We’ve all seen buildings covered with plastic builder’s wrap. It’s a method, as Kiwis, we’ve employed for decades without putting much thought to whether it’s the most efficient way of doing things, IBS Building Supplies’ Josh Bardell says. “We think that needs to change, and we’ve seen a huge rise in popularity in rigid air barriers lately, which signals that people are starting to consider better ways of building.”

A rigid air barrier is an alternative for builder’s wrap, however not all rigid air barriers are equal, and for Josh and his team, a product relatively new to the market is helping to alter the market’s perception of the currently accepted building methodology.

OS’Brace RAP® was designed by German company EGGER specifically for New Zealand conditions. OS’Brace panels meet European standards as well as being CodeMarkTM Certified in New Zealand. The panels provide a bracing element but are also certified as temporary cladding, allowing work to continue inside the building while it stands in place of the final external cladding for up to 90 days and thereby reducing the build time. “But because of its bracing elements, it also means you’re building a stronger, better home while using a more economical product,” Josh says.

The boards themselves are oriented strand boards, which while similar to ply in strength, they’re the only product of their type to provide an environmentally-friendly option. “They are the only rigid air barrier treated to H3.1 in New Zealand, which means they don’t have any harsh chemicals.

The panel is an orientated strand board (OSB), meaning that the board is manufactured with large wood chips that are glued and pressed at right angles to each other with the top and bottom 25 per cent of the board running long ways and the middle 50 percent running sideways to create a woven engineered panel.

“This means that OS’Brace® RAP has a consistent strength,” Josh says. “Because the wood chips are H3.1 treated before the OSB is pressed into a board it also means the board is more stable and will resist delamination and warping, unlike plywood. “The treatment also means that when the boards are cut, there is no need to re-treat the edges as it will still be water resistant.”

“Because the Building Code requires certain types of bracing, in order to meet the relevant standards, it is necessary to either use a bracing panel such as OS’Brace® RAP or look to the interior where nogs, tie-downs or GIB bracing would be used instead,” Josh explains. “But those elements increase build time and expenses.” 


The other option for this sort of bracing panel is using fibre cement, which has silicone dust in it if it needs to be cut, meaning specific tools are needed and the build time is not as efficient. OS’Brace® RAP uses a formaldehyde-free resin, meaning that it does not release any harmful dust when cut and is therefore, safer for builders to handle.

“We think in every house in New Zealand within the next five years will be built using a rigid air barrier,” Josh says. “The interiors of houses are always evolving and developing, and so too must the external parts. A rigid air barrier is simply a better way of building. Things are heading in that direction already because people are becoming more aware of the benefits of rigid air barriers.”

Get in touch with IBS Building Products on ArchiPro here or check out www.getrigid.co.nz to find out more about this new technology and how it can be incorporated into your next project.