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ACM fire ratings in the spotlight at PrintEx 2019 

“It’s your responsibility to ensure you comply with all these new regulations, obtain all the required permits, and choose appropriate materials – for instance, substrates that meet the rules for combustibility and flammability where that is required,” says Michael Punch of the Australian Sign & Graphics Association (ASGA)

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PrintEx 2019 at Sydney Olympic Park will feature a special panel discussion on new fire ratings that are affecting the signage industry, titled Fire Ratings – A Hot Topic for Sign Professionals.

A new Building Construction Code was introduced in May 2019 to limit the spread of fires caused by ACM cladding sheets on the outside of buildings. ACM, commonly used in indoor and outdoor signage applications, has a polyethylene core sandwiched between two thin aluminium panels.

“New regulations designed to make buildings safer apply to a wide variety of signage products, making it vital for sign suppliers not only to be up-to-date with what’s happening, but also to select materials carefully and ensure they are fit for the end purpose, including meeting all regulatory requirements and Australian standards,” says PrintEx organiser Visual Connections.

In February, a class action against Alucobond supplier Halifax Vogel Group (HVG) and its manufacturer 3A Composites was launched, followed in June by one against Fairview Architectural (who do not supply the sign industry) were instigated by legal firm IMF Bentham and William Roberts Lawyers on behalf of apartment owners in Sydney buildings. 

There is help at hand says VisCon, including new resources offered by ASGA and also a specially-convened panel discussion planned for Wednesday 14 August as part of the PrintEx Forum Series. 

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    "Doing our best to support the industry":
                  Michael Punch, GM ASGA

“It’s vital for signage suppliers to understand just what changes have been made to regulations, and how that will impact on both the applications they produce and the substrates and media they use to produce their products,” says ASGA GM Michael Punch. “Failure to do so could potentially leave the sign supplier liable for replacement or rectification should their work be judged non-compliant.”

ASGA recently held a series of information sessions around the country, with more than 200 professionals attending across fives states. The association has since distributed the information from these sessions to its members only, setting up an online resource to provide member businesses with vital information on specific materials and substrates.

“The industry suppliers, of course, are well aware of the challenges and are working to verify the ratings on their products and provide this information to us, so that we can make it available to our members,” Punch says.

“A lot of signage businesses have particular questions about specific materials – for instance, which acrylic substrates are compliant for particular purposes, or whether there are any transparent materials which are fire-rated. The online resource will help them answer those questions."

The session at PrintEx 2019 will be open to all is open to all PrintEx and Visual Impact visitors, free of charge. “It’s the perfect opportunity to gain the information and insight you need,” says Punch. 

Fire Ratings – A Hot Topic for Sign Professionals - at PrintEx19 in Sydney in August will feature experts including regulators, construction and industry specialists. The session will run from 3.30-4.30pm on Wednesday 14 August at the Sydney Showground.

Enforcement of regulations and standards varies from state to state and each project and application has its own particular challenges and requirements, Punch says. “It behoves all sign industry professionals to do their own careful research, ensure they are up to date with all regulations, and to work closely with their substrate supplier, regulators and project management.

“At the end of the day, it’s your responsibility to ensure you comply with all these new regulations, obtain all the required permits, and choose appropriate materials – for instance, substrates that meet the rules for combustibility and flammability where that is required.

“We don’t want to see any sign or display business exposed to unnecessary risk or cost and are doing our best to support the industry through this challenging transition.”

PrintEx will run from 13-16 August at the Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park, and is co-locating with Visual Impact sign, display and wide-format show, and the Label + Packaging Expo. 

To attend the special Forum panel session, register online for PrintEx19 to gain free access to the show, then reserve your place at the sessions of your choice

To find out more about ASGA, go to www.signs.org.au