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fit for purpose!

Architect's memo 75: February 2004

When one purchases any article one has the right to expect that the article is fit for the purpose it is sold for and, thankfully, in New Zealand and Australia, this right is legislatively protected. Paint naturally has to deliver under the legal and social obligation.

This 'fitness for purpose' has an implied duration and it is in this area that most misunderstandings occur.

The useful life of a paint in the can may be determined relatively simply but when it gets transferred onto a surface there are a variety of things that can impact on its longevity. Many of these occur at the time of painting and include the quality and stability of the substrate; the surface preparation of the substrate; the climatic conditions at the time of application and during curing; the method of application; the re-coat schedule of the system and the amount and appropriateness of any thinner or other additive used.

Post-application factors such as exposure to UV light and rain; exposure to marine, industrial or chemical atmospheres; degree of mechanical damage; exposure to high temperatures, soaps, cooking fumes, household cleaners and general cleaning regimes can all severely impact on the useful life of any coating.

Whilst such a list of variables precludes any precise assessment of the useful life of a paint film our customers have the right to have at least some yardsticks of performance before specifying our products. To this end Resene has published for some time, on 1(v) of our Resene One-Line Specifications and Data Sheet Manual, a guide to the durability of paint systems over various substrates.

This is the level of performance implicit in every purchase of Resene paint and where we draw our line in the sand with regards to the Fair Trading and Consumer Guarantees Acts. This implicit warranty can be formalised by the issue of a written document. This document, known informally in-house as an ISO Guarantee is simply a confirmation of our responsibilities under the above legislation and can be issued at any time.

This is the only guarantee that Resene offers that comes as of right following a transaction.

Many situations exist where assurances of performance are required outside the norm and Resene relishes the challenge of designing paints and systems for demanding applications. However there is a protocol to work through to achieve this end. Resene requires to be involved right from the design stage to understand the substrate and fabrication issues, any particular issues of exposure and use, and what particular aspects of performance need warranting and for how long.

The specification has to be agreed to by the specifier and the Resene representative, technical services manager and technical director before a warranty can be granted. This will often involve a bit of to-ing and fro-ing before the specification is settled and maintenance regimes agreed to.

Resene insist on this discipline because it believes that its guarantees are valuable documents. The rigours of the process also invariably bring a lot of benefits to the specification.

The outcome is embodied in a customised 'Fitness for Purpose' guarantee specific for the job in hand.

These obviously cannot be issued retroactively. It is the greatest concern to us when our good clients come to us after the completion of a job under the impression that they can have such a guarantee as of right. The disappointment of such situations can lead to frustrations in our clients that we would dearly love to avoid.

So if a specific warranty is required for your project, talk to us right at the start and we can work with you to develop paints, systems, a specification and a warranty of value.

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Architects memos
The Resene architect's memo section provides technical information on a variety of topics relating to paints, finishes and coatings.

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