Network Building Supplies

What are fire rated boundary walls in building construction?

The rise in the number of multi-residential developments in Australia has come with a greater responsibility for developers, architects and builders to apply technical and design solutions that will ensure everyone’s safety.

Since the Building Code of Australia requires a high standard of fire performance from walls and ceilings, fire-rated boundary walls have been necessary for both compliance measures and to provide adequate fire protection for the occupants of any building.

To familiarise yourself with the importance of fire-rated boundary walls, here is a quick guide with all the necessary information you need.

What are fire rated boundary walls?

To contain and prevent fires from spreading, fire-rated boundary walls are required for buildings which are adjacently constructed – either within a minimum distance from the buildings’ boundary or on the boundary itself.

If you are personally planning to develop your own home or building, whether for commercial or residential use, it is advisable to speak first to your local council about the necessary fire rating. They can ensure you have all the information you require beforehand.

For further safety purposes, it’s also best to ask your architect and builder for their advice or expectations around the need to fire rate your building’s boundary walls.

Why are fire rated boundary walls important?

The Building Code of Australia (BCA), a performance-based code published by the Australian Building Codes Board, provides fire performance requirements for the construction of buildings in Australia.

Part 3.7 of BCA Volume 2 covers the requirements for fire safety of Class 1 and 10 buildings, which are typically standalone single dwellings or townhouses, row houses or terraces.

On the other hand, all other building classes including multi-residential and commercial buildings are tackled in the BCA Volume 1 which refers to the following requirements:

  • Systems must provide protection from the spread of fire (wherever required by the building class and/or boundary setback)
  • Provide an FRL of not less than 30/–/–
  • Be of non-combustible construction if type A & type B construction as defined by the BCA is required. Type C construction may be combustible i.e. timber framing
  • Systems providing vertical or lateral support to other fire-rated elements must have equivalent or greater FRL
  • Systems must meet BCA C1 – fire resistance and stability
  • Systems must meet BCA C2 – compartmentalisation and separation
  • Systems must meet BCA C3 – protection of openings

For residential buildings located in bushfire areas, AS 3959-2009 Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas emphasise these requirements:

  • Applicable to class 1 & class 10 buildings in designated bushfire prone areas
  • Materials and systems to meet Australian Standard and State Bushfire Authority construction and performance requirements
  • BAL (Bushfire Attack Level) classification range is applied to each area of:
    • BAL-Low
    • BAL 12.5
    • BAL 19
    • BAL 29
    • BAL 40
    • BAL-FZ (flame zone)

What does this all mean?

An understanding of these fire safety regulations enables you to understand the need to integrate fire rated boundary walls at the early design stage of your building to prevent non-compliance and potential danger in the future.

As such, installing fire-rated boundary walls in buildings is important because they allow occupants to safeguard themselves from injury by avoiding the spread of fire. These walls also ensure that other properties are protected from structural and physical damage caused by fire.

How to fire rate boundary walls

Construction manufacturers have a wide range of fire-rated solutions that equip builders with the ability to comply with BCA requirements – such as CSR’s Gyprock.

In fact, in terms of Class 1 and 10 buildings, Gyprock has developed Boundary Wall Systems suitable for use where a building is within 900m of the allotment boundary or within 1800m of a residence on an adjacent allotment.

Gyprock also offers fire performance solutions like StrataWall™, Shaft Wall, Cinema Wall and SecurityWall™ for Class 2 to 9 buildings that include multi-residential and commercial developments.

Since Gyprock Boundary Wall Systems provide a variety of lining, insulation and accessory options, you can consult the Red Book which explains the different fire ratings appropriate for all wall systems.

What are Gyprock Fire Rated Wall Systems?

The Gyprock range of fire-resistant plasterboard includes Fyrchek™, Fyrchek™ MR, EC08™ Impact, EC08™ Impact MR and EC08™ Complete that meet the 60/60/60 FRL fire performance required by the BCA.

Each of these products can be used to enhance the fire performance of attached and detached dwellings. They also offer further protection to the walls and ceilings of kitchens, school laboratories and specialist applications where there’s a greater risk of fire occurring.

