Current at: 25 July 2010
Checking your insulation: What to look for and ask for (Nat)
As a result of the cancellation of the Federal Government’s Home Insulation Program, there is currently a large amount of insulation products now available in Australia, a percentage of which includes imported products.
Over the next few months, builders may consider using an insulation product that you have not previously used. It is important for builders to be aware of the requirements for insulation under the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and under any future Government rebate programs to ensure that it complies with relevant Australian Standards for quality, performance and labelling.
These rules apply to:
- New home construction (under the BCA)
- Renovations to existing homes (under the BCA)
- Existing homes (under the Home Insulation Program & any future program)
Under the BCA and AS/NZS4859.1 insulation products must include ALL of the following information on the outside label:
- Product name
- Description of contents
- Name and address of manufacturer
- Batch identification or other traceability information
- Safety instructions – special reference must be made to avoiding problems with electrical cables
- The statement ‘This pack complies with AS/NZS 4859.1 for a net weight of xx kg, a total area of yy m2 and a mean thickness of zz mm’ where xx, yy and zz appear on a valid and current report of measurement of thermal resistance in accordance with this Standard
- Number of pieces
- Nominal total area (m2)
- Nominal length and width of each piece
- Nominal stabilized thickness
- A statement of the time after installation to achieve nominal stabilized thickness and R-value
- A statement ‘the performance of this product may be reduced if stored for too long in its compression packaging’
- A statement ‘the total R value depends on installation and may be greater than or less than the R value of the product’
- Declared material R-value
Under the BCA and the Home Insulation Program, insulation needs to perform at the correct R-value for the location and design of the home.
For new home construction and renovations, the performance will be specified in the building plans and specification and must meet the minimum requirements under the BCA for that State or Territory.
Under the Home Insulation Program, the insulation needed to meet a minimum R-value of either R3.0 or R3.5, again depending on the location of the house.
The R-value must be shown on the label of the product. If it is not clear, then you should consider using an alternative product.
Another simple indicator of whether the product meets this R-value is the thickness. For example an R3.5 batt is generally at least 170mm in thickness.
To be compliant with AS/NZS4859.1 the insulation needs to have been tested and should have an appropriate test report to prove the results. If a supplier cannot provide a copy of this report, then you should consider whether an alternative product should be used.
Further assurance can be provided by asking for a manufacturer’s Warranty - it’s your guarantee of quality and performance, and reputable insulation suppliers can provide you with this.
Members should speak with your supplier to find out more on the insulation products you are using to ensure they meet the BCA and AS/NZS4859.1 requirements.
The correct installation of insulation materials is a key aspect in ensuring the products perform at their intended level.
Simple things like the width of the batt, cutting, over filling, under filling or using the product in the wrong location can have a significant impact on performance. The ICANZ Guide to Installing Insulation provides a range of details on how to correctly install insulation.
A copy of the Guide is free online at ICANZ :: Insulation Handbook
For further information HIA members can contact HIA’s Building Services staff on 1300 650 620 or
If you would like to become a HIA member, contact 1300 650 620 or
The above is intended to provide general information in summary form. The contents do not constitute specific advice and should not be relied upon as such. Formal specific advice should be sought by members with respect to particular matters before taking action.