Q&A with: (above right) Andrew Concannon, Unitex Managing Director and
(above left) Peter Roberts, Unitex Research & Development Manager.
Interviewed by: Sally Parrott, Freelance Writer.
What makes Unitex Base Board ‘waterproof’ – is it the Unitex Polymer Render, the Uniflex membrane, the Uni-shape sealant used to seal joints, Adhesive foam to sheet the junctions….Or is it a combination of all these?
AC: The complete system provides a secure weather-proof exterior envelope.
PR: If the Unitex Technical Manual is followed to the letter, it is proven by accreditation testing to be water-tight.
How does it hold up against condensation – with the new BCA rules encouraging builders to make buildings seal tight for energy efficiency, how does Unitex base-board adhere to this?
AC: The Unitex Base Board system when installed correctly does not allow water penetration from external sources and hence in itself reduces the risk of condensation. We have been manufacturing EIFS systems for 27 years, making us the most experienced manufacturer in Australia in this field, and we have not experienced such issues. We are aware of these issues in NZ, which were mostly the result of incorrect installation of fibre cement cladding systems.
How does it hold up against wind and water pressure at corners and exposed edges?
PR: BRANZ and CSIRO tested for water penetration and CSIRO tested for wind loadings, which the product system passed – it is on the basis of these and other results that the BRAC certificate was awarded. CSIRO have determined the optimum spaces between fixes for various wind conditions up to N5, the product is not for cyclonic regions. CSIRO have tested the product for water penetration and have found no water penetrated the system.
How does the finishing’s help (paint or render) with waterproofing?
PR: The Unitex Render, texture and protective top coat systems are an important aspect and form part of the BRAC accreditation (BRANZ and CSIRO tested on the complete system), as they provide an outer barrier to water penetration.
AC: All components of the Base Board system comprise The Unitex External Insulation Finishing System – therefore all combined they form a weather-proof envelope to the building structure.
Why did Unitex decide to seek accreditation?
AC: Where there is no Australian Standard the only path to BCA compliance is via the alternative solution process based on 3rd party accreditation.
How many other Unitex and/or competitor products have this kind of accreditation?
PR: We believe Unitex are the only company with a complete as installed system to be awarded the accreditation.
AC: To our knowledge a small number of our competitors have a product certified and not a complete as installed system, which can lead to confusion in subsequent warranty responsibilities.
What did it involve?
AC & PR: This is an ongoing process of accreditation. Unitex started this process 15 years ago with an ABSAC (CSIRO) accreditation for Brennar Insulation Panels. 5 years later the Unitex TWS system was similarly awarded a CSIRO appraisal. Now, 10 years later we have been awarded BRAC accreditation from the Building Commission of Victoria. Further certifications are currently in progress for National accreditation via CodeMark.
What does this mean now?
PR: The Building commission of Victoria is satisfied that the Unitex Base Board system when used in accordance with the Unitex Technical Manual is an acceptable Building System for the external insulation and protection of buildings under Class 1-10 of the Building Code of Australia.
AC: What it means for our customers is that Building Surveyors can sign off projects incorporating the Unitex system with risk-free confidence. For the Builder and Home Owner they can be confident that the Unitex EIFS system delivers on its promises, and thus it is not just us saying this – someone else also said so!