Gyprock Boundary Wall Systems provide these advantages:

  • Enable space efficiency that maximises internal space and land use
  • Can be built without access from the adjoining property
  • Can evolve into intertenancy walls with class-leading BCA compliant acoustic performance
  • Allow stage financing and sales with individual titles

Want more information about fire-rated boundary walls?

If you want to be compliant and provide protection in the event of a fire, we recommend fire rated boundary walls.

Network Building Supplies offers a complete stock of CSR Gyprock Fire Rated Wall Systems to provide you with the right fire rated options to meet the requirements of the BCA.

Contact us today on (02) 8316 5000 to learn more about fire-rated boundary walls.

Our team of building supplies and architectural experts are happy to help.

Why are warranties important when choosing renders, paints and substrates?

Selecting the right materials is an important step when renovating or building.

Today, you have access to a list of brands, colours and styles. While the usual focus is on the types of renders, paints and substrates you need to create the desired aspect and performance, there is this one criterion you mustn’t leave out when choosing your building products – and that’s the warranty.

The availability of warranties is an important factor that provides long-term assurance for your project.

To understand warranties and the advantages of having a warranted system, here is a complete guide for you.

What is a warranted system?

A product’s warranty is a manufacturer’s way of guaranteeing that their product will perform well and as promised. A warranted system is simply a system that is covered by a warranty.

Through stated terms and conditions, a warranty often stipulates that a repair or an exchange will be provided in the event that the product system fails to function properly as intended. In other words, it protects builders and owners against certain problems over time.

A warranted system usually works in two ways:

  • First, all substrates, renders, paints and other materials you use must be applied according to the specification and techniques provided by the manufacturer.
  • Second, it allows users to claim the warranty if an issue comes up with the products used – given, of course, that the guidelines provided were followed.

It is important to take note that both warranties and warranted systems have varying duration and coverage. They might exclude certain kinds of defects, damages and misuse. So, it’s important to check exactly what conditions your warranty includes and doesn’t include.

Rockcote wall

What are the benefits of a warranted system?

By delivering a sense of security, a warranted system ensures renders, paints and substrates are of high quality and capable of lasting longer compared to products that do not offer any warranty.

In addition to this, a comprehensive Australian warranty also can offer the following benefits:

  • Peace of mind knowing that the manufacturer and the products you need can be trusted.
  • It is backed by large and legitimate local companies that will deliver on their promise.
  • Renders, paints and substrates covered by a warranted system are tailored to survive in Australia’s harsh conditions.
  • A warranted system, like the one Rockcote provides, can cover you for an extended time period of 15 years.

Just make sure to choose the right warranted system that will allow you to get the most out of your chosen building products.

How to choose a warranted system?

Here are tips when choosing a warranted system:

  1. Check the terms and conditions of a warranted system and take note of the conditions that may void your warranty.
  2. Consider factors like location, environment and construction type (residential, commercial or high rise) to determine the most suitable warranted system for your project.
  3. Ensure that you’re capable of adhering to the warranted system’s maintenance guidelines to remain eligible for the warranty.
  4. To easily claim if you need to, choose a warranted system provided by a reputable Australian company like Rockcote.

For your render and building needs, Rockcote offers the following warranted systems:

warranty table comparison

Is a system with a reliable warranty worth the extra cost? 

Definitely, yes!

While a warranted system may be more expensive up front, it’s definitely worth the investment as it guarantees the performance of the materials for years.

When cheaper products fail, it can be extremely costly and difficult to repair, not to mention stressful and inconvenient. A warranty provides peace of mind knowing that the system is backed by quality and will be there should you need to claim it.

Want to know more about warranted systems?

Network Building Supplies has a complete range of Rockcote products to provide you with warrantied paints, renders and substrates.

If you need further guidance in choosing the right system with a reliable warranty, we can provide expert advice in handling all your construction and rendering requirements.

Contact us today on (02) 8316 5000 and we can start discussing your needs.

Our team of building supplies and architectural experts will be happy to help.

