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Building Essentials

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The residential building industry is experiencing a surge in activity, so now is a good time to look for high-performance and time-saving products that won’t compromise on style, strength and safety.

Laura Valic


What comes to mind when you think about what makes a residential project successful? Depending on the size of the build, the list is likely to be formidably long if you factor in everything that is involved to achieve a functional design, building approvals and compliance, quality workmanship, site safety and client satisfaction. Working within strict timeframes only adds to the pressure.

After a rocky start to 2020, HIA Economics revealed that detached house approvals increased by 43.7 per cent in the December 2020 quarter, compared to the same time the previous year – an exceptional result given the nature of the pandemic and the effect that it has had on the broader economy. The combined impact of federal and state government housing stimulus is injecting a welcome boost of activity into the residential building sector, but at the same time will add even more pressure on housing professionals to deliver their projects to a high standard – on time and on budget. 

With increased demand on your business, you need to work smarter not harder. By choosing innovative, durable and dual-purpose building products, you’ll be getting off on the right foot, simplifying and improving your processes and onsite efficiencies. Plus, you’ll achieve that all-important tick of approval from your clientele.

DecoClad, a timber-look aluminium cladding, does not require ongoing maintenance and is available in six cladding board designs, with the flexibility to be used horizontally, vertically or diagonally for facades, gable ends and ceilings.

Wow factor

Design plays a big part in the success of a project, and there are numerous products that can help to lift street appeal. But when you’re managing multiple builds in tight timeframes, and the decision is yours to influence, it makes sense to opt for products that combine aesthetic beauty with other building advantages.

DECO Australia’s DecoClad aluminium cladding system gives the exterior of a home a striking appearance with a range of versatile looks, including solid colours, concrete- and rust-look finishes and its popular natural woodgrain finish – DecoWood®. 

‘Our renowned DecoWood finish is made by combining a Super DurableTM powder coating with our advanced sublimation photo imaging technology to realistically replicate the look and feel of natural timber,’ explains Simon Pearson, DECO Architectural Business Manager. ‘It is not a stick-on film, nor is the woodgrain pattern printed onto the surface.’

The timber-look aluminium cladding does not require ongoing maintenance – a benefit appreciated by homeowners – and is available in six cladding board designs, with the flexibility to be used horizontally, vertically or diagonally for facades, gable ends and ceilings.

Builders and trades however will appreciate that DecoClad is lightweight and simple to cut onsite, quick to install and has a patented interlocking design that comes with pre-punched holes for easy fixing to the framework. Since you’re able to remove scaffolding directly after installation, all these benefits add up to cut down on lead times and labour costs.

‘The DECO team are experienced and will always have a solution to a problem,’ Simon says. ‘Installation is never held up – if a builder has a question, they can easily get a sales rep onsite or call our team for answers.’  

DecoClad’s fixing system allows for natural expansion and contraction with changes in temperature, while a marine-grade and UV-resistant powder coat finish provides good durability. According to the company, the cladding system has been tested for non-combustibility and certified to AS1530.1 and 1530.3. It also complies with BAL-FZ specifications when installed with a fire barrier product underneath the cladding.

‘We often say to our customers, “Come up with something creative, and we’ll make it happen”,’ Simon says. ‘While we offer our own range of products and finishes, we are also passionate about finding design and building solutions for our clients.’ 

Australian owned and made in Minto, NSW, DecoClad is available to the building industry nation-wide.

The DecoWood finish is made by combining a Super Durable powder coating with the company's advanced sublimation photo imaging technology to realistically replicate the look and feel of natural timber.
DecoClad aluminium cladding gives the exterior of a home a striking appearance with a range of versatile looks.

Speedy installation

Achieving efficiency during construction often comes down to clever and innovative products that are simple for builders and trades to use when in a time crunch. Pryda’s SpeedTruss™ system offers numerous advantages when at the stage of installing your roof trusses thanks to its similarity to an assembly kit – everything is intended to go together with minimal effort.

Each screw tie-down is computer designed and pre-installed in the truss plant, meaning they’re all in the correct location and fixed, ready to go. The idea behind SpeedTruss is to eliminate the risks of poorly nailing multigrips, or fixing the wrong bracket in the wrong location or with the wrong connectors. 

Adam Dawson, Technical Manager Pryda ANZ, says the system, which is available exclusively through Pryda fabricators, halves the average time required for truss installation.

‘What builders and carpenters love about SpeedTruss is that it often means no more multigrips in low wind regions,’ he says. ‘The time savings are incredible; all while delivering a higher quality build with less chance of rework or call backs.’ 

Critical trusses are automatically installed plumb and straight using Pryda’s unique hinge system. Trades won’t need to skew nails as a temporary fixing, so from the time each truss is tied down it is permanently fixed in place. 

‘This fully engineered solution removes the guesswork of what bracket and what fixing is needed,’ Adam says, adding that the system also gives compliance assurance. ‘It’s great for certifiers because the fabricator’s paperwork clearly shows how each truss has been tied down and how each connection has been engineered, making it fast and simple to verify the trusses are installed correctly.’ 

Even with quick installation, SpeedTruss is a safe option for builders and trades. ‘The brilliant thing about SpeedTruss isn’t just that it’s fast, it’s also safe because it cuts down on working at height and creates a stable working platform from the moment the first couple of trusses are installed.’ 


