Expanded polystyrene (EPS) isn’t just used for fruit and vegetable packaging, it’s also used in the construction industry. In fact, around 70% of all EPS in Australia is used in construction, with only 30% used for packaging goods.

Energy efficiency

  • EPS is 98% air, meaning it is lightweight to transport, easy to use, non-toxic and doesn’t rot.
  • Rated with 8 A+ credentials according to BRE’s Green Guide to Specification which is a guide to how to make your construction project as environmentally friendly as possible.
  • One of the most efficient forms of thermal insulation on the market and extremely cost effective.
  • It’s also the key to achieving greenhouse gas abatement targets in buildings.

Recycleable

  • EPS is able to be 100% recycled into new polystyrene products.
  • Contact Expanded Polystyrene Australia (EPSA) at www.epsa.org.au for how to recycle any packaging you may have or contact the point of purchase for more information.

The product

  • EPS is regularly used in domestic and commercial construction projects across Australia as an insulation panel.
  • In the Australian construction sector, it is commonly sold as part of an external insulation finishing system or EIFS. This is a multi-layered cladding system designed for building exteriors that commonly involves EPS as the insulation part, clad in another material and finally rendered.
  • Polystyrene products used for construction purposes should be fire-retardant. The polystyrene components must be compliant with Australian Standard AS1366.3.
  • Fire-retardant EPS products are safe and fit for purpose when installed correctly and installed by qualified professionals.
  • EPS building products installed correctly are not an undue fire hazard. They will burn when in contact with a flame, like any other organic building material such as wood, but collapses in on itself and will extinguish when the flame source is removed.
  • Under the National Construction Code, EPS products, including within EIFS systems that have been independently tested and approved for use, can be installed in classes 1 and 10 buildings right across the Country. That is – domestic and commercial dwellings of 1 or 2 storeys.

How big is the industry in Victoria

  • There are around 50 small and medium sized businesses in Victoria involved in the polystyrene sector.
  • The sector generates around $250 million revenue in Victoria annually, with an estimated 1000 people employed across the EPS supply chain. This translates to around $1 billion in revenue nationally with between 4000 and 5000 people directly employed in the sector.

What’s the issue?

  • Following the devastating Lacrosse fire in 2012 and Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, Governments everywhere started looking at how to make the buildings we live and work in, safer.
  • Unfortunately, despite the fact that polystyrene products weren’t involved in either fire, polystyrene products got labelled as a ‘dangerous product’ by the Victorian Government through their Cladding Taskforce. They have been clear with us, that regardless of evidence to the contrary, they intend to progress to a complete ban on EPS products in construction projects in Victoria.
  • The Government are conducting ‘safety audits’ of properties across the State to assess for non-conforming cladding. There remains confusion about who is liable for the cost of this, building owners, builders themselves, building surveyors etc.
  • The Victorian Government have seriously damaged this industry by the restrictions they’ve placed on us. Victorians are now being charged to drastically alter their houses and places of work to comply with new rules that ban polystyrene products.

The facts

  • We have made numerous representations, in person and in writing, to the Minister for Planning, Hon Richard Wynne MP, his department, the Victorian Building Authority and the Cladding Taskforce.
  • We have provided clear and unequivocal evidence that EPS building products (FR-Grade) manufactured to Australian Standards contain a flame-retardant additive that inhibits accidental ignition from small fire sources.
  • Under the National Construction Code, EPS products, including within EIFS systems that have been independently tested and approved for use, can be installed in classes 1 and 10 buildings right across the Country. That is – domestic and commercial dwellings of 1 or 2 storeys.
  • It can be used in classes 2-9 buildings however an application must be made to the Victorian Building Tribunal before it can be used.

DON’T BE FOOLED BY POLITICAL SPIN

If your house or place of work is a class 1 or 10 building, has polystyrene products in the building, has been purchased from an approved manufacturer and installed correctly by a qualified professional, it is compliant, and your property is safe.

There’s a heap of evidence that it’s not a dangerous product to be in buildings, you can find more at www.epsa.org.au

We are fighting these changes. The Government are charging hard-working Victorian’s exorbitant fees to remove products completely unnecessarily.

They haven’t engaged with us along the way or listened to facts and YOU are paying the price.

Join the fight. Go to www.epsa.org.au to help us save you money, jobs and the Victorian building industry.

 

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