Building Technical Update: Ensure reflective insulation is installed correctly

Thursday, 30 June 2016

The VBA's Proactive Inspection Program has identified a number of sites where the reflective insulation installed to the walls of homes does not comply with the Building Code of Australia and the energy report.

Proactive team members have seen reflective foil that is:

  • Not adequately lapped (minimum 150mm), or if less than 150mm lap, not taped at the join
  • Not covering the entire wall and not forming a continuous barrier with the ceiling insulation
  • Installed too loosely, so that any bulk insulation in the wall cavity would encroach into the required minimum 25mm brick cavity
  • Damaged and torn due to misuse and poor construction techniques.

What should be done?

Trades installing insulation, including reflective foil, should install it in a proper and workmanlike manner that ensures the installation meets the manufacturer's specifications, relevant Australian Standards and the energy report. This is achieved by adequately lapping and taping joins, covering the entire wall surface, and ensuring insulation forms a continuous barrier with ceiling insulation.

Builders and/or site supervisors should be assessing the building throughout construction so work done does not damage or otherwise compromise the building fabric thermal insulation requirements for the project.

Remember: do not install insulation materials until the frame inspection has been approved by the relevant building surveyor, as this may require removal of the insulation materials.

What can practitioners do?

Practitioners should refer to the building permit documentation, energy report and manufacturer's specifications for information relating to the insulation requirements for the project.

Insulation materials and/or R-values should not be substituted unless approved by the building surveyor.

Finally, ensure work performed by other trades is done in a manner that does not damage or compromise the building fabric thermal insulation requirements.

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