Articles, Commercial

Incorporating Rigid Air Barriers as the Foundation of Modern Facade Design (Whitepaper)

Together 01-scaled


Good façade design plays a critical role in high performing Australian buildings – from managing condensation and preventing water penetration, to resisting the spread of fire on the exterior of buildings. In today’s market, a variety of cladding materials are available, including fibre cement, terracotta and zinc to name a few, giving architects and builders significant design flexibility. However, despite the range of solutions on the market, traditional façade design and installation methods have been falling short in some key areas.

According to a 2019 study by Deakin University in conjunction with Griffith University and other research partners, building defects relating to components of external wall systems, specifically the building fabric and exterior cladding, are common across the country.[i] The study analysed 2012 building defect reports across multiple states, finding that 33% of issues were related to water penetration and moisture caused by non-compliant or poorly-fitted cladding, or ineffective waterproofing.[ii] According to recent industry reports, cladding defects related to fire performance are also rampant.[iii]

In Australia, new buildings are emerging that push the limits of architectural complexity, heights and beauty. Presenting a unique design challenge due to more extreme weather conditions at greater heights, exteriors with more joints and junctions and elevated requirements for airtightness, efficiency and durability, these new structures have made compliance more difficult using traditional methods. New, holistic approaches to building facade design and construction are needed to meet strict demands for weather and airtightness, energy efficiency, resilience and fire protection.

Rigid air barriers have emerged as the foundational component for external wall systems of the future. A new approach to façade design in Australia, rigid air barrier panels are high-performance weather barriers that are specially designed to meet changing industry requirements and withstand Australia’s unpredictable climate.

Download the whitepaper for the full story on how rigid air barriers such as the James Hardie RAB™ Board, can be incorporated into high performing facades, withstanding the most challenging of weather conditions.


[i] Johnson, Nicole and Sacha Reid. “An Examination of Building Defects in Residential Multi-owned Properties.” Griffith University. (accessed 23 April 2020).

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Construction Forestry Maritime Mining And Energy Union. “Shaky Foundations: The National Crisis in Construction.” CFMMEU. (accessed 23 April 2020).

Share :