Companies fined over $400,000 for making false building envelope claims

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Two companies, one of which is a building certification company in Australia, have been fined for making false claims about a building envelope product.

The Commerce Commission has fined Masons Plastabrick Limited $240,000 and CertMark International Pty Limited (CertMark) $210,000 for this breach.

Masons Plastabrick Ltd’s building wrap product did not live up to what it was advertised for, according to the Commerce Commission. (file photo)
Photo: Plastabrick Masons Ltd.

The commission said Masons’ building envelope product, marketed as FR1 or Barricade Plus, was advertised as suitable as an air barrier and meeting the air resistance standard, while it did not was not.

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CertMark was responsible for issuing a CodeMark certification in 2015 stating that the product was suitable as an air barrier when it was not.

The building envelope is usually attached between the framing and the sheathing of buildings to provide a barrier against moisture entering a building.

This is the first time the Commerce Commission has taken action against a certifier under the CodeMark scheme, which is governed by the Building Act 2004 and the Product Certification Regulations 2008.

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Masons pleaded guilty to six counts and CertMark pleaded guilty to one count related to an appraisal brief he produced and published.

Commission chair Anna Rawlings said misrepresentations about building products were a priority area for the commission because of the serious harm they could do to homeowners.

“Suppliers and manufacturers should only make accurate claims about their building products. Builders and owners should be able to confidently rely on what suppliers and manufacturers of building products tell them and on the appropriate certification under the CodeMark program.

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“Certifiers like CertMark play a vital role in the building compliance system and have a responsibility to verify the accuracy of product declarations relevant to their work.”

Masons is committed to rectifying any installed product that may be affected.

In July 2019, CertMark was suspended from acting as a product certification body by JAS-ANZ for failing to meet its accreditation requirements. CertMark subsequently withdrew from the CodeMark Scheme. CertMark continues to undertake CodeMark certification in Australia and provides exclusive construction product certificates in New Zealand.

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