Combustible Cladding: What To Expect In 2019

Building with aluminum cladding

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 and industry 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. 4 major recommendations were also taken from the interim report.

1. Make Australian Standards freely available

Making all Australian Standards freely available.

Providing 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. 

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. 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 buildings and their 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 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.

If you have any concerns regarding non-compliant building materials or cladding, we can help. 

Inspect your asset portfolio

Contact our Asset Audit & Advisory Team today to discuss the state of your asset portfolio relative to cladding and occupant safety.

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