Some types of cladding made from aluminium composite panels (also called ACPs) have been banned in NSW due to fire safety risks. This page explains the ban, the exceptions, and how it might affect you.
Cladding is often used to cover the external walls of a building. A growing number of modern buildings utilise cladding made up of composite panels, such as aluminium composite panels. These are generally two thin sheets of aluminium separated by a core material. The core can be made up of polyethylene (PE), mineral fibre or a combination of both, and can contribute to how easily the cladding burns and its potential to spread fire.
In NSW, ACP with a core comprised of more than 30% PE by mass has been banned for use in any external cladding, external wall, external insulation, facade or rendered finish in buildings with the following classification:
- Type A construction as defined in the Building Code of Australia:
- Class 2, 3 and 9 buildings with a rise in storeys of three or more
- Class 5, 6, 7 and 8 buildings with a rise in storeys of four or more
- Type B construction as defined in the Building Code of Australia:
- Class 2, 3 and 9 buildings with a rise in storeys of two or more
- Class 5, 6, 7 and 8 buildings with a rise in storeys of three or more
Any person or corporation who does not comply with the ban can be subject to fines. A corporation can be fined up to $1.1 million and individuals can be fined up to $220,000.
The ban took effect on 15 August 2018.
There are two exceptions to the ban:
- The building product is not deemed combustible by successfully passing a test in accordance with Australian Standard 1530.1-1994 ‘Methods for fire tests on building materials, components and structures’ (AS 1530.1), or
- The building product and proposed external wall assembly has successfully passed a test for both the EW (external wall fire spread) and BB (building-to-building fire spread) classifications in accordance with Australian Standard 5113 ‘Fire Propagation testing and classification of external walls of buildings’ (AS 5113), and ‘the proponent’ of the use of the building product tested to AS 5113, documents by statutory declaration, that the building product will be installed in a manner identical to the tested prototype wall assembly or façade.
Under the ban, ‘the proponent’ is taken to be one of the following persons:
- the person recommending or specifying the use of the building product;
- the person who uses the building product; or
- the ‘owner’ within the meaning of the Building Products (Safety) Act 2017.
IMPORTANT: The AS 1530.1 or AS 5113 test results which are relied upon to except a building product from the ban must:
- be dated on or after 1 July 2017;
- be produced by an Accredited Testing Laboratory; and
- describe the methods and conditions of the test;
- describe the form of construction of the tested building product or prototype wall assembly or facade.
What does this mean for me?
It is important to remember that the presence of aluminium composite panels on a building does not mean it is non-compliant or a safety hazard. The configuration of the cladding, how it has been used and other fire safety measures installed in the building will also be relevant.
For manufacturers and suppliers
Manufacturers and suppliers should consider whether any of their building products are affected by the ban and provide appropriate information to purchasers and potential purchasers. Heavy penalties can apply to businesses who provide information to consumers that is misleading or deceptive.
Builders who think they may be using or installing banned cladding on a multi storey building described by the ban should contact the supplier or manufacturer to confirm whether the product is banned. If it is, the builder must stop using the product and discuss options with the principal contractor, developer or other relevant party.
Owners are encouraged to get in touch with their owners corporation (if they live in a strata scheme) or their local council or a relevant fire safety professional to assess their building.
See our frequently asked questions below for more information.
History of the ban
16 June 2017
The NSW Government began implementing a co-ordinated, whole of government response to the Grenfell Tower fire in London, which included the creation of an inter-agency Fire Safety and External Wall Cladding Taskforce. The members of the Taskforce include representatives from NSW Fair Trading. Read more about the taskforce priorities.
28 July 2017
The NSW Government announced reforms being carried out by the Taskforce to further strengthen fire safety, particularly around potentially flammable cladding. You can read more about the reforms and the work of the taskforce on the Department of Customer Service website.
23 March 2018
The NSW Commissioner for Fair Trading called for public submissions on whether to issue a ban for certain types of external cladding on buildings and if so, what the terms of such a ban might be.
The Commissioner considered a broad range of sources when making the ban, such as the public submissions, expert advice, relevant national and international reports, and NSW Cladding Taskforce data. Based on these sources, the Commissioner determined that the use of ACP with a core comprised of greater than 30% PE by mass poses a safety risk in certain multi storey buildings and is unsafe for use, subject to specific exceptions.
10 August 2018
The Commissioner gave notice of her intention to impose a building product use ban on these types of ACPs.
15 August 2018
The ban came into effect. The ban remains in effect until it is revoked.
In response to the Grenfell Tower fire in London, an inter-agency Fire Safety and External Wall Cladding Taskforce was created to ensure that fire safety for residential buildings are prioritised and properly addressed. This Taskforce is led by the Department of Customer Service. Updates on the work of the Taskforce is available on the Department of Customer Service website.
