An Australian Industry Code of Practice (ICP) and accreditation scheme for uPVC (vinyl) profiles to be used in windows and doors has been released.
uPVC (unplasticised PVC) windows are known around the world for being durable, low maintenance, thermally efficient products. However, one of the most common queries from specifiers, builders and consumers about uPVC windows in Australia is whether the profiles will discolour because of high UV conditions here in Australia.
Launched by the uPVC Window Alliance Industry Code of Practice – an initiative of the Vinyl Council of Australia – the purpose of the ICP is to provide greater confidence in the durability of uPVC profiles under Australian climatic conditions and to reduce the concern that uPVC profiles will discolour.
The ICP sets specific composition, weathering resistance, colour and strength requirements for extruded uPVC profiles for use in windows and doors in Australian buildings.
Australia has the highest solar radiation per square metre of land of any continent. It is therefore important that products used in Australian buildings are formulated and designed for this country’s climate.
Accreditation under the new ICP indicates that profiles have been independently tested to withstand Australia’s higher UV conditions. The new Australian ICP requires testing to a minimum radiation exposure of 15,000 MJ/m2. It goes beyond the weathering standards typically applied to profiles for other regions such as northern or southern Europe, the US or China.
To achieve accreditation under the ICP, suppliers must have their profiles independently tested at Australia’s only natural outdoor weather resistance testing laboratory at a high irradiation site near Townsville, Queensland. Stringent maximum colour change parameters must be met by exposed profiles as well as impact strength tests.
The ICP also includes provisions related to the polymer quality and restrictions on the use of legacy additive compounds containing lead or cadmium. The use of recycled PVC in profiles is permitted providing the ICP requirements are still met.
Manufacturers of profiles that have been independently verified as meeting the ICP performance requirements may apply for licensed use of the ICP accreditation mark in relation to the compliant profiles. This mark provides a simple way for specifiers, builders and customers to identify accredited uPVC profiles, tested for Australia’s extreme climate.
The release of this ICP follows over two years of consultation and development with stakeholders in the sector in Australia and overseas, overseen by the ICP Working Group comprising representatives of suppliers of uPVC profile extrusions used for windows and doors in Australian buildings, window fabricators as well as representatives of the Australian Windows Association and the Vinyl Council of Australia.
The intention is for the ICP to be implemented in addition to window manufacturers meeting the requirements of theAustralian Window Standard AS2047 for the whole window unit.