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Due to the fact that the climate in Australia differs from state to state, insulation is given what is known as an R Value. This system allows homeowners and builders to determine the amount of insulation needed depending on where the construction work is being carried out. The rating is based on thermal performance, so builders and any other contractor dealing with insulation should know which R Value is right for the given climate. The R Value system applies to all materials which are used for insulation.
It is not enough to use an insulation material which keeps the building either warm or cool. Temperatures change throughout the year, so insulation materials need to help maintain optimum temperatures inside your home. That means that the R Value should allow the home to retain heat in the winter and release heat in the summer. Insulation properties increase with greater R Values, which is consistent for all insulation materials used.
As there are different insulation materials used throughout the home, the system is extremely effective for determining the materials used and their individual R Values. This is done by comparing added R Values for the materials to the overall R Value of the building. The calculations involved are designed to result in the best level of insulation for your home.
Technically, the answer is both yes and no. The Building Code of Australia (BCA) includes provisions which deal with the thermal performance of buildings. As insulation plays a huge part in energy efficiency through the effective use of the R Value system, building work needs to be in compliance with the BCA. While the code does not specifically require the use of the R Value system in achieving the required thermal performance, the building must conform to the deemed-to-satisfy (DTS).
Deemed-to-satisfy (DTS), however, does also mean that you can choose the R Value of insulation so long as the building’s thermal performance is still compliant with the BCA. Of course, that means that you will need to hire a builder who knows which materials are suitable for building and can determine the thermal performance of a building without using the R Value system. Finding such a builder may not be worth the trouble in the end, when the R Value system already provides a method of calculation the thermal performance of both insulation materials and buildings.
A qualified master builder should be able to determine the correct R Values for any insulation materials used in your home. When choosing insulation, the builder will use the R Value system as a guide. For builders, the Department of Planning and Environment has a lot of detailed information on R Values and compliance requirements. This information is also available to consumers and homeowners. It is in the interest of both parties to ensure that the insulation used in construction meets thermal performance for New South Wales.
Building inspectors can also evaluate the R Values in your home. For instance, the thickness and density of the insulation material will often provide the building inspector with an indication of which R Value rating was used. If you are planning on renovations or extending your home, it is important to have an inspection carried out before any work begins. Besides thermal performance, failure to use the correct R Values for insulation materials can cause condensation, dry rot, or create an environment which attracts termites. You can contact Houspect for more information on how we can help you choose the best insulation materials for your home.