Frequently asked questions
For home owners
Is cladding safe?
It depends on how it has been used. If your building has cladding, it does not necessarily mean it is a safety hazard. The best way to find out if the cladding on your building is safe is to get a fire safety assessment from a fire safety professional.
How do I check if my building has used the banned building product?
Get in touch with your owners corporation (if you live in a strata scheme) or your local council or a relevant fire safety professional to assess their building.
Strata managing agents, building, property or maintenance managers for multi-story residential buildings can:
- review all design and construction documents to determine whether the external wall cladding uses the banned cladding product
- check that the annual fire safety statement is up-to-date
- engage a fire safety professional
See Fire safety and external wall cladding for more information. It is important to remember that the existence of the ban does not automatically require rectification of existing buildings with a banned cladding product where the product was used before the ban was issued.
What if my building already has a banned ACP product?
Unless certain criteria are satisfied, the cladding ban prohibits the use of ACP with a core comprised of greater than 30 percent PE by mass in any external cladding, external wall, external insulation, façade or rendered finish in certain types of buildings.
The ban aims to prevent these products from being used in the future on specific building types. It does not have an automatic effect on buildings that already have this product on them before the ban.
If a building has used this product before the ban was in force, then the Commissioner can issue an ‘affected building notice’ to the owners and occupiers of the building, the local council, the relevant enforcement authority and the Commissioner of Fire and Rescue. An affected building notice can be used to alert relevant parties that the building is an affected building, and the type of safety risks that are posed by the building product.
If you are concerned that your building may be an affected building, you should contact the local council, fire safety professional, or relevant enforcement authority to discuss what action should be taken.
Individuals who live in or own an apartment that is managed under a strata scheme should contact their owners corporation for this information. More information is also available on our fire safety and external wall cladding page.
Will I be required to remove / rectify the cladding?
Possibly. The ban does not automatically require rectification of affected buildings.
Your local council, fire safety professional, or relevant enforcement authority could require the building owner to eliminate or minimise the safety risk posed by the cladding, or remediate or restore the building.Their assessment of the safety risk of the cladding will be determined on a case-by-case basis, based on a review of the entire building and its systems and their interaction with the cladding, rather than focussing strictly on the type of cladding used.
For more information on assessment considerations for councils and other authorities, refer to the Guide for the Assessment of Buildings with Combustible Cladding.
If work is required to make a building safe, it will be the responsibility of the owner/s to ensure this work is carried out. If you live in or own an apartment that is managed under a strata scheme, the owners corporation may receive a rectification order on your behalf.
What do I do if my building is under construction?
If you are concerned your building is being built using banned cladding, contact the principal contractor, the builder and/or the certifier to discuss your concerns. All building practitioners are under a legal obligation to not use the banned cladding in certain multi storey buildings.
For builders / manufacturers / suppliers
I’m a manufacturer/supplier – how am I affected?
You need to consider whether any of your building products are affected by the ban and provide appropriate information to purchasers and potential purchasers.
Heavy penalties can apply to businesses who provide information to consumers that is misleading or deceptive.
I’m a builder – how am I affected?
Builders who think they may be using or installing banned cladding on a multi storey building described by the ban should contact the supplier or manufacturer to confirm whether the product is banned. If it is, the builder must stop using the product and discuss options with the principal contractor, developer or other relevant party on what to do next.
I am constructing a Type A or Type B building and I think I’m using the banned cladding – what do I do?
You must make sure that they do not use the building product in contravention of the ban. Contact the supplier or manufacturer to confirm whether the product captured by the ban. If it is, you must stop using it and discuss options with the principal contractor, developer or other relevant party on what to do next.
Do I still have to comply with the requirements of the National Construction Code or planning laws if my building product satisfies the exceptions and is permitted to be used?
Yes. The ban applies in addition to all other relevant requirements, including under the National Construction Code, Australian Standards and state-based laws (including planning controls). You will still require all the normal planning and building approvals and consents required for development and building.
The cladding has been tested and is exempt - can I use it?
The AS 1530.1 or AS 5113 test result report can be relied upon, so long as:
- the tests are dated on or after 1 July 2017; and
- the test results are produced by an Accredited Testing Laboratory; and
- the test report describes the methods and conditions of the test; and
- the test report describes the form of construction of the tested building product or prototype wall assembly or façade.
See the notice for more information.
I have test reports from different Australian Standards (other than AS 1530.1 or AS 5113) or international tests – can I use these reports as evidence to meet the ban?
No, you must provide a test report to AS 1530.1 or AS 5113. Alternative testing will not be accepted in lieu of these Australian Standards.
Where can I find the Australian Standards?
AS 1530.1 and AS 5113 are available for a fee online on the SAI Global Store.