The Big Issue: Building Cladding Compliance

The current and ongoing furore concerning Non-Compliant Cladding is of great concern on High-Rise Buildings.


The Age

Friday July 2019

Construction Confidence plummets – Author Clay Lucas

‘…pursue nationally consistent building standards, amid the flammable cladding crisis…’

‘The meeting resulted in ministers agreeing that the Australian Building Codes Board – the body that sets the National Construction Code, which helps guide builders, would be expanded and better resourced…’


This issue is currently limited to Class 2 – 9 Buildings clad with Aluminium Composite Panels, not Class 1 and 10 type Standalone Residential or Duplex residential Construction.  The Building Industry and System suppliers in the Residential Dwelling space (Class1 and 10) must also prepare for non-compliance ramifications.

The official way to follow regulations is to only use current 2019 BCA/NCC Compliant Cladding Systems as controlled by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB).

Most Cladding systems are not covered by Australian Standards.

These are only covered by the terminology, ‘Deemed to Satisfy (DtS)’, which can only be compliant by ABCB approved third party Accreditation Authorities who are generally licenced to provide such Approvals for use.

In the Australian Construction Industry, the acceptable accreditation must generally be System based not Product based.  The Accreditation Process is controlled by The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) with Codemark Certificates of Conformity.  The ABCB/JAS-ANZ Accredits Certification Bodies such as BRANZ and Bureau Veritas to test companies and their products/systems for Compliance and Conformance.

Locally in Victoria we are also fortunate that the Victorian Building Authority (VBA), Accredits DtS Building Systems considered as Conforming by the VBA issued BRAC Certificate.

Unitex is a leading Australian manufacturer of various façade products and systems, including the Unitex Base Board Rendered External Insulation Finishing System and has done so for over 35 Years.

The Unitex Cladding System, called Base Board System is Compliant to BCA/NCC with BUREAU VERITAS, BRANZ and BRAC (see Unitex Certificates:

As such the Unitex Base Board System completed on site (such as your Home), to Certified Specifications, for Building types and Location, is fully able by Legislation to be acceptable to our Building Surveyors Nationally.

As a local Australian quality Manufacturer, Unitex has long ago accepted the need for and expense of Accreditation and yearly audits of all Base Board Production Systems, Laboratory testing, products quality and staff processes.

For Customer confidence Unitex Site Installation Systems are also yearly Audited by both BRANZ and BUREAU VERITAS.

So, for the ultimate APPROVED AND ACCREDITED external insulation (Rv 2.6 for 75mm), for Protected Weatherproof Walls (Unitex Render Systems 35 years history on Australian Homes), and for Bushfire Attack levels 29 for standard and extra protection up to BAL40 available, the Unitex Base Board Systems are unmatched.

Do not hesitate to specify, use and recommend the leading Codemark Accredited, lightweight cladding system, Unitex Base Board.

Concerning fire issues

  • Standard Base Board Systems is compliant to Bushfire Attack Level 29
  • A Base Board System is available compliant to Bushfire Attack Level 40
  • Base Board System tested and passed Australian Standard AS1530.3

Note: 1530.3 Spread of flames: 0, Heat evolved: 0, Ignitability: 0, Smoke developed: 3

  • AS1530.3 compliant products/systems are considered approved construction products under Australian standards.

The Unitex Baseboard System complies with the above tests and requirements, and is approved for use in building class’ 1 and 10 when used in accordance with Unitex specifications.

If you would like further details or information, please contact our Technical Director Andrew Concannon or National Sales Manager Luke Molloy on 03 9768 4900.

For insurance or compliance queries, please refer your provider to this article, or contact Unitex directly.

Unitex will release regular statements as the non-compliant cladding situation evolves.

The Unitex Base Board System is fully accredited and has been in use for over 30 years without issue.

Unitex has always chosen to be aligned with Industry and international best practise providers of Accreditation, currently Branz and Bureau Veritas.

The certifiers of Unitex systems carry out stringent audits of the Unitex products and processes including the following:

  1. Auditing of the Unitex Quality manuals and their implementation.
  2. Auditing of Unitex manufacturing processes.
  3. Auditing of finished manufactured Unitex Base Board and Unitex manufactured  speciality Renders, Textures and Paints.
  4. Auditing of Unitex factory staff.
  5. Auditing of the Unitex product systems.
  6. Auditing of Unitex raw materials.
  7. On-site audits of installers and installed product.

