Victorian Statewide Cladding Audit
The VBA is leading the Victorian Statewide Cladding Audit on behalf of the Victorian Government. The project’s focus is on reducing the fire safety risk of buildings found to have combustible cladding – such as expanded polystyrene or aluminium composite panels with a polyethylene core.
If the apartment building where you live is inspected as part of the project, you will receive a letter from the VBA. Building managers, building owners or owners’ corporations will also be contacted by the VBA prior to an inspection taking place.
Fire safety actions you can implement straight away are available below, and translated into 10 languages.
(العربية) – Arabic
(中文简体 （国语）) – Chinese Simplified (Mandarin)
(中文繁體（粵語）) – Chinese Traditional (Cantonese)
English – English
(Filipino/Tagalog) – Filipino/Tagalog
(Ελληνικά) – Greek
(हिन्दी) – Hindi
(Italiano) – Italian
(فارسی) – Persian
(ਪੰਜਾਬੀ) – Punjabi
(Tiếng Việt) – Vietnamese
Victorian Statewide Cladding Audit – At a glance
Buildings constructed after March 1997 that fall into the following classes under the National Construction Code are in scope for this review.
Class 2 buildings
Buildings in this class include apartments. Only buildings of three or more storeys will be audited.
Class 3 buildings
Buildings in this class include hotels, motels and student accommodation. Only buildings of three or more storeys will be audited.
Class 9 buildings
Buildings in this class include hospitals, schools and aged care facilities. Only buildings of two or more storeys will be audited.
Who should I speak to about a fire safety concern?
These authorities should be contacted in the following order when reporting a fire safety issue (excluding a fire emergency):
- Owners’ corporation or rental manager
- Your local council
- Fire services.
Actions you can take now to reduce the risk of fire
There are a number of easy steps you can take today to reduce the risk of fire.
- Make sure you have smoke alarms that are in working order.
- Keep fire doors clear at all times.
- Get familiar with your building’s evacuation plan.
- Keep barbecues at least 50cm away from walls. Do not use near combustible cladding.
- Keep clothing and materials at least 1 metre clear of air conditioning units.
- Always use a heavy, non-flammable, high-sided ashtray, if you are a smoker. Remember to fully extinguish cigarettes.
Download the printable version of this fact sheet.
Buying an apartment? Check for combustible cladding
Follow our recommended steps as part of your research.
- Review the Section 32 notice. It will include disclosures of any building notices or orders in place.
- Ask the owners’ corporation or building manager if any emergency orders or building notices have been issued, and if they have been complied with.
- Ask when the building was constructed, noting that most varieties of cladding used pre-2011 were comprised of a 100 per cent polymer core. This is the variety of cladding considered most dangerous.
- Ask the owners’ corporation or building manager if they know if aluminium composite panels or expanded polystyrene are used on the building.
- Contact your local council’s building department or Municipal Building Surveyor and ask if they are aware of any cladding-related issues with the building. You can also ask the VBA if the building has been audited.
- Ask the owners’ corporation if the insurer has made any enquiries about the building and what the result of those enquiries were.
- Engage a registered building surveyor to review the apartment, and the exterior cladding on the building, prior to purchasing. You can find registered building surveyors via our Find a Practitioner tool.
- Review previous owners’ corporation minutes from Annual General Meetings. You may wish to ask for minutes from multiple years to give you a better understanding of the building’s history.
- Visit vba.vic.gov.au/cladding and read the factsheets on aluminium composite panels and expanded polystyrene to better understand these products.
- Ask the owners’ corporation about the essential safety measures (fire hydrants, fire doors, smoke alarms, sprinklers) in the building and how well they are mainatined. Ask for evidence of their maintenance.