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EIFS Stewardship

Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems

Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS), also known as External Thermal Insulation Composite Systems (ETICS), are wall cladding systems used in construction to provide insulation and decorative finishes to the exterior of buildings. EIFS consists of several layers that work together to create a thermally efficient and aesthetically pleasing building envelope.

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Components of Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS)


The core of an EIFS is a layer of rigid foam insulation, usually made of expanded polystyrene (EPS) or extruded polystyrene (XPS). The insulation is attached to the exterior wall surface using adhesive or mechanical fasteners.

Base Coat

A layer of polymer-modified cementitious material is applied over the insulation. This base coat acts as a weather-resistant barrier and provides additional strength and durability to the system.


Fiberglass mesh or a similar material is embedded into the base coat to enhance its tensile strength and prevent cracking.

Finish Coat

A decorative and protective layer is applied as the final exterior finish. This can be a textured coating or a synthetic stucco-like material that comes in a variety of colors and textures, allowing for a wide range of design options.

Advantages of EIFS

It’s important to note that EIFS requires proper installation and maintenance to prevent moisture-related issues, such as water intrusion or mould growth. It’s worth noting that proper installation and maintenance are crucial for the long-term performance of EIFS. Therefore, it’s important to consult with qualified professionals familiar with EIFS installation guidelines and best practices.

Energy Efficiency

The thick layer of insulation in EIFS reduces heat transfer through the building envelope, resulting in energy savings and improved thermal comfort.

Moisture Resistance

EIFS is designed to be a water-resistant system when properly installed and maintained. The base coat acts as a barrier against moisture infiltration, while the finish coat helps shed water.

Design Flexibility

EIFS allows for diverse architectural designs due to the availability of various finishes, colors, and textures. It can mimic the appearance of traditional stucco, stone, or brick, providing a versatile aesthetic.

Crack Resistance

The flexible nature of EIFS and the use of reinforcement mesh helps minimize cracking caused by thermal expansion and contraction or building settlement.

Sound Insulation

The insulation in EIFS can also contribute to reducing sound transmission through the walls, resulting in improved acoustic performance.

External Cladding Systems in Australia

In Australia, the rules and regulations for external cladding systems are primarily governed by the National Construction Code (NCC), which consists of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and the Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA). The NCC is a performance-based code that sets out the minimum requirements for the design and construction of buildings.

Specific requirements for external cladding systems can vary depending on factors such as the height and type of the building, its location, and the materials used. The following are some key considerations and regulations related to external cladding systems in Australia:

Fire Safety:

The NCC places significant emphasis on fire safety. The BCA has introduced strict requirements for the fire performance of external cladding materials. This includes restrictions on the use of certain types of combustible cladding materials in high-rise buildings and requirements for testing and certification of cladding systems.

Performance Requirements:

The NCC outlines specific performance requirements for external cladding systems related to structural integrity, weatherproofing, and resistance to moisture penetration. These requirements ensure that cladding systems are durable, provide adequate insulation, and protect the building from external elements.

Compliance and Certification:

Building practitioners and contractors are required to ensure that the cladding systems used comply with the relevant standards and regulations. Certification and documentation demonstrating compliance may be required, particularly for high-rise buildings or those subject to additional scrutiny due to their location or design.

State and Territory Variations:

While the NCC provides a national framework, each state and territory in Australia may have its own additional requirements or guidelines for external cladding systems. These variations can relate to specific materials, installation methods, or additional testing and certification processes. It is essential to consult the relevant state or territory authority to ensure compliance with local regulations.

Retrofitting and Remediation:

In response to concerns about existing buildings with non-compliant cladding systems, many states and territories have implemented programs to identify and rectify buildings with potentially hazardous cladding. These programs often involve inspections, assessments, and requirements for remediation or replacement of non-compliant cladding.

*It is important to note that building codes and regulations are subject to updates and revisions. To ensure compliance with the current requirements, it is recommended to consult the most recent edition of the NCC and any relevant state or territory variations. Additionally, engaging with local councils and authorities during the design and construction process is crucial to understanding any specific requirements or guidelines that may apply in a particular area.

Did You Know?

EPS Cladding remains inert, is non toxic, odour free and non- biodegradable.

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EPS Cladding and the Environment

  • EPS Cladding is comprised of 98% engineered air and therefore only 2% polystyrene, making it a highly efficient use of raw material.
  • No CFC’s or HCFC’s foam agents are used in its manufacture, so EPS causes no damage to the ozone layer.
  • Effective installation of EPS Cladding can cut carbon dioxide emissions by up to 50%.
  • The R-value of EPS Cladding does not deteriorate during its lifetime, therefore the reduction in emissions lasts the full lifetime of the building.
  • The energy used to manufacture EPS Cladding is recovered within six months by the energy saved in the building in which EPS Caldding is installed.
  • Typically, for every kg of oil used in EPS Cladding manufacturing, around 200kg will be saved in reduced heating demands.
  • All EPS waste is recycled. It can be granulated and mixed with virgin material to make new products, or melted down to create alternative products in other industries.

Responsible Supply, Installation and Recycling of EPS Cladding Systems

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