Author: Kieran Balmaceda | Technical Editors: Hendry Building Surveying

Combustible Cladding and other Non-Conforming Building Products were a key focus for Government, the Built-Form industry and globally in 2018.

From the outside, members of the community have been justifiably concerned for the not only the safety of their current dwellings, but for the safety of any new or existing dwelling they may come to occupy.

Building owners too are concerned that non-compliant materials may have entered the supply chain and have been used throughout their assets.

As we settle into the year, implementation of legislation which outlines key responsibilities and procedures to manage and avoid current and potential risks will be central to establishing a national position on Non-Conforming Building Products.

Following the release of the Final Report by the Senate Inquiry into Non-Conforming Building Products in early December, several recommendations have been made to address the “need for a coherent and robust regulatory regime.”

Nine of the recommendations in the Senate Inquiry seek to directly address current reporting requirements, governance and industry standards. Of these, four major recommendations made were also taken from the interim report, which recommend:

  1. “Making all Australian Standards freely available;”

H: The ability to provide easy access to up-to-date regulations, especially to advisory bodies and consultants, is a great benefit in understanding a client’s position and the necessary steps to rectify any issues which may arise.

  1. “Consulting with industry stakeholders to determine the feasibility of developing a national database of conforming and non-conforming products;”

H: We agree that a public register will prove to be highly useful for all parties in gathering information on a given building or matters relating to material compliance. Currently, such a register does not exist. Registers are provided in independent reports from a product manufacturer, and as such could benefit from an independent review where the independent body has the experience to validate the suitability and compliance of a product.

  1. “Imposing a penalties regime for non-compliance with the National Construction Code such as revocation of accreditation or a ban from tendering for Commonwealth funded construction work and substantial financial penalties.”

H: Hendry believes that this measure would present a deterrent for parties with a history of non-compliance or whom have been involved in matters of non-compliance. Penalties like these would likely serve as an additional deterrent for non-compliant materials to enter the supply chain unchecked.

  1. “Requiring manufacturers, importers and suppliers to hold mandatory recall insurance for high-risk building products.”

H: Accountability is a key priority with regards to suppliers and the products they provide, particularly their ability to comply with current requirements and their suitability for the intended application.

Making recall insurance mandatory will importantly provide a method for people to recoup losses related to the use of non-compliant building materials.

These recommendations were accompanied by amendments to “Building Regulation 2006” which, similar to practices implemented in NSW, required building owners to register their buildings and complete a combustible cladding checklist provided online.

Owners must register buildings which fall within the following criteria by March 29th, 2019:

  • Are a class 2-9 building
  • Of type A or B construction
  • Built or have had the cladding altered after 1 January 1994 but before 1 October 2018.

Hendry is able to work with you to assess the current state of your assets and provide guidance with regards to your concerns.

In order to avoid this issue, certifiers and building professionals can uphold their organisation’s credibility and ability to renew their registration through maintaining a consistently low risk profile.

Hendry agrees with the objective of creating a national standard, and the potential to align with an internationally coordinated effort, to ensure the safety of the built-form and its occupants. We support processes which ensure the safety and compliance of materials entering the supply chain through a more thorough process of identification, a consistent framework for accountability and in implementing a consistent standard for rectification where non-compliant products are in use.

Where cladding or other fire risks are concerned, it is recommended that you engage with a company with dedicated Fire Engineers and professionals who can provide an up to date knowledge of compliance and regulations surrounding fire risk management.

Greg Payne, Hendry’s National Manager for Project Delivery, has recently joined the United Nations backed International Fire Safety Standards committee, an international coalition of experts in safety standards. There he will serve as a contributor to key discussions around non-compliant or unsafe building materials, with the aim of establishing a consistent approach and process of identification and risk mitigation internationally.

Hendry’s experts are also involved in several industry and regulatory standards committees to discuss the ways which we can produce a consistent nationwide approach to unsafe building products and regulations or guidelines to prevent further issues from occurring, including Victorian Building Authority (VBA) panels on wall-cladding audits and expert review, BCA Audits, fire safety surveys and certification.

If you have any concerns regarding non-compliant building materials or cladding, Hendry can assist in understanding your particular requirements and develop a robust approach. We can also assist in the preparation of documents and inspection of your asset portfolio with relation to cladding and occupant safety to establish a clear position.

Contact our expert advisors today by calling 1800 875 371 or email info@hendry.com.au.

 

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