The Australian Sign & Graphics Association (ASGA) has called a round table session of members and industry suppliers amid growing concerns that new federal building code legislation could have wide-ranging effects on the signage industry. The new code added at least $3,000 to the price of one recent sign job.
'Wide ranging effects':
The new Building Construction Code was introduced last year to limit the spread of fires caused by Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding sheets on the outside of buildings. ACM, a signage staple, has a polyethylene core sandwiched between two thin aluminium panels.
“The target was the cladding industry, but the signage industry has been caught in the net,” says Mick Harrold, chairman of ASGA Victoria and MD of leading Melbourne sign company Visual Exposure. “The effects on our industry are wide ranging and poorly understood. ASGA is setting up a round table discussion and information session for members and others on the latest rules."
ASGA general manager Michael Punch reports an unprecedented response from members wanting to attend next Thursday's meeting in St Kilda, Melbourne.
The event will feature industry experts including guest speaker Bruce Rayment, CEO of supplier HVG Graphics - which carries the popular fire-rated DIBOND range of display ACM - as well as ASGA’s Harrold and representatives from Mulford Plastics, Ball & Doggett and a fire engineering company.
“This is a really hot topic and without wanting to set a lot of fear in people, the information is really important,” says Punch. “The code will have varying challenges for people depending on the size of the projects they do but it’s better to know about it.
| "Varying challenges":
ASGA GM Michael Punch
“It may not impinge on smaller sign businesses putting up stuff around a shopping mall on the ground floor or first level, but what happens if you’re two stories up or higher? That’s what we need clarified.
“It hasn’t really hit the fan across other states yet but they’re pushing it very strongly in Melbourne and are starting to screw a few wrists.
“One of our members who does large signage work around Melbourne says if he’s doing a $50,000 project he has to be very careful to check the signage material he might be putting on. He had to get a fire regulatory company to come in to take a look at a recent job and he’s got to pay $3,000 or $4,000 for that, which is added on the client’s bill, because he can’t take the risk.
“The bigger sign companies in Melbourne must be facing it all the time, or starting to. ‘Now, what is this material? Is it made in China, is it made in Germany, Europe? Is it fireproof? How do we know the substrate is fireproof?’ I guess these are going to be the kind of questions around the table.”
Signage professionals who responded to a Wide Format Online Signs Brains Trust survey this week about ACM exterior cladding were critical of building contractors.
“It's up to the suppliers and importers…all sorts of rubbish is flooding in from places like China, with no controls and sometimes false claims as to quality,” wrote Anon, VIC. “Greedy contractors are substituting cheap panels for specified grades and 'who can tell the difference?' Just don't import the garbage ACM and stick with quality, tested brands.”
Wal Robinson, co-owner of Queensland Signage Solutions, said: “It is the contractor going in cheap to win the tender and the lack of due diligence by the building inspectors that allow unsuitable materials to be used. So it is either poor governance and a ‘who gives a sh*t’ attitude or corruption that allows this to occur. Use proper fire rated material that has been tested to Australian Standards and complies with the proper codes and there will be no problem.”
Anon, WA writes: “That the BUILDING INDUSTRY cannot read & understand a product specification should not be a reason that we in the SIGNAGE INDUSTRY be banned from using an appropriate product. What will be next ... will all cardboard be banned because some builder might clad a house in it?”
Punch expects to organise similar meetings around the country in coming weeks, starting with Sydney, Brisbane and WA.
| Guest speaker: Bruce Rayment,
THE EXTERNAL CLADDING OF BUILDINGS – FIRE PROOFING CHALLENGES
Thursday 28 February • 7:30am – 9:00am
To be held at CRICKET VICTORIA CitiPower Centre
Junction Oval, Lakeside Drive, St. Kilda
Please join us and bring along other staff or colleagues.
Plenty of opportunity to ask questions.
BOOKINGS ARE ESSENTIAL TO HELP WITH BREAKFAST ORDERS!
RSVP: Michael Punch: email@example.com
or 0448 274 211
ASGA has been the representative body for the sign and graphics industry in Australia for more than 40 years. Members include signmakers, sign installers, signwriters, graphic designers, sign educators and apprentices, as well as sign industry suppliers.