Lifestyle, Tech

Deciphering the Building Cladding Predicament: What’s Stirring the Debate?

During the last few years, there has been a lot of publicity and many discussions about the necessity to clad buildings. Part of the debate is around questions of whether it is needed to clad stone, brick and plaster surfaces for any other reason than aesthetic effect. The emphasis of this article will be on the dilemma regarding the material itself – whether it is compliant or non-compliant with Australian building and fire regulations.

Australian situation

Alucobond panels have been used for years in the Australian building industry. The problem is that there has been a decline in building manufacturing since early 1900 and most building supplies are now manufactured outside Australia in countries such as Germany, USA, Brazil, India and many more. It is difficult to always determine whether the material manufactured there conforms to Australian standards and regulations.

Government is especially worried that fire safety regulations are not adhered to. The majority of cladding installers Sydney ensure that Alucobond panels and sheets they use conform to regulations. However, when a quoted Alucobond price is considerably lower than the “normal” price, it might be non-compliant sheets.

Why are aluminium composite panels such a problem?

This material is used as lightweight cladding. It comprises two aluminium sheets as a “skin” with an inner core. This inner core is supposed to be fire-resistant. The degree of resistance is one of the problems authorities have.

In some instances, the material doesn’t have to be fire-resistant at all but some contractors also illegally use cheaper low-resistant cladding with combustible materials in the core where the building and fire regulations require material which can withstand high temperatures and even fires.

The debate

Nowadays, part of the debate is becoming more and more focused on whether cladding is of any use except for actual isolation purposes.

Anti- cladding

The people against unnecessary cladding use the statistics about fires in cladded buildings to make their point. Since 2005 there have been at least 19 fires worldwide where cladding has been involved. Up to 80 people died in some of these fires. In Dubai, for instance, more than 5 fires have broken out in cladded apartment buildings. The question is asked whether the aesthetic value of it is worth the fire disasters and death of people.


In Australia, Alucobond cladding installers in general use material with the prescribed core material for safe use in hot temperatures. It is also a very cost-effective way to insulate buildings and enhance the beauty of a building.


As long as Alucobond Australia installers use locally manufactured and imported panels which are in accordance with government’s regulations the panels will not cause fire hazards and will in fact be fire retardants. Therefore, it seems as if many exterior sections of buildings will for the unforeseen future still safely be cladded with this material in Australia.

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