Vinyl Council member, Plustec Pty Ltd, based in NSW, has become the first uPVC profile supplier to achieve accreditation under the country’s Industry Code of Practice (ICP) for vinyl profiles used in windows and doors in Australia. The company is also one of only two companies that extrude uPVC window profiles locally.
Developed by the Vinyl Council of Australia, the uPVC Window Alliance’s initiative is designed to provide greater confidence to specifiers, builders and consumers in the durability of uPVC profiles under Australian climatic conditions and to reduce concern that uPVC profiles may discolour under high UV conditions.
The ICP sets specific composition, weathering resistance, colour and strength requirements for extruded uPVC profiles for use in windows and doors in Australian buildings. Assessments of profile performance to the ICP requirements are made by third party accredited testing laboratories and require physical exposure of the profiles to one of the highest UV radiation exposure standards for these products in the world. This means that purchasers of Australian-made u-PVC window and doors holding this new accreditation can be confident that the products have been tested to withstand Australia’s higher UV conditions.
Sophi MacMillan, Chief Executive of the Vinyl Council of Australia comments: “Through our uPVC Window Alliance initiative, all local uPVC profile suppliers supplying products in Australia who achieve this trade mark have demonstrated that their products can reliably meet the highest standards required, both to meet our more extreme climatic conditions and those expected by prospective purchasers.
“Consumers in Australia buying uPVC windows expect, quite rightly, that these can cope with a harsher climate. That’s why we have introduced the new testing requirements and trade mark with stringent compliance requirements to provide customers with greater confidence in the durability of uPVC products in Australian climatic conditions.
“We not only encourage people to choose uPVC windows for quality high performance windows, we encourage them to ask for this mark.”
Tracy Wakefield, Managing Director of Plustec comments: “As a small company, we are extremely proud of this ‘trailblazing’ achievement that has taken considerable time to go through the rigorous testing regimes. It is exciting that the first accreditation is for an Australian-made product.
“We designed our profile specifically for the Australian market and the ICP accreditation endorses our efforts to make a profile specifically suited to Australia’s needs. It makes our effort worthwhile!”
The use of uPVC (unplasticised PVC, or vinyl-framed) double-glazed windows has been growing in Australia as they not only perform well in keeping cold out of a building and heat within; they also work to keep summer heat out and the cool air inside.
Well-established in Europe, the UK and US, where they are the dominant window type used, a key benefit of uPVC high performance windows is their ability to balance optimisation of heating and cooling loads with consumers’ desire for greater natural light.
The excellent thermal insulation of the uPVC frames combined with insulated glass units and airtight sealing mean less energy is needed to maintain an ambient temperature within the home, which is reflected in cost savings, lower energy bills and improved levels of comfort. This makes them an ideal energy-efficient and cost-effective solution for Australian homes where homeowners like large areas of glazing and plenty of natural light.
Given that Australia has the highest solar radiation per square metre of land of any continent, it is important that products used in Australian buildings are formulated and designed for the climate. The ICP for uPVC window and door profiles is much higher than even the ‘Severe’ climate test for warmer parts of southern Europe, the US or China.
Suppliers seeking ICP accreditation must have their profiles independently tested near Townsville, Queensland, Australia’s only natural outdoor weather resistance testing laboratory. The ICP also covers polymer quality and restrictions on legacy additives, while allowing recycled PVC to permitted levels.
Sophi adds: “Congratulations to Plustec on being our first fully accredited supplier of uPVC profiles for the Australia market. We look forward to welcoming other profile suppliers seeking to achieve the mark and, in turn, offering weathering resistance confidence to their customers here.”