5. Cladding and owners corporation obligations
In recent years, federal and state governments have introduced a range of policies to ensure compliance with building cladding on strata properties. Overseen by the Australian Building Codes Board, the National Construction Code outlines minimum national standards that govern the safety and health, amenity, accessibility and sustainability in the design, construction, performance and liveability of new buildings.
State-based laws and regulations also apply to the safe application of building cladding on strata properties. Risk assessments for affected buildings and rectification works are already underway. Below, we explore how to ensure your building cladding complies with laws and regulations relevant to your state.
New South Wales
The New South Wales Government has taken a whole-of-government approach to mitigate fire safety risks associated with external combustible cladding on strata properties and other buildings alike.
The Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Identification of Buildings with Combustible Cladding) Regulation 2018 guides the industry in adopting safe cladding construction practices.
New South Wales requires mandatory registration (via the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment) for all commercial, residential and mixed-use buildings that are two storeys and above. For buildings occupied before 22 October 2018, the deadline for registration was 22 February 2019. Buildings constructed after this date must be registered within four months of the building first being occupied.
The New South Wales Government has established a Cladding Taskforce to address fire safety risks relating to combustible cladding and oversee the Government’s action plan to remove and rectify combustible cladding on strata properties as well as commercial and mixed-use buildings.
In response to heightened community concerns over the risks posed to building occupants and responding emergency personnel, the Queensland Government introduced legislative changes whereby owners must follow a compulsory checklist for cladding material. They are also required to undertake a two-stage assessment of their buildings under the Building and Other Legislation (Cladding) Amendment Regulation 2018.
The Queensland Building and Construction Commission is an excellent resource to ensure cladding compliance.
The Victorian Government has sought to rectify the amount of dangerous combustible cladding installed in many multi-storey residential and commercial buildings in Victoria. The state government passed the Cladding Safety Victoria Act (2020) in December 2020.
Under this legislation, independent project managers support owners corporations to replace non-compliant cladding products from their owners corporation property. Provisions are also made for owners corporations to receive state government funding for these works.