Pryda Australia  is backing an industry campaign spearheaded by the Housing Industry Association (HIA) to ensure building products meet Australian Standards and comply with the Building Code of Australia.
The move follows a recent HIA summit that identified a significant and growing number of non-compliant building products within the residential housing sector, use of which could lead to a possible risk of failure within the building design and result in significant rectification costs, according to Pryda’s Category Manager, David Taylor.
Some of these products include strapping, bracing and tie down connectors, concrete and reinforcing, structural grade timber and LVL, structural steel and steel framing, windows and glazed doors, balustrading, roofing, wall cladding and masonry materials.
Pryda is focussing its efforts on structural connections and bracing products, based on its considerable proven expertise and testing experience.
Pryda used a CSIRO organised salt spray test to check not only its own products but seven of its competitors. While the Pryda products held up well over more than two months of testing, five of the others failed badly with several beginning to rust prolifically in only a few days. Mr Taylor comments that these products are expected to meet Australian Standard AS1684-2010 parts two, three and four covering residential timber framed construction.
He explains that bracing and structural connectors are to be manufactured from G300 or equivalent structural grade steel as the steel supplier guarantees a minimum yield strength on which the timber connectors’ design values are based. The G300 steel should also have a zinc coating thickness of 275 gsm, referred to as Z275 to provide adequate corrosion protection in internal applications in most environments. But many of the tested products did not meet these requirements.
Mr Taylor expressed his concerns about timber connectors and bracing products on building sites and hardware merchants’ shelves that are manufactured with inferior steel and corrosion protection. The products are not only non-compliant, they are also not supported with engineering data to confirm how the products perform under load.
While Pryda is keen to assist the HIA in raising awareness of non-compliance, the company also has moved to alert the industry about the potential problems with inferior connectors and bracing through training and marketing campaigns with building approval bodies such as the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors.
Another Pryda initiative is to encourage hardware merchants to ask suppliers for documentation detailing the engineering specifications of the products to show how they perform under load. Mr Taylor believes that the hardware traders should be aware of the Australian Standards requirements not only for their own peace of mind but also for the obligation they have to their customers to provide products fit for purpose.