The Thermal Insulation Association of Southern Africa gives best-practice tips on how to specify top-quality insulation products.
Few people are aware that the Thermal Insulation Association of Southern Africa originated from its predecessor TAICASA (which stands for the Thermal and Acoustic Insulation Contractors Association of South Africa). TIASA celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, making it the perfect time to reflect on its roots as well as future opportunities in the industry.
TIASA was formed in 1977 between six of the major insulation contractors at that time in South Africa and it existed until 1993. During this time, it didn’t have any insulation material suppliers, per se, as its members. Those contractors accounted for approximately 70% of the turnover of the insulation contracting industry.
TIASA was established in 1998 as a result of initiatives from the Residential Demand-Side Management (RDSM) Department of Eskom and a broad spectrum of concerned parties from the government, non-government organisations (NGOs) and the industry. The following year, the organisation was incorporated under the umbrella of the body known as the Association of Architectural Aluminium Manufacturers of South Africa (AAAMSA), which became the official administrator of TIASA.
TIASA continues to expand on its primary goal, which is to increase the use of thermal insulation in buildings to reduce energy usage. Insulation installation has become compulsory for certain buildings thanks to the promulgation of the Energy-Efficiency Regulations in November 2011 and the publication of SANS 10400-XA Energy Usage in Buildings.
While these regulations have paved the way for greater compliance, there are still challenges at hand, namely that professionals are choosing to combine different insulation products to come up with cheaper options to comply with SANS 10400-XA Energy Usage in Buildings.
TIASA chairperson, Des Schnetler, says this practice can be very dangerous.
“Insulation products are tested individually to obtain a fire performance classification rating for the specific product used on its own. A fire performance classification rating is then issued in accordance with the requirements of SANS 428. If products are added together during a manufacturing or conversion process, it is referred to as composite bulk insulation in the industry and should be tested as such to obtain a fire performance classification rating,” explains Schnetler, before adding that examples of composite bulk insulation are the lamination of a reflective foil product onto a fibrous bulk insulation product, whether a blanket or a matt or a laminate, onto a rigid board insulation.
The organisation’s Fire Performance Classification Register has become an important tool to assist professionals in the construction industry in this regard.
There is clear guidance on compliance with SANS 10400-XA available. The deemed-to-satisfy requirements in SANS 204 Energy-Efficiency in Buildings provide a table with the minimum recommended thicknesses for compliance without the need to do any calculations. According to TIASA, the following best practices and guidelines will ensure that building occupants are safe and that liability is minimised.
Making sure your building is safe
In order to ensure that insulation products comply with the relevant SABS standard (which includes fire testing), insulation manufacturers go to great lengths and incur great expenses to test their products according to these South African National Standards.
“The supply and installation cost of thermal insulation is marginal in comparison to the total building costs. TIASA herewith appeals to all professionals, when specifying a thermal insulation product, to please apply their minds and to compare the cost of an SABS-tested and approved thermal insulation product to the loss of life and fire losses incurred by insurers in the event of a fire,” concludes Schnetler.
Thermal Insulation Association of Southern Africa (TIASA)
Tel: 011 805 5002