- What is combustible cladding and why is it of concern?
- What happens if a determination to issue the Enforcement Order/Notice is made on my building?
- What works are required?
- Who is responsible for the works / what will my Owners Corporation need to do?
- What should I do if enforcement is issued on my building?
- Why were buildings allowed to be built with combustible cladding and will there be any compensation?
- What is Council’s role?
- More information
Combustible cladding is material that is usually comprised of expanded polystyrene, (EPS) or aluminium composite panel, (ACP) and has been used on the external facing of buildings in Australia since the 1990’s. New rules however were put in place by the Victorian Government in March 2018 to prohibit the use of certain types of cladding for new developments.
Combustible cladding has caused the rapid spread of fires in buildings in Victoria, such as the Lacrosse building fire in Southbank in 2014. It has also contributed to overseas building fires with tragic outcomes.
The decision to issue enforcement will be made by Council’s Municipal Building Surveyor after examining the results of the Victorian Cladding Audit and in consultation with a panel which includes representatives from the Victorian Building Authority, Metropolitan Fire Brigade and Fire Engineers.
The Municipal Building Surveyor is legally charged with ensuring that buildings in Bayside comply with the Victorian Building Code. The Notice or Order will be served on the Owners Corporation; as your representative.
The full details of the specific work required for your building are detailed on the Enforcement Order/Notice and it may involve removal of part of the combustible cladding from part of your building as well as other possible works. The Enforcement will also specify the time frame in which the works must occur.
The owners, through the Owners Corporation, will be responsible for ensuring that any works required are completed to bring your building up to code. Your Owners Corporation will be the recipient of the Enforcement Order / Notice and will have been contacted by the Victorian Building Authority prior to the audit.
Owners will have to ensure that works are undertaken as necessary to make the building safe. As part of this process, owners may need to engage and seek advice from a qualified Building Surveyor and other relevant specialists including registered Fire Engineer/s, Architects/designers, engineers and builders.
These services are not provided by Council and will need to be engaged privately by the Owners Corporation. Details for qualified Private Building Surveyors are available at www.aibs.com.au under Building Surveying / Find a Building Surveyor or the yellow pages.
The Owners Corporation will need to meet the costs of the advice and any works. There may be an opportunity for the Owners Corporation to recoup costs from a third party. Owners Corporations will need to seek independent legal advice in relation to these matters.
- Contact your Owners Corporation to determine their plan to address the requirements in the Enforcement Order.
- Immediately take steps to minimise the risk of fires, including:
- Ensure smoke alarms are in working order
- Keep fire exits and doors clear at all times
- Make a fire escape plan and ensure you are familiar with the plan and your fire exits
- Keep clothing and such materials at least 1 metre clear of air conditioning units
- Keep BBQs and other ignition sources at least 50cm away from walls and anything that could burn
- If you are a smoker, always use a heavy, non-flammable high-sided ashtray
- You may need to notify your insurer about these circumstances
Why were buildings allowed to be built with combustible cladding and will there be any compensation?
The Government Taskforce examined why buildings have been constructed with combustible cladding and identified concerns with many aspects of the building process including the certification of cladding materials, the regulatory oversight by the Victorian Building Authority, the role of Private Building Surveyors, builders and architects, and designers.
There is currently no compensation in place by Government. Owners and owners corporations should seek legal advice to determine whether there are any avenues for compensation in their specific circumstances.
Whilst Council has not been involved in the processes that have led to the installation of combustible cladding, Council’s Municipal Building Surveyor does have a role under the Building Act is to ensure that buildings in Bayside comply with the Victorian Building Code and are safe to occupy. This means that where urgent works are required as part of the audit and assessment process, Council is requested to issue Enforcement Orders and /or Notices.
The Victorian Building Authority has important resources that:
- explain the current audit
- provide guidance to residents and owners corporations on their responsibilities
- actions you can take to reduce fire risks in your home.
This information is available at www.vba.vic.gov.au/cladding.
Council’s Building Services team are available on 9599 4660 during business hours, however, owners are advised that a Private Building Surveyor will be better placed to provide specific information about the works required for their property. Details for qualified Private Building Surveyors are available at www.aibs.com.au under Building Surveying / Find a Building Surveyor or the yellow pages.