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Non-Compliant External Cladding

There has been much information issued about the issue of non-compliant external cladding. This section aims to keep Members and the industry informed on developments about this issue. This website will be kept up to date as more information is made available.

Victorian Cladding Taskforce

The Co-chairs of the Taskforce have released their Interim Report detailing key findings and recommendations.
To view this report, CLICK HERE.

1 December 2017

Whilst the BDAV was not on the Taskforce nor the Stakeholder Reference Group, we did meet with the VTC CEO and outlined issues relevant to BDAV members. Thank you to BDAV Committee Member Peter Lombo for his contribution to this conversation.

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The Minister for Planning's Response was made available by a media release: CLICK HERE to read the release.

1 December 2017

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The Minister for Planning also participated in an interview on ABC Radio, accessible by CLICKING HERE

1 December 2017

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The Victorian Building Authority has released a response, which is available by CLICKING HERE

1 December 2017

What Members need to know?

Whilst the specific details of the Government response are still to be clarified and delivered by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), we can inform you of the following: 

  • Government has directed the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) to inspect more worksites and building, including a statewide audit of residential buildings likely to have combustible cladding.  The VBA have been instructed to audit 10% of buildings, up from less than 2%.
  • Restrict the use of ACPs with a PE core and the use of expanded polystyrene (EPS) in Victoria on buildings above two storeys.  As there are no specific details provided it is unclear at this stage whether it related to “all buildings above two storeys” or as documented in the Taskforce recommendations only “Class 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9”.
  • Appoint a State Building Inspector – a leading expert to provide the very best technical knowledge.
  • Appoint former VicRoads chief executive John Merritt to the Victorian Cladding Taskforce as a Special Adviser to the Minister.
  • The Government will take immediate action to address cladding on publicly-owned buildings, including hospitals.

Numerous other recommendations have been made in the report and we await advice from Government and/or DELWP as to a response to the recommendations.  Those of potentially most interest to building designers are summarised below:

Priority:

  • That the Taskforce complete the development of a rectification standard, to be used by the VBA in its audit as well as fire safety engineers and private building surveyors. The rectification standard will set out appropriate action for rectifying buildings with non-compliant external wall cladding based on a safety risk assessment, stakeholders will be asked to promote it as part of the voluntary activation of the private sector.
  • That the VBA work to ensure practitioners have greater understanding of the NCC and building legislation so compliance is taken more seriously.
  • That bodies responsible for disciplinary action against professionals in the building industry, including the Architect Registration Board Victoria, Building Practitioners Board and the VBA ensure that hearings take place expeditiously into matters of professional conduct.
  • That consideration be given to amending the Building Act to ensure building surveyors and fire safety engineers act independently, supported by a code of conduct developed by the VBA.
  • That the Minister for Planning advocate nationally to develop a standard that would define and restrict the use of “FR” (Fire Resistant, Fire Retardant or Fire Rated) in the marketing of products

Long-term reforms recommended of potential interest are that:

  • DELWP develop a discussion paper and undertake consultation on:
    – introducing a statutory duty of care on building practitioners (including architects and designers) to protect occupants and consumers in the residential strata sector
    – introducing shared responsibility legislation that would apply to manufacturers, importers and suppliers of building products along similar lines to product safety legislation introduced in Queensland in August 2017
    – introducing compulsory warranty insurance for residential multi-unit developments and insurance by commercial builders.
    – introducing a requirement to seek approval of significant variations to plans, and to lodge drawings and specifications with councils that reflect building plans and specifications ‘as built’
    – the restoration of the role of Clerk of Works to oversee building works and provenance of building products.
  • consideration be given to improvements to the current private surveyor model in Victoria to ensure an effective and efficient model that would improve levels of compliance, the rigour of inspection and clarify and improve the effectiveness of enforcement of building laws.
  • consideration be given to reconsidering and clarifying the role of the VBA relative to local government and the MBS.
  • DELWP review the compliance and enforcement powers in the Building Act to ensure that regulators are equipped with a suite of comprehensive, fit for purpose tools that allow for quick, responsive, robust interventions.
  • DELWP, with input from the VBA, analyse the penalties under the Building Act and consider whether maximum penalties and sentencing practices are adequate.
  • the Government consider measures to strengthen of the requirements for fire safety designs to be independently reviewed, inspected and approved prescribing additional matters that would requiring the Chief Officer’s consent and that the Minister promote through the Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF) the adoption of the rectification standard as a national model.
  • the Minister continue to encourage the BMF and ABCB to improve the clarity and readability of the NCC. Such a review should reduce the number of subjective standards included in the Code and improve consistency of language used to describe compliant performance standards.
  • the Minister write to the Commonwealth Minister urging the Commonwealth to make arrangements that would allow Australian Standards to be made available free of charge.