Combustible Cladding: What To Expect In 2019
Combustible cladding has been a key focus for Government and the built-form industry in 2018 and we expect that to continue into 2019.
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Governments focus on combustible cladding
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, community members have been justifiably concerned for the safety of their current dwellings. As well as 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. Additionally, they worry about the use of non-compliant materials throughout their assets.
As we settle into the year, implementing legislation will be central to establishing a national position on Non-Conforming Building Products. Furthermore, legislation should outline key responsibilities and procedures to manage and avoid current and potential risks.
In early December, the Final Report was released by the Senate Inquiry into Non-Conforming Building Products. The final report included recommendations to address the ‘need for a coherent and robust regulatory regime.’
Of the recommendations in the Senate Inquiry, 9 of them seek to directly address current reporting requirements, governance, and industry standards. Of these, 4 major recommendations were also taken from the interim report.
1. Make Australian Standards freely available
Making all Australian Standards freely available.
The ability to provide easy access to up-to-date regulations is a great benefit in understanding a client’s position and the necessary steps to rectify any issues. Especially to advisory bodies and consultants.
2. Potentially develop a national database of non/conforming product
Consulting with industry stakeholders to determine the feasibility of developing a national conforming and non-conforming product database.
We agree that a public register will be highly useful for all parties in gathering information on a given building or matters relating to material compliance. However, currently, such a register does not exist. Instead, product manufacturers provide registers in independent reports. As such, registers could benefit from an independent review where the independent body has the experience to validate the suitability and compliance of a product.
3. Introduce a penalties regime for non-compliance
Imposing a penalties regime for non-compliance with the National Construction Code, such as revocation of accreditation. Alternatively, a ban from tendering for Commonwealth-funded construction work and substantial financial penalties.
Hendry believes this measure would deter parties with a history of non-compliance. Or deter those involved in matters of non-compliance. In addition, penalties like these would likely serve as a deterrent for non-compliant materials to enter the supply chain unchecked.
4. Mandatory recall insurance
Requiring manufacturers, importers and suppliers to hold mandatory recall insurance for high-risk building products.
Accountability is a key priority regarding suppliers and their products. 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 non-compliant building materials.
Amendments to building regulations
Amendments to ‘Building Regulation 2006’ accompanied these recommendations. Building owners must register their buildings and complete a combustible cladding checklist online like practices implemented in NSW.
Owners must register buildings that fall within the following criteria by 29 March 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 can work with you to assess the current state of your assets and provide guidance regarding your concerns.
To avoid this issue, certifiers and building professionals can uphold their organisation’s credibility and ability to renew their registration by maintaining a consistently low-risk profile.
Hendry agrees with 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 that ensure the safety and compliance of materials entering the supply chain through a more thorough identification process. Additionally, we ensure a consistent framework for accountability and a consistent standard for rectification where non-compliant products are in use.
Choosing the right compliance expert for you
Where cladding or other fire risks are concerned, we recommend that you engage with a company with dedicated Fire Engineers and professionals. Qualified professionals can provide up-to-date knowledge of fire risk management compliance and regulations.
Greg Payne, Hendry’s National Manager for Project Delivery, has recently joined the United Nations-backed International Fire Safety Standards committee. The committee is an international coalition of experts in safety standards. He will contribute to key discussions around non-compliant or unsafe building materials. Theses discussions establish a consistent approach to identifying and risk mitigation internationally.
Hendry’s experts are also involved in industry and regulatory standards committees. As part of the committees, we discuss producing a consistent nationwide approach to unsafe building products and regulations or guidelines. In addition, 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.
Suppose you have any concerns regarding non-compliant building materials or cladding. In that case, Hendry can assist in understanding your particular requirements and developing a robust approach. We can also assist in preparing documents and inspection of your asset portfolio related to cladding and occupant safety to establish a clear position.