The uPVC Window Alliance is pleased to announce the release of an Australian Industry Code of Practice (ICP) and accreditation scheme for the manufacture of uPVC (unplasticised PVC), or vinyl, profiles to be used in windows and doors in Australia.
The purpose of the ICP is to provide greater confidence to specifiers, builders and consumers in the durability of uPVC profiles under Australian climatic conditions and to reduce the concern that uPVC profiles will discolour.
It 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. Although the average total amount of solar irradiation Melbourne experiences annually is similar to that of the south of France (about 5,500 MJ/m2), the intensity per hour of sunshine Melbourne receives (3.33 MJ/m2) is 85% higher than that of southern France (1.8 MJ/m2).
The new ICP for uPVC window and door profiles indicates that accredited profiles have been tested to withstand Australia’s higher UV conditions. It goes beyond the weathering standards typically applied to profiles for other regions such as northern or southern Europe, the US or China.
For example, under the European standard EN12608, the typical radiation exposure used to test profiles is 8000 MJ/m2. This is suitable for windows being used in northern Europe. EN12608 also has a ‘Severe’ climate test for warmer parts of Europe which exposes profiles to 12,000 MJ/m2. The new Australian ICP requires testing to a minimum of 15,000 MJ/m2.
Stringent requirements for accreditation
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.
Look for the mark
Manufacturers of profiles that have been independently verified as meeting the ICP performance requirements may apply for use of a licenced 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, overseen by the ICP Working Group, comprising representatives of suppliers and fabricators of uPVC profile extrusions used for windows and doors in Australian buildings, 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 the Australian Window Standard AS2047 for the whole window unit.
To review the ICP, download a copy here.