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High fire risk for popular building signage

By October 7, 2020No Comments

In March 2018 changes to the Building Code of Australia banned aluminium composite panels (ACPs) on external walls in WA. These changes occurred because of the high fire risk associated with ACPs, especially when used for external wall cladding.

The changes have an impact on acrylic signage too, since plastics are also banned. This means acrylic signage is no longer an option for many building signage projects. Luckily, there are safer alternatives that look just as good.

Here’s what you need to know.

ACP poses a high fire risk

ACP in wall cladding has been linked to severe fire hazards. The Building Commission Industry issued a bulletin stating that ACP products can cause rapid vertical spread of fire via the façade of the building which raises serious safety concerns.

Amendments to the Building Code of Australia were implemented after a comprehensive investigation into what caused a fire to spread quickly through the Lacrosse Building in Melbourne.

Victoria’s Metropolitan Fire Brigade found that the 2014 fire was partly caused by ACP cladding, which did not comply with building standards at the time. The City of Perth has audited over 70 high risk buildings since the fire.

Flames spread rapidly up the external wall cladding at the Lacrosse building in Melbourne in November 2014.

Flames spread rapidly up the external wall cladding at the Lacrosse building in Melbourne in November 2014. (Source: The Conversation)

Why is there a ban on acrylic building signage?

ACP has always been a popular cladding material for the exterior walls of buildings. However, ACP is also commonly used for signage, with its polyethylene core located between two thin aluminium panels.

This means that any exterior wall building signage that contains ACP, including acrylic signage, is no longer permitted.

Mick Harrold, the Chairman of the Australian Sign and Graphic Association said that although the target of the building code changes was the cladding industry, the signage industry has been caught in the net.

Luckily, there are alternatives to acrylic building signage that are not only safe, but also look just as good.

Aluminium an alternative to acrylic building signage

Aluminium is an excellent alternative to acrylic signage, as it offers a very similar effect and is surprisingly affordable. Here are some more reasons why aluminium more than gets the job done.

  • It’s strong – despite being thinner and more lightweight than other building signage materials, it’s still incredibly strong and rigid.
  • It’s weather resistant – which makes it perfect for outdoor signage, even in extreme weather conditions.
  • It’s rust proof and water proof – which means it will remain in good condition for many years, without breaking down.
  • It’s easy to customise – aluminium can be used in many different ways – from specialised cut-outs to illuminated signage.
  • It looks professional – although aluminium is an affordable signage material, it looks expensive.

Safety matters

Choosing building signage materials that comply with relevant building codes in WA is so important. These codes exist to keep the public safe, and it is vital that every signage company does their bit by remaining compliant.

All of the signage materials and processes we use at SSMWA are in line with relevant building regulations. If what you want is not possible, we typically have an alternative product that is safer, and just as effective.

We’re also strict about employing OH&S procedures whenever we’re onsite, whether it’s a public shopping centre, a mine site, airport or a petrol station – we take safety protocol seriously.

If you’d like to know more about our OH&S procedures, please get in touch.

Need building signage?

If you’re looking for exterior building signage, or any other kind of signage for your business, please get in touch. We have a range of signage solutions designed to suit your needs and your budget.

Our signage experts are happy to discuss the best approach for your signage needs – and we can recommend a solution that will look professional, and last for years to come. Head here to talk to us today.