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Aluminium Composite Material – What you should know

24 November 2017

Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) also known as Aluminium Composite Panel (ACP) is a building material that is commonly used as a lining to external walls.

The Aluminium Composite Material has an aluminium sheet at the front and back and a central core material. The ACM is typically 5-6 mm thick. The core is made of a variety of different materials and it is the core that is the concern with respect to fire spread. Unfortunately, all ACM’s look the same when installed.

Some core types comply with the requirements of the BCA and are an acceptable product and can remain in place with no work required. Other cores that are highly flammable do not comply with the provisions of the BCA and consideration needs to be given to the replacement of the material.

The BCA has limitations to its use, location and fire hazard properties for various types of building, and it can be difficult to establish whether or not compliance has been achieved.

There are two ways that the product can be verified:

1. Builder provides details

The age of the building is an important factor in assessing the type of ACM on the building.

The builder can provide details of the material used, along with any insulation behind the ACM. These details should be verified with an order or invoice from the supplier.

The supplier can then be contacted to confirm they did supply the product to that address.

This is the quickest, easiest and most cost-effective way of identifying the ACM used, however it does not:

  • provide verification that it has been installed in the correct locations, complies with the limitations of the BCA or the nominated insulation was installed.
  • identify where a specified material has been substituted with an inferior material for part or all of the project.

2. Panel assessed on site

Identification of the brand and type of ACM installed is difficult however, with the assistance of an experienced contractor, the panel can be visually inspected, or a small hole cut or a panel can be removed.

Most manufacturer’s do provide a marking (date stamp) in the middle of each panel identifying the manufacturer, product type and the batch number.

Any insulation can also be assessed at this time.Once identified, the panel can be re installed on the same day it was removed.

The ACM can then be assessed against the provisions of the BCA with respect to fire resistance, location, limitations of the BCA, and the approvals granted for the building. By identifying the brand of ACM on site, it gives the greatest assurance as to the type of ACM used.

BCA Logic has a team of experienced building surveyors and fire safety engineers that can assist clients in the identification of the ACM applied to a building, and for assessing whether or not compliance has been achieved with the BCA.

Contact us on (02) 9411 5360 or