These audits are conducted yearly, and a new Code Mark Certificate is issued every 3 years when no issues are reported to VBA or Australian Building Codes Board.  During our most recent audit, our Auditors were themselves audited by JAZ ANZ experts, this is the organisation (under COAG coalition of Australian Government), who have just withdrawn a range of other manufacturers Certifications.

Our standard Unitex Base Board System is tested certified for use in areas with Bushfire Attack Levels (BAL) up to and including BAL29 which covers the vast majority of metropolitan areas throughout the country. We also have a Unitex Base board System that is able to achieve BAL40.

Unitex prides itself on customer service, combined with technical product quality to world standard Accreditation.  With Unitex, you can be confident of a genuine Accredited system, with every component fit for purpose.

Unitex carries out site inspections to ensure projects are being completed according to written specifications, including removal of incorrect substrates or systems. Unitex also issue a warranty signed by Unitex as product manufacturer and system Supplier and also signed by the Accredited Unitex Installer / applicator.

Please contact our Technical Representatives to discuss your future Accredited cladding projects.

Unitex is proud to be a major sponsor of The Block yet again for 2018. 
This year, Unitex’s unique products and systems have been used to repair the badly damaged Gatwick Apartment facade, and turn it into a beautiful display of Melbourne Architecture.  With architectural mouldings, and cutting edge render/texture/sealer coatings The Gatwick will look stunning for many years to come.  
'This was the ugliest building in St Kilda, and now look at it'
‘This was the ugliest building in St Kilda, and now look at it’

It’s been hiding behind scaffolding all season, but now the grandest reveal on The Block is finally here. Yes, in all her glory, The Gatwick’s exterior has been unveiled and all that’s missing is a bow.

With fresh and bright rendering, The Block has breathed new life into the once rundown hotel, and as you can see in the video above, our Blockheads are proud as punch of the historic building they’ve spent months working on.


The Gatwick just a few short months ago.


Amazing what a lick of paint can do.

Not only is it pretty as a picture outside, the removal of The Gatwick’s scaffolding and tarpaulins means the all-important interiors are now flooded with natural light. 

“Can you believe we worked on this?” a nostalgic Hans asks Courtney.

“No,” she replies. “And we’re still working on it.”

That they are. Back to the grind, kids.


Industry Leaders meet to discuss Safe Cladding in Residential Housing

Melbourne’s weather came to the party when Industry stallwart, Andrew Concannon, met with industry heavyweights Russell Bielenberg (Manufacturing and Product Development Foamex Group Pty Ltd) and Justin Kelsey (General Manager Foamex Group Pty Ltd)).

The group met to discuss the important issues: Media using ‘Fake News’ and false information to smear eifs cladding in general, and the inherent safety of technically certified and accredited usage of EPS cladding systems, such as the Codemark accredited Unitex Base Board.

While it is easy to make sweeping statements and generalisations, it is not much harder to look at the facts and tell the truth. 

There are millions of square meters of specialty rendered EIFS cladding used worldwide.  As mentioned in previous articles, EIFS rendered cladding systems, such as the National Construction Code conforming Unitex Base Board are safe and reliable, when installed as a complete system according to specification.  Apart from the fact that Unitex have been safely installing these systems for over 30 years in Australia, the benefits and reasons for such systems worldwide is due to the need for energy efficiency in our current environment of ever increasing energy prices.  EIFS systems such as Base Board have been proven to  reduce heating and cooling bills by up to 30%.  Internationally for 50 years, and nationally for the last 30 years, Unitex own records show accredited and warranted systems such as Base Board have not contributed to house fires or spread of fire to date.

The lightweight EIFS cladding market, and indeed the building products market in general, have a serious issue with cost-cutting substitutions of quality, specified products, with inferior and sometimes dangerous, imported non-accredited products.  When a project has been planned, engineered and specified to use a quality cladding system, it is done for a reason.  Safety and reliability for the occupants.

Including proven, accredited and warranted Australian made cladding systems such as Base Board, in untrue sweeping statements that all rendered polystyrene ‘esky’ houses are unsafe, is fear mongering at its worst.

