The Victorian Government will take action to prevent the use of combustible cladding on Victorian buildings as part of the most significant overhaul of the building sector in decades.
The Government has released the Victorian Cladding Taskforce Chairs’ interim report, which outlines the extent of combustible cladding on buildings and makes significant recommendations to address the issue.
The Taskforce has identified up to 1,400 buildings as most likely having Aluminium Composite Panels (ACP) with a polyethylene (PE) core or Expanded Polystyrene (EPS).
No building has required an evacuation order by Victorian regulators, provided certain safety measures are met while rectification works are carried out, such as alarms, sprinklers or evacuation procedures.
In response to the Taskforce’s findings, the Government has directed the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) to inspect more worksites and buildings, including a statewide audit of residential buildings likely to have combustible cladding.
Victorian Cladding Taskforce Co-Chair Ted Baillieu said everyone from builders to suppliers and the regulator need to lift their game.
“We want to see maximum levels of compliance and more of an effort from the industry to accept responsibility and ensure everyone is safe.”
Victorian Cladding Taskforce Co-Chair John Thwaites said there has been a culture of non-compliance throughout the building sector.
“That has meant combustible cladding has become a widespread material used on multi-storey buildings. This culture has to change.
The VBA is providing $5 million to get the audit done and any buildings found to be non-compliant will have to be rectified. To take action on cladding the Government will also:
- Appoint a State Building Inspector – a leading expert to provide the very best technical knowledge
- Restrict the use of ACPs with a PE core and the use of expanded polystyrene (EPS) in Victoria on buildings above two storeys
- Require the VBA to inspect more of Victoria’s buildings each year – from less than two per cent to up to 10 per cent, putting building practitioners on notice
- 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. A Department of Health and Human Services audit has already looked at 1,100 buildings and has identified eight hospitals where non-compliant cladding must be replaced.
Works to rectify the Royal Women’s Hospital are under way, while the remainder of sites will be brought into compliance within 36 months. A further 12 hospital buildings remain under assessment.