'Safety is not a matter of good luck'
The Building Ministers' Forum (BMF) recognises that the issue of non-conforming/ non-compliant building products (NCBP), whether domestically manufactured or imported, is important and complex. It can have economic, health, legal, safety, and social consequences, not to mention, life and death consequences.
A non-complying product can pose serious risks to the building itself, people on the construction site and ultimately those who live in it. Non-conforming building products are 'products and materials that claim to be something they are not; do not meet required standards for their intended use; or are marketed or supplied with the intent to deceive those who use them'.
It also recommended that the BMF note the value and importance of existing building industry initiatives, such as industry third party certification schemes, in identifying instances of building product non-conformity.
A new law in Victoria prohibits builders from appointing building surveyors who are meant to check their work. Clients now appoint their own building surveyor, who is very much like a regulatory policeman, there to police regulatory compliance.
We receive more and more phone calls from building surveyors and inspectors about compliance before they complete their paperwork and before our windows and doors are specified for a particular job. It seems that with the number of non-compliant products having entered the market, building professionals are becoming increasing careful, and checking whether a piece of paper saying that a particular product complies with the Australian Standard is in fact correct.
This seems to be a step in the right direction as it eliminates non-compliant products and possibly serious issues later in the building stage. An Ai Group report found in brief that ‘companies, including importers, manufacturers and fabricators that are 'playing by the rules' are adversely affected by suppliers of non-conforming building products and this results in an uneven playing field’.
Paarhammer has their products tested and approved by independent third party certifiers like WERS, AWA and CSIRO, as well as bushfire products by NATA-accredited Exova-Warringtonfire. The company itself is also FSC Chain-of-Custody certified. To ensure continued compliance, most of these third party certifications get audited every year.
Tracy Gramlick (CEO of the AWA - Australian Windows Association) said in a recent article in The Age, that ‘there was a national trend of cheaper imported glass and glazing products being used to save money, but when problems occurred these initially cheaper products could end up costing millions to fix’.
When specifying windows and doors, ensure that the company is a member of a relevant industry group and has up-to-date compliance certification for all their products and that their claims can be verified.