If you are unsure or worried that you’re cladding façade is non-conforming, contact Unitex or ensure your builder and building specifier, specify the Unitex Base Board system, which conforms to the National Construction Code.

With today’s vast and easy access to information, it is easy for everyone to research the truth on correctly rendered polystyrene cladding systems, and discover the safety, money saving and design benefits only EIFS polystyrene cladding can provide on your next project.

Recent Customer Concerns

 – the fallout from the London Cladding Inferno.

Given the recent horrific high-rise tower fire in London, and subsequent death toll, it is natural that builders and owners are concerned and looking into the materials used on their buildings.  A recent conversation between a Unitex customer and our Technical Director illustrates this:

To Unitex,

Hi, we are building a new 2 story home using Unitex panels for the upper floors.
with the current issues regarding flammable building coatings can you please give me some information regarding Unitex panels as they are made of expanded Polystyrene which to my knowledge is very flammable and also produces toxic vapours and fumes?


Gday Brian,

Thank you for your email.
Non-conforming products in Multistorey Buildings is certainly a serious topic, and has been for Unitex for decades, and more recently, brought to light to the general public.

Before I go into why the Unitex Base Board System is compliant and National Construction Code approved building system for residential dwellings less than 3 storeys in height, I agree polystyrene is, in itself flammable as is timber and other materials used in typical house construction.

Unitex, who are local Australian manufacturers of a range of modified cement render and texture systems also use flame-retarded expanded polystyrene as the insulant in our now 25 year old External Insulating Cladding System (EIFS), known as Unitex Base Board system.

In international residential construction, responsible companies like Unitex have developed similar EIFS systems in the USA, Europe and Canada for over 35 years, without issue when used as specified.

Unitex Base Board System is not only approved by a document review, but most importantly by full laboratory, weatherproof and fire testing to be accepted in the Australian Residential Construction market as Compliant and conforming to the National Construction Code (BCA).

This is done by the Australian Building Codes Board process of obtaining CODEMARK Accreditation as the required independent third party accreditation.

The Unitex Base Board System, manufacturing system, site installation and processes are yearly audited to fully assure of conformance and that Unitex products, product systems and organisation, do what we say they do.

The standard Unitex Base Board system is tested to be compliant in Bushfire Attack BAL 29 zones, passes Australian Standard Fire Test AS 1530 Part 3.

Our high build render Base Board System also passed for use in bushfire attack BAL 40 zones.

No other company in Australia has such complete testing and accreditation.
This is done for our and your comfort, safety and peace of mind!

In walls where NON COMBUSTABILITY is required to AS 1530 Part 1, you are correct Polystyrene or wood may not be used.

But these are generally 1-2 hr fire rated boundary walls or partition walls. 
In short, if you are in a Bushfire FZ (non-combustible), zone you cannot use Unitex Base Board nor even  timber frames. 

Otherwise in residential dwellings below 3 storey and in class 1-9 building types,
i.e. almost all residential single dwellings, you can feel totally safe but always check with your Building Surveyor who is the ultimate site arbitor.

I have no hesitation in warrantying your Base Board System when done as per Unitex Accredited Specifications.

If you or your Builder or Building Surveyor require further information please don’t hesitate to contact me or our Sales Manager Luke Molloy on 03 9768 4900.

Andrew Concannon.
Technical Director.

This conversation provides an insight into why Unitex has been, and is currently, the market leader in compliant lightweight EIFS cladding, with the most highly accredited and tested solution available in Australia. 

Unitex Base Board is warranted for 7 years if used as specified.  Good builders only use National Construction Code (NCC) compliant materials.

Unitex Base Board from the outset, was designed to provide builders and owners a ‘safe for life’ insulation cladding solution.  One that provides huge energy savings, whilst keeping the occupants as safe as possible.  Polystyrene foam is the ultimate insulator and this is why it is the current world standard for EIFS systems, using fire retarded polystyrene foam without incident.

The London high-rise fire, and similar incidents around the world, including recently in Melbourne, are cause for concern and will hopefully produce meaningful action – that all cladding should be as vigorously tested and accredited as Unitex’s Base Board solution is.

It is sad that it has taken the loss of innocent lives to bring about positive change required for a safe future.