Choosing the right colour for lightweight wall systems

Image credit: Perrett Constructions

Painting the facades of homes or building exteriors is often associated with aesthetics to improve the property’s appearance, create an ambience or set a colour scheme.

But paint isn’t only used to make walls look appealing. Your chosen paint colour also has a big impact on your building’s thermal protection and heat regulation characteristics too.

Certain shades should be used depending on the wall systems and substrates being  installed, especially when it comes to lightweight walls.

To help choose the right colour for your lightweight wall systems, here is some information and factors you must consider.

What must be considered for colour selections over various substrates?

Considering your building’s light exposure and your wall’s material is important when choosing suitable colours.

When a surface is subjected to long periods of light, the substrate of your building often experiences thermal expansion. This thermal expansion can affect how much your wall systems absorb heat and resist  damage. Wall systems also have varying insulation capabilities depending on what they’re made of.

For example, a brick wall has a high reliance to heat due to the material’s properties. However, lightweight wall systems such as blue board, polystyrene or Dincel cannot absorb and store great amounts of heat,  which is then released quickly inside your building and can even damage the  surface.

This is where colour choice is important – because different shades impact how much heat your walls underneath are exposed to.

Each paint colour absorbs and reflects light energy differently, which is why picking one that suits the substrate of your wall and the lighting conditions is often a real challenge.

Using LRV as a measurement can assist you in making informed decisions around  colour.

What is Light Reflectance Value (LRV)?

Light Reflectance Value (LRV) measures the percentage of light reflected by a certain paint colour on a surface. By working on a scale that ranges from 0% to  100%, LRV is used to determine how dark or light a paint colour will appear.

You must take LRV rating into consideration, as paint colours significantly influence a space, depending on the natural and artificial light it gets, as well as the heat it reflects and absorbs.

For example, paint colours which have low LRV tend to be dark and often absorb a lot of light and heat. Meanwhile, paint with a higher LRV is often lighter in colour and works by reflecting more light and heat.

So, what is the right colour for Lightweight Wall Systems?

Lightweight wall systems are not very effective in absorbing and storing amounts of heat due to the nature of the material.

This makes them prone to the impact of thermal expansion which can cause wall cracking, building damage and other hassles that can void your warranty.

Because of this, lightweight wall systems often require an LRV of over 40. Why?

  • Due to their properties, using paint colours with higher LRV protects lightweight wall substrates from warping, bubbling and flaking.
  • Utilising paints with LRV of over 40 also help with lighting or temperature regulation. These light paint colours soak, reflect and radiate just the necessary amount of heat for internal comfort.

Rockcote, a multi-award-winning paint and renders brand, don’t recommend the use of colours with an LRV of less than 40% over polystyrene cladding systems or fibre cement cladding.

What should you know about LRV paint choice?

Since lightweight wall systems are more vulnerable and susceptible to external factors such as heat and light, using paint colours with a higher LRV will help protect against potential thermal movement and damage.

Rockcote has different coating systems depending on the adjoining substrates because they understand how lightweight wall systems vary in their capacity to reduce heat variance and thermal stress.

To prevent property occupants from suffering due to cracking of finishes, breaking of joins in construction and increased internal impact of varying external temperatures, Rockcote has provided a list of LRV limitations on some common substrates:

Substrate LRV Limitations? LRV Minimum*
AAC Panel No
AFS Logicwall Yes 25%
Blueboard Fibre Cement Sheeting Yes 40%
Brick & Block No
Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Panels or Blocks Yes 40%
Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) Yes 40%
Magnesium Board (MGO) Yes 40%
Off-Form Concrete No
Pre-Meshed EPS Yes 40%
Ritek XL Yes 25%
Tilt-Up Pre-Cast Panel

Remembering these tips will help you make more informed decisions that will not only improve your building’s appearance but will also provide greater thermal protection and heat regulation.

Want more information about Lightweight Wall Systems and paint choice?

Network Building Supplies has a complete stock of Rockcote products to provide you with the right paint and render solutions for your wall specifications.

If you need further guidance in picking the right substrate and paint colour for your wall systems, we can provide our expert advice in handling all your LRV and wall systems requirements.

