How to ensure your strata property cladding is safe and compliant
Be sure to attend to all items on this list to reduce safety hazards and financial risks and better protect your property
Owners corporations must determine the type of strata property cladding applied to their building to ensure it is compliant and safe.
In this article, we explore the various compliance and safety measures you should take if you:
- Are currently investigating the safety and compliance of your cladding
- Have identified combustible cladding and are in the process of taking the necessary steps.
Here are five ways you can ensure your strata property cladding is safe and compliant, and be proactive in protecting lives and your property against fire hazards:
- Know your state regulations
- Get your building professionally assessed
- Retain inspection records and compliance certificates
- Evaluate your insurance policy
- Enforce fire safety measures
Know your state regulations
The National Construction Code (NCC) and the Building Code of Australia (BCA) provide the minimum requirements for safety, health, amenity. Make sure to consult them to find out if your strata property cladding is safe and compliant.
Get your building professionally assessed
Determining the type of cladding used on your building is not always easy. Referring to building drawings and design documents is not necessarily adequate because building materials can be swapped during the construction stage without documentation. Therefore, drawings and designs may misrepresent the true
products and materials of the completed building.
For this reason, it’s important to get your strata property cladding assessed by a qualified specialist who can identify your cladding type and provide recommendations on any further actions.
If you have combustible cladding, your building is not automatically or necessarily dangerous. Additional factors will determine whether that cladding can remain on the building, whether it needs to be removed entirely or simply altered.
With an expert risk assessment, you could potentially save the costs of cladding removal.
In New South Wales and Queensland, your online registration process will direct you as to whether you need to seek further assessments. In Victoria, you will be notified as to when your state-run inspection will take place.
Retain inspection records and compliance certificates
corporations identify and manage combustible strata property cladding, the responsibility to rectify dangerous cladding ultimately rests with the owners.
This is why it is your responsibility to keep all inspection, assessment and compliance documentation. These certificates may be needed as part of your state-based compliance process. Records should also be kept for insurance purposes or in the event liability action is taken.
Evaluate your insurance policy
Once you have identified your strata property cladding as non-compliant or non-conforming, you must notify your insurer. If you fail to notify, your insurer may use this inaction to deny liability for a claim.
Evaluate your insurance policies to determine whether your insurance covers all types of cladding, only compliant cladding, or no cladding at all.
Because non-compliant strata property cladding is linked to fire hazards, you should also evaluate your insurance policy with an eye to your building’s overall fire safety.
There are many types of insurance out there. If your current type is insufficient, speak to a legal advisor to help you find a policy better suited to your needs.
5. Enforce fire-safety measures
General fire safety of your building is essential to all residents. As part of the fire safety measures specified in your state, you may:
- Install fire detection and alarm systems
- Install fire hydrants
- Display clear and visible fire safety notices
- Ensure fire exits are easily accessible, unobstructed and always unlocked
- Conduct regular fire checks and drills
- Ensure fire safety measures work during an emergency.