Unitex has been featured in the latest edition of Grand Designs Magazine.  Check out the full magazine here:

The article can be downloaded here: GDA062_236-237 EA Building

Unitex has a proud history of working with Australia’s premium builders, architects and applicators.  The long-lasting relationship between Unitex and Englehart exemplifies this, where beautiful design combines with the use of quality products.

The launch of Engleharts ‘The Kooyong’ display home, sets a new standard in contemporary home designs.  The team of Director Andrew Concannon, Sales Manager Luke Molloy and Technical Sales Representative Omar Abdelal, were proud to showcase the use of Unitex 333 texture, Uni-Base Board Cladding, and speciality renders at the launch of the display, where some of Australia’s finest building professionals were present.

Unitex would like to congratulate Ron Englehart, and the entire team at Englehart Homes, for an outstanding project, and a fine history of never settling for anything but the best.

The Kooyong display home is located at 273 Belmore Road, Balwyn north, Victoria.

Unitex is proud to support Skye United, in their winning season 2016. Skye United’s Coach, Billy Armour, has been a long-standing member of the Unitex Team, and continue’s to score victories on the field, and in the office.


Congratulations Skye United, and Billy!



Englehart together with Unitex has achieved some of Australia’s most prestigious and award winning homes. But none quite like La Provence, Australia’s most awarded display home.

Unitex are proud of the multi awards that this display home for Englehart has achieved and would like to extend congratulations and thanks to Englehart and Lucas Morris Homes for the most deserving title of Australia’s most awarded display home. And for choosing Australia’s highest accredited manufacturer of superior quality systems & products for the walls of buildings nation-wide. Unitex: Your Walls. Our Pride.



Unitex Products used:

Uni-Base Board 75mm
Architectural Uni-Shape® Profiles (exclusively made for Englehart)
Uni-Dry Cote® HiLite Render™
Uni-Dry Cote® Redi Render™ Fine
Uni-PTC (Protective Top Coat)


La Provence

Winner of over 100 Awards, including Master Builder and Professional Builder of the Year.


Englehart Homes.

Lucas Morris Homes.

Unitex is proud to launch the new website for 2013.

With product ratings, online forums, and product libraries, Unitex extends its lead in providing cutting edge building solutions.

Contact our team to discuss your project requirements!

The Render Warehouse which has been recognised by Applicators as a quality partner and supplier of render products has unfortunately gone into liquidation. With the assets and brand having been purchased out of liquidation by Unitex Granular Marble Pty Ltd.

We wish to assure all customers that it will be business as usual for both brand product ranges and service. The Directors of Unitex are pleased with this outcome and look forward to further servicing our Applicator, Builder and Specifier network.

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!

Unitex®, Australia’s first manufacturer of EIFS (External Insulating Finishing Systems), is proud to announce that they have been awarded BRANZ accreditation for the impressive Unitex Base Board Cavity System.

BRANZ Appraisals are independent and unbiased assessments of building products, materials and systems. Products are assessed for Building Code compliance and fitness for purpose. As well as evaluation and testing, BRANZ assesses and continually monitors technical literature, quality control, installation, service performance and maintenance. When it comes to providing third party accreditations for cladding systems, BRANZ is recognised as the leading authority by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB).

“I am thrilled that Unitex has been officially recognised as the leading quality manufacturer and supplier to the Australian building industry,” said Andrew Concannon, Managing Director.

Unitex has been manufacturing the highest quality, protective and decorative cladding systems for 28 years.

The world renowned EIFS system offers the ultimate external insulation in both heat and cold. By choosing the Unitex Base Board System for your project you are not only purchasing the highest quality products by the Australian market leader in the EIFS industry. You also receive a complete warranty (on the full system as specified), proven insulation properties and weather tightness – all backed up the southern hemisphere’s most rigorous authority in scrutinising cladding systems for weather protection – BRANZ.

Unitex customers can also be confident in the quality of manufacture, delivery to site, installation and technical support. While the home owner will enjoy the comfort of insulation, savings on future energy bills and the simply outstanding, low maintenance finish.

In 28 years of supplying Unitex Base Board for projects, Unitex have not had a single claim against their 7-year guarantee. With over 5 million square metres of external walls in Australian homes and commercial projects protected from this country’s harsh, seasonal weather conditions by Unitex, that’s reassuring indeed.