Understanding cladding legislation for strata properties
Failing to comply with your state regulations can result in penalties. Keep on top of your requirements to ensure you don’t pay fines
Understanding cladding legislation and programs in your state is incredibly important for safety and compliance. Knowing how to navigate cladding requirements can also help you to finance any cladding rectification works.
Each state has its own requirements around combustible cladding, so it’s essential to know the specific laws and programs in progress into your state.
Laws, policies and programs relating to combustible cladding and non-compliant building materials are evolving every day, as governments take steps to regulate the industry and provide owners with guidance and financial support.In this article, we detail important cladding legislation in the following key states:
- Important cladding legislation: New South Wales
- Important cladding legislation: Queensland
- Important cladding legislation: Victoria
Important cladding legislation: New South Wales
As of August 2018, the use of Aluminium Composite Panels with a core comprised of more than 30 per cent polyethylene by mass is banned in New South Wales.
The Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Identification of Buildings with Combustible Cladding) Regulation 2018 (PDF) also came into effect, mandating the registration of combustible cladding via the NSW Cladding Registration Portal.
Buildings with non-compliant cladding are known as “affected buildings” and may be issued an “affected building notice” containing advice on further actions that need to be taken such as removal or rectification.
Registration deadlines include:
- Buildings occupied before 22 October 2018: 22 February 2019
- New buildings built after 22 October 2018: within four months of first occupation
The NSW government has pledged $1 billion in funding to provide building owners with interest-free loans to finance their combustible cladding rectification works.
The NSW Cladding Taskforce will contact eligible building owners and owners corporations to invite them to participate in the scheme, with applications scheduled to open in March 2021.
Important cladding legislation: Queensland
In October 2018, the Building and Other Legislation (Cladding) Amendment Regulation 2018 came into effect to establish the Safer Buildings program.
This law and associated government program helps the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC), building owners and owners corporations identify and rectify non-compliant combustible cladding on buildings.
The new law made it compulsory for building owners of certain building types to register their building online and to perform a three-part assessment known as the Combustible Cladding Checklist.
To date, these new laws have captured approximately 12,000 Queensland buildings requiring building owners to report to the QBCC about the material on the exterior of their building.
The Safer Buildings program is currently at part three of fulfilment. See below for a summary of each step.
- Part 1: The first step of the checklist was registration of the building through the online portal and a questionnaire to determine if your building could have combustible cladding. Owners were notified if their building could have combustible cladding and that they need to proceed to step 2. Past deadline: 29 March 2019
- Part 2 Owners engage a building industry professional to complete Form 34 – Building Industry Professional Statement and upload it to the online checklist system. Buildings identified as having combustible cladding were notified to progress to part 3A. Past deadline: 31 July 2019
- Part 3A: Owners engaged a fire engineer and registering them using the online checklist. Past deadline: 31 October 2019
- Part 3B: The fire engineer provides owners with a building fire safety risk assessment and a fire engineer statement, which can be used to complete the final stage of the online checklist. The fire engineer may recommend that you undertake short-term risk mitigation prior to official cladding rectification works. Deadline: 3 May 2021.
Important cladding legislation: Victoria
With the Building Amendment (Registration of Building Trades and Other Matters) Bill 2018, the Victorian Government banned the use of cladding panels with polyethylene and expanded polystyrene (EPS) cores.
Following the ban, Victoria also passed the Cladding Safety Victoria Bill 2020 to facilitate the $600 million Cladding Rectification Program, which will help improve the safety of residential apartment buildings.
In summary, Victorian legislation has accomplished or initiated the following:
- Established an organisation (Cladding Safety Victoria) to administer cladding rectification to high-risk buildings across the state
- Extended the limitation period for cladding building actions from 10 to 12 years, helping owners and governments to pursue liability claims against builders
- Supports the construction industry through the COVID-19 economic downturn
- Assigns project managers to high-risk cladding case to help owners source specialists, outline scope of work and perform rectification works
- Provides funding for certain high-risk cladding to be removed faster
- Offers loans (Cladding Rectification Agreements) for owners ineligible for direct funding to finance their rectification works as an alternative to self-funding, strata loans, re-financing, or personal loans.
For more information on the Cladding Rectification Program for owners corporations, see the Cladding Safety Victoria’s Guidance Note (PDF).
If you’d like to find out more on understanding cladding legislation for your strata property, download our free Community Living guide. Or for a consultation to review your common property insurance by our CommunitySure insurance team, click here.