Design Guidelines
Macquarie University Property

External Walls

External Walls Finishes

General Selection Requirements

External materials and finishes are to be selected based on a "Whole of Life" approach using a range of preferably sustainable materials, designed to provide:

  • Value for Money
  • Fit for purpose
  • Long term durability
  • 100% non combustible
  • Minimal maintenance requirements
  • Low maintenance costs

The preference is to use products with recycling potential on disposal and/or includes recycled content.

The selection of materials and finishes must be based on a knowledge of the activities to be conducted in the area.

Use impact resistant materials in all Student accessible areas.

Visible surfaces should be capable of being easily cleaned and repaired if damaged.


  • Variations to the nominated materials may be necessary in particular designs due to planning considerations.
  • In these cases, the fixtures are to be approximately equivalent and must be approved by the project control group and MQP.

Fire Resistance - Fire Hazard Properties

All lining materials must comply with the BCA Fire Hazard Properties appropriate to the locations.  Furthermore, all external claddings must be 100% non combustible and have manufacturer's guarantee to this effect.

Composite Cladding

Composite aluminium cladding panels shall not be used on any projects on campus.

Recommended External Wall Materials

The following design criteria and materials are recommended for external walls:

  • External finishes to be washable, pressure water cleanable.
  • Where directed, specify sacrificial anti-graffiti treatment to accessible wall surfaces.
  • Design external building surfaces to minimise ledges or surfaces which will provide roosting or nesting places for birds.
  • Face Brickwork with Flush natural colour joints is the preferred material at low levels along walkways Due to its high durability and ware resistance.
  • Consider use of cant and plinth bricks with chamfered profiles in human impact zones. Sharp edges and corners of brickwork should be avoided. Brick sills should not encroach into circulation spaces.
  • Porous bricks to be avoided in areas likely to be subject to graffiti.
  • Painted brickwork is not recommended due to its limited durability and high maintenance requirements and should only be included with Property Office approval.
  • Bagged finish to brickwork is not recommended due to high maintenance requirements and should only be included with Property Office approval.
  • Unpainted Concrete is preferred due to low maintenance requirements.
  • Preformed Metal Cladding with Colorbond® type finish in standard off-the-shelf colour, may be considered above 2.1m on framed buildings, but only with Property Office approval.
  • Prefinished Aluminium Composite Panel Cladding may be considered in some locations subject to Property Office approval, and must be 100% non combustible.
  • Glazing up to 5 metres above the ground is to be accessible for cleaning.
  • Glazing above 5 metres above ground level is to be accessible from within the building in accordance with the BCA and Workcover regulations.
  • Solar shading devices should not obstruct the cleaning of glass or promote web insect problems or provide perches for birds.