Contact us today on (02) 8316 5000 and we can discuss your needs.

Our team of building supplies and architectural experts are always happy to help.

Why is low VOC paint the better option to use?

With people becoming more conscious about their health and the environment, eco-friendly products are gaining huge traction today.

Adding to this list of sustainable and non-harmful hardware products is the low VOC paint that many brands have started adopting.

But what is low VOC paint? Is it a better alternative than the more traditional paint formulas?

To understand the difference, here is everything you need to know about low VOC paint and why it may be worth the switch.

What are VOCs?

VOC means Volatile Organic Compound and is a substance commonly found in building materials such as paints and coatings.

These carbon-containing VOCs help normal paints dry well and avoid streaking. They are also responsible for improving the quality of coating applications.

However, the use of products with VOCs also has a downside.

VOCs tend to release harmful gases that can cause both health and environmental problems. In fact, that powerful paint smell indicates that these chemicals are present and reducing the air quality you’re breathing – especially when used indoors.

Because people are starting to look for products that have less impact on their health and the environment, painters, contractors and builders are searching for alternatives that meet these expectations without compromising performance.

This is why low VOC paint is quickly becoming a preferred paint option.

What is low VOC paint?

Low VOC paint, as the name implies, has less VOCs compared to regular paints. This means it gives off far less odour and potentially harmful gas.

However, due to the reduced VOCs, low VOC paint also tends to dry quicker – resulting in slightly rougher surfaces because the paint has less time to “flow-out”.
To compensate for this and still achieve a quality finish, you must alter your application method slightly.

Here are some simple ways to ensure you’ll still achieve the professional finish you’re aiming for while using a low VOC paint.

What are the tips when using low VOC paint?

Low VOC paint has a different drying property when compared to regular paints – that’s why it’s important to know the best techniques and equipment to use when applying it.

Here are our suggestions:

  • Always stir the low VOC paint well.
  • The use of synthetic rollers is recommended because they create a more uniform and smoother appearance.
  • Worn roller sleeves should be replaced regularly to maintain uniform thickness and consistent appearance.
  • Using low VOC paint means you must work quickly. After 2-3 full drops of paint are applied, the wet paint must be “backrolled” immediately to keep the finish smooth.
  • When using brushes, synthetic bristles are best for latex and water-based low VOC formulas. Natural bristles, on the other hand, are more appropriate for oil-based low VOC paints.
  • When using low VOC paint, take into consideration its ‘spread rate’ of up to 16sqm per litre. This coverage will be lower on rust and absorbent surfaces.
  • It is advisable that you touch dry in 30 minutes, then recoat in 2 hours at 25°C. For cooler or humid conditions, you must allow 4 hours instead of just 2.
  • Placing a humidifier in the room can help in slowing down the dry time of low VOC paint when working in warm and dry conditions.

These simple steps will allow you to use low VOC paint with all the health and environmental benefits, while still ensuring each surface has a nice finish.

What makes VOC paint a better option when painting?

High VOC levels are detrimental to indoor air quality and the health of building occupants.
This is why low VOC paint is a good choice, especially in more sensitive environments such as family homes, schools, nursing homes and hospitals.

As an example: The Fiona Stanley Hospital is Western Australia’s largest single building project and the flagship of the state’s health reform program.

To optimise medicine and clinical care, the project team behind the Fiona Stanley Hospital carried out a ground-breaking hospital design by incorporating the latest medical technology and focusing on creating healthy interior environments.

This is why they chose low VOC paint.

Taubmans® Pure Performance™ low VOC interior paint played a significant part in ensuring that every inhabitant or visitor of the healthcare facility wouldn’t suffer from the harmful smell and presence of VOC chemicals – even long after the painting was done.

Jeff Menkens, the principal at Hassell, was pleased with the result, especially when the hospital gained the approval of 2,000 people who came to inspect the hospital before its completion.

Low VOC paint such as Taubmans® Pure Performance™ guarantees you a state-of-the-art coating solution that is not harmful to your health or the environment.

What is Taubmans® Pure Performance™?

