When it comes to cladding regulations, the states of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland are of one view – combustible cladding material such as Aluminium Composite Panels (ACP) are banned from use. The heat is on for building owners to comply with the new regulations.
Following the tragic fires in London’s Grenfell Tower last year and Melbourne’s Lacrosse Building in 2014, there’s been a flurry of amendments to existing regulations to make buildings and properties safer across Australia.
Here are the latest updates for combustible cladding across the states of New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria:
New South Wales (NSW)
NSW has amended the Building Products (Safety) Act 2017 specifically prohibiting the use of flammable metal cladding material such as ACP if the panel core has more than 30% polyethylene. Other metal composite cladding material such as zinc, copper, etc. are also considered equally at risk.
Strata properties having residential and mixed-use buildings that are more than two storeys high need to compulsorily register details of their ownership and cladding material used in their building via the online cladding registration portal within the specified timelines.
Buildings occupied after 22 October 2018 need to be registered within four months of occupation. And those occupied before this date need to be registered by 22 February 2019.
The Building and Other Legislation (Cladding) Amendment Regulation 2018 (Qld) mandates the committee (on behalf of property owners) to register online and give a copy of a completed cladding checklist (part 1) for the building to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) by 29 March 2019.
Owners can choose to extend the period of complying by applying 28 days before the deadline lapses i.e. 1 March 2019, but no one is completely exempted from doing so.
Recently, the deadlines for part 2 and part 3a cladding compliance have been extended by the QLD government to accommodate requests from property owners for more time to complete the checklist. Owners now have an additional two months to have their buildings professionally assessed for combustible cladding and should submit the checklist by 31 July 2019 as part 2 cladding compliance.
Part 3 of the assessment for fire safety should be carried out by 31 October 2019 and overall replacement of unsafe cladding should be completed by 3 May 2021. For more detailed information, click here.
In its recent amendment of the Building Amendment (Registration of Building Trades and Other Matters) Bill 2018, the Victorian government also issued a ban on using ACP with polyethylene and expanded polystyrene (EPS) cores.
A recent audit by the Victorian Cladding Taskforce shows that out of a total 4700 buildings inspected, about 384 are using potentially combustible cladding and 21 need immediate cladding replacement. Owners must test for flammable cladding and replace them to ensure safety of their buildings.
The new regulations are applicable to certain types of buildings that are of mixed-use and residential type and have generally more than two stories. Building owners and their owners corporations will be notified by the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) at least 48 hours ahead of a scheduled inspection and must comply with the notice. Government authorised building inspectors will assess the external and common areas of strata buildings to check for inflammable cladding and submit reports for further assessment.
Once the reports are duly analysed by a panel of fire-safety professionals and building surveyors, you should immediately replace any unsafe cladding that may be found.