Insulation and new building legislations – what to expect

by Darren
Insulation and new building

The Thermal Insulation Association of Southern Africa celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.


This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Thermal Insulation Association of Southern Africa (TIASA). The organisation was established on 13 July 1999 as a result of a number of parties – including the Residential Demand Side Management (RDSM) Department of Eskom, the government, non-government organisations (NGOs) and the industry, coming together to find long-term sustainability solutions.

Over the past 15 years, TIASA has become a recognised force in the industry. This NGO’s goal is the dissemination of information to professionals to ensure compliance with the National Building Regulations. It is dedicated to serving its members, professionals and the building construction industry at large and it is administered by the AAAMSA Group.

TIASA also assists in the development of South African National Standards and National Energy-Efficiency Measures in relation to residential and commercial building fabric thermal performance measures, which contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

“TIASA’s continued presence and leadership role has become more vital than ever,” says TIASA chairlady, Des Schnetler, before explaining how the organisation’s Fire Performance Classification Register helps professionals in the construction industry.

“This tool enables professionals to specify products that are safe to be used in buildings. Not only is fire performance important, but very few professionals realise that replaceable products must last for at least 15 years in accordance with the requirements of the application of the National Building Regulations/SANS 10400 Part B. In order to achieve this durability, professionals can use a product that has been tested in accordance with the relevant SABS product standard or has the SABS Mark of Approval,” says Schnetler.

Only 5% of new buildings comply with EE regulations
The Energy-Efficiency Regulations were promulgated in November 2011, yet only 5% of all new buildings comply with these regulations. Schnetler comments that Cape Town and Durban are currently leading the way with regards to designing and creating buildings that comply with energy-efficiency regulations.

“The owner of the building is ultimately responsible for the energy performance of the building. It is now mandatory to specify thermal insulation in certain building occupancy classes in accordance with Regulation XA1 and XA3,” adds Schnetler.

New regulations in the future
The publication of the draft South African standard for the energy performance certificate for buildings is imminent and it will also become legislation in the near future. The design of the building is the architect’s responsibility and hopefully their professional indemnity (PI) insurance will be sufficient to cover any actions taken by the building owner should the design not perform as required.

“These changes in the industry will force industry professionals to specify high-quality products and materials. This will also ensure that projects are seen through from specification to the installation,” adds Schnetler.

Advice to architects on selecting products

TIASA members incur added expenses to ensure that their products are tested and in compliance with the relevant SABS product standard, which includes amongst others fire testing, durability and thermal efficiency, ensuring that the products used in buildings are safe in the event of a fire and are in compliance with the application of the National Building Regulations SANS 10400.

“Safety is the number one priority. Professionals should not compromise the Life Safety Code by proposing cheaper insulation products that disregard fire safety. Similarly specifying sub-standard products as a cheaper alternative exposes the professional to non-compliance with the required energy-efficiency performance requirements,” explains Schnetler.

Section 61 of the Consumer Protection Act states that any producer, distributor or supplier of goods is strictly liable for any damage caused wholly or partly as a consequence of a product failure, defect or hazard in said goods or as a result of inadequate instructions or warnings provided to the consumer pertaining to any hazard. In light of this act, a professional could be liable for a person’s death or injury, a loss or damage to property, or an economic loss if the insulation does not perform as required. The aforementioned includes the architect, specifying the product and the building inspector signing off the project.


How to select the correct thermal insulation
When selecting insulation, ensure that the material:
• Has been tested and is in compliance with the relevant South African National Standard, i.e. product standard requirements applicable to the relevant product.
• Is appropriate for the intended occupancy class in accordance with SANS 10400 Part A.
• Complies with the fire safety requirements in SANS 10400 Part T and SANS 428.
• Complies with the recommended R-value for the relevant climatic zones in accordance with SANS 10400 Part XA and SANS 204.

Thermal Insulation Association of Southern Africa (TIASA)
Tel: 011 805 5002
Email: aaamsa@iafrica.com
Website: www.tiasa.org.za

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