The release of the 2019 National Construction Code (NCC) saw significant changes in the insulation industry with May 1 marking the compliance deadline for soffit insulation. The introduction of the new construction code coincided with the end of a three-year transition period for changes called up in the 2016 NCC.

Both sets of changes have shown big improvements for the Australian construction industry particularly in how they pertain to fire safety and energy efficiency for insulation in Australian buildings.

Under the 2016 NCC, changes were made to the method of attaining a Group Number. Under standard AS 5637.1, materials are now required to undergo an ISO 9705 full room fire test, with materials installed in both walls and ceiling. Previously, materials were only required to be installed in their intended application – either walls or ceiling – not both.

Insulation Australasia released an industry alert, shedding further light on the change, and asserting that concessions for all test reports indicating a Group Number prior to the introduction of AS 5637.1 have now ceased, and any such tests should be deemed invalid.

Responding to these changes, insulation giant Kingspan Insulation replaced their popular soffit board insulation with a newer version, Kooltherm K10 FM G2 soffit board in order to meet the new compliance requirements.

“With a stronger focus on fire performance in our buildings, the industry has been very receptive to the change in fire testing requirements and have had no issues with adopting our new soffit board product in order to meet these new requirements,” commented Kingspan Insulation’s technical services manager Killian Smith.

The new soffit range has achieved a Group 2 rating under the new AS 5637.1 provisions and has already begun successfully rolling out across the country.