Formulated with low VOCs, Taubmans® Pure Performance™ is a water-based paint that can be applied to all interior walls – from doors, ceiling, walls, to prepcoat use.

This low VOC paint is exclusively engineered with Microban® antibacterial protection which fights off mould and mildew. Taubmans® Pure Performance™ is the first and only wall and ceiling protection coating of its kind in Australia to incorporate and use this technology.

Taubmans® Pure Performance™ also features excellent flow properties, superior coverage and exceptional opacity. Interior walls coated with this low VOC paint are scuff resistant, highly washable and can be tinted in a wide range of colours.

Suitable for Green Building Council projects and sensitive environments, Taubmans® Pure Performance™ is even approved by the National Asthma Council Australia’s Sensitive Choice® program. It also meets the APAS 0260-3 and 0215-3 Standard from the Department of Housing.

Want more information about low VOC paint?

If you want to achieve quality performance from paint products that also meet your environmental and health requirements, we recommend low VOC paint.

Because just like you, safety and health are our top priorities.

With Taubmans® Pure Performance™, we can provide you with the right solution.

To learn more about low VOC paint, contact us today on (02) 8316 5000 or send us a message.

Our team of building supplies and architectural experts will be happy to help.

Rockcote Smooth Set – The key to the industrial concrete finish you’re seeing everywhere

The industrial aesthetic has gained immense popularity over the past few years; the likes of trendy cafés and apartment lofts have adopted this style to create rustic, yet cool and composed environments for living and relaxing.

Rockcote Smooth Set Close-up

The most prevalent aspect of obtaining the industrial look is the polished concrete finish

A cost-effective option for both interior and exterior applications, Rockcote Smooth Set is a cement-polymer, powdered compound; when applied to substrates, Smooth Set will achieve the Industrial chic finish that you desire.

Rockcote Smooth Set Exterior Image
Rockcote Smooth Set Exterior – Network Building Supplies

Checkout Rockcote‘s video below for a quick demonstration of applying Smooth Set


Network Building Supplies are a Rockcote supplier, and we also have a large range of render supplies and accessories! We tint our Rockcote render on-site and can provide you with advice on render types with our huge render display.

Any questions regarding Rockcote,  Render or any other products, just get in touch with our customer service team who can supply the information and technical specifications that you require – (02) 8316 5000 or send us a message

Acoustic mount clips? Make sure you’re using the right ones!

Any fan of Channel 9’s ‘The Block’ would be familiar with the term ‘Acoustic Mount Clips’ after the past week’s proceedings. For those not caught up to speed, teammates Kerrie and Spence were faced with the task of replacing a whole suspended ceiling system due to the installation of incorrect Acoustic Ceiling Mounts; in particular, Clips that were not specified by ‘The Block’s’ own Foreman, Dan Reilly.

A recent article published by Domain highlights the dire consequences of not sticking to plan; in Kerrie and Spence’s case, the re-installation of the ceiling system had them temporarily ‘walk’ from the competition.

Situations like this occur all the time in the Construction Industry. Repercussions are just as debilitating as the lost time and labour costs Kerrie and Spence experienced this week.

Rondo STWC Isolation Mount
The specified Rondo STWC Isolation Mount that Kerrie and Spence should  have used

Ensure you’re using the correct Acoustic Mount Clips! Nobody wants to install a suspended ceiling, tear it down, and then reinstall that suspended ceiling again, just ask Kerrie and Spence how that feels.

Any questions about Acoustic Mount Clips, get in touch with our customer service team who can supply the information and technical specifications that you require – (02) 8316 5000 or send us a message

ALPOLIC™/fr approved for use in NSW

The new NSW legislation prohibits the use of Aluminium Composite Panels with a core composition of greater than 30% polyethylene (PE) in any external cladding, external wall and/or façade in buildings of Type A and B Construction as defined in the Building Code of Australia.

Mitsubishi Corporation has lead the way since 2000 by introducing ALPOLIC™/fr, the ONLY ACM product in Australia that has been SOLELY FR since 2000 in the Construction Sector.

Network Building Supplies are proud distributors of ALPOLIC™/fr!

Contact us today on (02) 8316 5000 or send us a message.