.

“It’s time for the entire building industry to take a stand against misleading, non-conforming insulation products – the costs are simply too great to ignore,” says Kingspan Insulation Australasia’s Managing Director Scott Gibson.

Kingspan Insulation recently commissioned independent testing of three separate rigid phenolic insulation products imported into Australia from China. All three products failed to meet the declared R-Values for these products in thermal tests, which relate to the insulating characteristics of materials’.

“The tests, conducted by the NATA-accredited independent laboratory AWTA, found these products’ R-values were overstated by 70% on average, with the worst result at over 90%.”

Mr Gibson says Product A, a 40 mm-thick insulation panel, had an advertised R-value of 2.1, but on testing an actual R-value of just 1.1. Product B, a 25 mm-thick panel, had an advertised R-value of 1.2, but a tested of 0.8. The final Product C, a 40 mm-thick panel, had an advertised R-value of 1.9, and a tested R-value of just 1.1.

Chinese Imported Performance Claim Graph
In addition, says Kingspan Insulation’s Technical and R&D Manager Keith Anderson, two of the test products are being promoted as ‘closed cell’ phenolic insulation, which testing revealed to be false. The industry benchmark for closed cell content for phenolic insulation is 90%; however, the tested products had insignificant closed cell content, i.e. 0.01% and 3.25% respectively.

“Non-conforming insulation products are inefficient, unethical and potentially dangerous,” Gibson says. “We shouldn’t tolerate deceptive products that impose heavy costs on the community.” The costs pertaining to non-conforming insulation are profound:
  1. Buildings with substandard or unfit-for-purpose insulation could be a fire hazard, as fire-resistance characteristics might not accord with engineering specifications.
  1. Poor-performing insulation reduces the effectiveness of heating and cooling systems, causing unnecessary energy wastage.
  1. Energy wastage is a drain on the wider society, requiring enhanced infrastructure to meet energy demands and creating higher carbon emissions, contrary to government policy.
  1. Occupants of buildings with poor-performing insulation face higher utility bills, which can reduce the appeal/value of real estate.
Gibson says all levels in the construction supply chain, including building professionals and regulators, have a duty of care to their clients and the community to make sure insulation products comply with mandatory performance benchmarks.

“Apart from the abovementioned risks and hazards, the sale of non-conforming insulation products breaches consumer law,” Gibson adds. “When customers pay for a product and receive an inferior item, they have been duped and misled – that is misleading and deceptive conduct, and it is immoral and illegal. It is deeply concerning to realise that non-conforming insulation has been installed in high-density structures in Australia, including hospitals, retail shopping centres and apartment buildings.”

“Self-declared testing and performance claims simply cannot be trusted anymore.”

The safest solution, Gibson explains, is to rely on third-party independent accreditation to ensure that products are properly rated, and meet or exceed minimum quality standards. Insulation products with CodeMark certification, for instance, have been independently endorsed and tested in accordance with national standards and codes.

Kingspan Insulation Australia

Kingspan Insulation operates Australia wide. Contact us to find your local State Representative. For any enquiries, call 1300 247 235 or send an email to info@kingspaninsulation.com.au.

Head Office

266 Beringarra Avenue, Malaga

Western Australia

6090

Call: 1300 247 235

Fax: 1300 247 329

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