Statement of clarification: Modakboard

CertMark International (CMI) was yesterday 8/10/15 provided with a copy of a press release issued by ModakBoard in which Mr. Peter Jones, of ModakBoard claimed that recent testing by the CSIRO “Fully Vindicate” ModakBoard. This statement is false and misleading, as are the other statement contained in the press release.

The test conducted by the CSIRO on 24th August 2015, certificate number 2674, and 21st of September 2015, certificate number 2707, were completed on a different board and system construction conditions than the CodeMark Certificate was issued. The Board tested is designate on the CSIRO reports as “MBE-10”. This is a high density Magnesium Oxide board that is grey in colour and is not the board that has been supplied by ModakBoard for the past 24 months into the Australian market.

ModakBoard was advised on several occasions that CMI required them to conduct testing of the “White Board”, being the board supplied into the marketplace over this timeframe. It should be noted that this “White Board” is the subject of the complaints received by CMI. It was communicated repeatedly to ModakBoard that it was imperative that this “White Board” be the subject of any testing completed. It was crucial that compliance of the white board against the Nation Construction Code (NCC) requirements as well as manufacturing quality be achieved to rectify the non-conformances.

CMI advised ModakBoard that samples had been taken from one of the construction sites under investigation. Modakboard was advised that CMI would need to witness any testing to confirm that the “White Board”, as well as the construction methods used, were identical to ModakBoard installation manual, as well as the product that was listed on the (suspended) CodeMark Certificate.  ModakBoard failed to comply to this direction and omitted CMI from the CSIRO testing.

As the subject material and construction methods used in the recent CSIRO testing do not reflect the performance of the “White Board” supplied by ModakBoard over the past 24 months, these test results have no bearing on the current investigation into the conformity of the Modakboard supplied over the past 24 months to the NCC and cannot be relied upon to demonstrate conformity of ModakBoard for the previously supplied “White Board”.

In the press release ModakBoard have made reference, and supplied, a copy of CSIRO certificate, number 1278 dated 29th July 2009. This test report relates to the original Magnesium Oxide Board which was the subject of the company’s original application and subsequently successful CodeMark certification in 2012. This is not the same board that was the subject of the recent tests nor was it the same board supplied by ModakBoard over the past 24 months. The testing that this report reference is AS/NZS 3837 whereas the recent CSIRO testing was done to AS/NZS 1530.4. Consequently, this test report has no validity in relation to either the current board tested by CSIRO, or the board that has been supplied for the past 24 months by ModakBoard.

ModakBoard has also referenced the report from Hillbridge Design Engineers, dated 3rd September 2012. Once again this report has no relevance to the recent CSIRO testing undertaken by ModakBoard as the subject material of the testing in fundamentally different.

It is noted that the recent testing undertaken by ModakBoard, it has been demonstrated that their new board” Grey Board”, when installed in accordance with the design specifications detailed on CSIRO report 2674 and 2707, has the potential to meet the requirements of the NCC. However, as previously detailed, the board and installation configuration is significantly different to the Board supplied into the marketplace and subsequently the testing and results have no bearing on the decision made by CMI to withdraw CodeMark certificate CMA-CM40007 given the product evaluated under this certificate no longer exists.

It should also be noted that both CSIRO report 2674 and 2707 are test reports that relate to material tests by them and supplied by Modakboard. These reports both clearly state the following:

“This certificate is provided for general information only and does not comply with regulatory requirements for evidence of compliance”.

As such these certificates cannot be relied upon to demonstrate conformity of the Grey board to the NCC.

ModakBoard were accorded ample opportunity to answer the non-conformance raised as a result of complaints received by CMI. ModakBoard have avenues of complaint, appeal and redress available to them under the CodeMark scheme through both JAS-ANZ and the ABCB.

The ModakBoard press release contains a number of reference to government organizations and indeed mentions government employees by name. CMI has no intention to comment upon these, and many other statements made by Mr. Peter Jones, with the exception of the following statement:

During the entire suspension and subsequent cancelation of CodeMark Certificate CMA-CM40007, all parties with the exception of ModakBoard have acted within the confines of the CodeMark Scheme Rules and conducted themselves in a professional and proper manner.”

ModakBoard have been offered every opportunity to address the non-conformities raised by CMI as a result of the complaints and the investigation completed by CMI. The evidence of the complaints received by CMI, which have subsequently been handed on to the Queensland Office of Fair Trade, is factual in nature and not “hearsay”, as stated by Mr. Jones.

To date, ModakBoard have not responded to any of the non-conformities raised by CMI, which includes issues of reaction to fire, general product quality, structural failure of ModakBoard used as flooring, as well as issues of water absorbency and swelling

CMI advises that there is an ongoing investigation of the conformity of the Board supplied over the past 24 months by ModakBoard. This investigation is in the hands of the Queensland Office of Fair Trade, as well as relevant State building authorities.