‘We are one of the few scaffold sales companies selling both scaffold and edge protection material, so we can quote for any specific requirement, and supply a complete component list and easy instructions for erection 
David Tatlow, Global Scaffold Managing Director


Pryda’s SpeedTruss system is an engineered solution that cuts down on the average time required for truss installation, with each screw tie-down pre-installed to ensure all are in the correct location and fixed, ready to go

Safety first

Ensuring safety is taken seriously on job sites is a part of day-to-day business and when your work pipeline gets busier, it’s increasingly important to highlight safety in every area of your processes – not only for the wellbeing of workers, but for smoother project productivity. 

Global Scaffold, a national operator and specialist in steel and aluminium scaffold solutions, offers a range of high-quality equipment for the residential building industry, from fencing and aluminium stairs to A-frame steel scaffold and mobile aluminium towers. 

‘All our product is tested to, and passes, relevant Australian Standards,’ says David Tatlow, Global Scaffold Managing Director, adding that certification is provided so builders and trades can be assured of product compliance.

‘We are one of the few scaffold sales companies selling both scaffold and edge protection material, so we can quote for any specific requirement, and supply a complete component list and easy instructions for erection.’ 

In his experience, David says many builders, and particularly bricklayers, prefer easy-to-use frame building scaffold, while other trades opt for aluminium mobile towers.
‘Subcontractors also use trestles or aluminium planks, which is another area that we specialise in.’

The company’s mobile aluminium towers come in varying widths, from 800mm to 1.3 metres, with a single or double deck that can be moved at intervals of 400mm up or down the frame. These towers also vary in platform heights, from two to nine metres, while extension ladders can be adjusted to meet platform height. 

For smaller jobs or indoor use, mini mobile towers are available, with all product certified to AS/NZS1576.1 and WorkSafe design registration. ‘The most popular platform height tower is four metres as the Australian Standards allow a competent person to erect to this height without needing a scaffold licence,’ David explains.

In light of WorkSafe’s current focus on edge protection, David adds that Global Scaffold has a range of systems to accommodate builders and trades. ‘Whether it’s tile or iron roofs or vertical edges, we have an offering and solution,’ he says. ‘Existing customers are also offered top up requirements at original discount levels.’

DuraGal is a well-known and reputable light galvanised coating for steel pipe and tube products, and has a minimum average galvanised coating of 100g/m2 both inside and out – making it not only strong but durable for a number of corrosion applications.

Maximise durability

Everyone wants to feel confident in their purchasing choices and what they specify to clients. Builders in particular need the assurance that building products will be robust and resilient for years to come, otherwise there is the risk of rectification issues and costs down the track – not to mention the possibility of a reputational hit as well.

When you think of building products such as steel, you would no doubt consider the material to be synonymous with strength and durability. After all, it commonly plays a role in various elements of a building, from your foundations and flooring systems to your framing, columns, roofing or beams. Therefore, given the essential part steel plays in building, you don’t want its strength or durability to be compromised by corrosion.   

To protect steel from the effects of corrosion, steel manufacturers typically use galvanised coatings, which are known to be a tough, long-term solution. But there is more to galvanised steel than you may think. 

In a nut shell, zinc is generally applied to steel during the galvanising process (with the zinc serving as a sacrificial coating since it will corrode before the steel). This may be accomplished in a number of different ways, for example, hot dip galvanising (HDG), zinc (thermal) spraying or electrogalvanising.

According to Arun Syam, Business Development Manager at Austube Mills (part of Infrabuild), these methods produce different thickness levels and therefore give your steel different life spans.

‘It is well known and scientifically established that for metallic coatings the zinc thickness is proportional to service life,’ he says. ‘Specifically, double the thickness and the service life is doubled in corrosive environments.’

This is noted in AS/NZS2312.2 ‘Guide to the protection of structural steel against atmospheric corrosion by the use of protective coatings, Part 2: Hot dip galvanising’ (see figure 1).

Arun says that there is a market misconception that all galvanised steel is the same, when in fact electrogalvanising – while providing some corrosion protection – has a thinner coating to HDG and is therefore not as rust resistant.

DuraGal®, a well-known and reputable light galvanised coating for steel pipe and tube products that uses the HDG process, has a minimum average galvanised coating of 100g/m2 both inside and out. This makes it not only strong but durable for Australian conditions in a number of corrosion applications as defined in Table 6.2 of AS/NZS2312.2 (except highly corrosive environments such as areas affected by breaking surf, immersed in corrosive soils, etc). The DuraGal tubular products you may see in a house, which are available nation-wide from Austube Mills through more than 200 distribution partners, include products used in flooring systems or house stumps, jambing studs, roof and verandah beams or verandah posts, patios, pergolas, sheds, garages, columns, trusses and fencing.   

‘DuraGal has twice the protection and coating life of standard electrogalvanising,’ Arun says. ‘Some products offer less than half the zinc coating thickness of DuraGal, so builders and trades should be aware of the thickness levels of the galvanised products they purchase. Not all gal is DuraGal.’

Austube Mills has provided innovative steel solutions for Australian designs and conditions for more than 80 years, with all products third-party certified through ACRS to meet Australian Standards. 

This article was compiled with contributions from DECO, Pryda, Global Scaffold and Austube Mills.

Essential industry guides

HIA offers members a range of technical information sheets, guides and other resources to keep industry up to date on topics from non-conforming building products to standards and regulations. These resources can help you to better understand building requirements under the National Construction Code and relevant Australian Standards, as well as understand your role on compliance, and what to look for in your building products. For further reading, see our coverage on how exposure to the elements can affect the compliance and life span of buildings when using the wrong product or material.

Access HIA information sheets here.