CEO Updates

June 2018 update from Sue Eddy

The Victorian Building Authority is contacting registered builders and property developers asking for a report on the type of cladding they intend to use on the exteriors of projects and multi-storey buildings under construction.

More than 800 individuals and companies have received notice from the VBA asking them to confirm what building materials have been specified for use on projects that haven’t started or are in progress, as part of the Victorian statewide cladding audit.

Read VBA drives further crackdown on combustible cladding to find out more.

May 2018 update from Sue Eddy

The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) understands the issue of combustible cladding has caused some uncertainty for people when purchasing apartments in Victoria.

To assist your research, the VBA has produced a new factsheet which lists ten steps you can take prior to purchasing an apartment.

Read: The ten steps you can take prior to purchasing an apartment in Victoria.

April 2018 update from Sue Eddy

Did you know flicked cigarette butts, unattended cooking and poor maintenance of appliances are some of the most common causes of fires in high-rise apartments?

Melbourne’s Metropolitan Fire Brigade has released figures revealing that firefighters attended 1420 preventable fires in residential high-rise buildings over the past 10 years.

61 of these occurred on balconies.

As the State-wide Cladding Audit of priority buildings has reached the halfway mark, it is important for apartment residents to follow best practice fire safety tips.

I encourage you to watch and share the MFB’s videos on high-rise fire safety – they include simple tips, such as knowing where your plan is, where your exits are and how to reduce your risks.

For more information, visit MFB’s high-rise safety page.

March 2018 update from Sue Eddy

Dear Victorian building practitioners,

Since joining the VBA in November 2017, a key focus of mine has been working to address the issue of combustible cladding here in Victoria.

By now, we all know that the use of combustible cladding is a serious issue facing the community. To address this, the VBA is undertaking a statewide audit of buildings to identify unsafe cladding in the interests of public safety.

In March, the Victorian Government issued new guidelines to building surveyors that restricts their issuing of building permits where Prescribed Combustible Products are proposed in Type A and B construction.

Prescribed Combustible Products include rendered expanded polystyrene (EPS) and aluminium composite panels (ACP) with polyethylene content in the core of 30 per cent or more by mass. To support this, the VBA has issued a building product safety alert.

It is vitally important that you read and follow this important information.

Building practitioners who choose to ignore this guideline will face disciplinary action from the VBA.

February 2018 update from Sue Eddy

The VBA has started contacting people who live in, or own apartments in, buildings that have been identified as requiring inspection as part of the statewide cladding audit.

If you are a resident of one of these buildings, you should receive a postcard from the VBA’s CEO, Sue Eddy. The postcard provides information about the audit and includes fire safety actions you can implement straight away.

The VBA is also writing to owners’ corporations and building owners.

Download a sample version of the postcard in English or your language below.

Sample postcards

(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

January 2018 update from Sue Eddy

The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) plays an important role in keeping the community safe in their built environment – these are, amongst other things, the places Victorians live, work and play.

In a practical sense, the VBA meets this challenge by registering and licensing those that work in the building industry and providing the right information to consumers and practitioners. Importantly, another key function of the VBA involves holding practitioners to account for their work and their professional conduct.

In recent times there have been issues raised regarding practitioners' use of combustible cladding. In part, this involves practitioners not understanding their responsibilities when designing, approving or constructing buildings, in particular; residential apartment blocks and places where the public gather en masse or seek significant medical treatment. As a regulator, it is the VBA's job to provide leadership to the industry on this matter, as well as help find solutions to these issues.

From 1 January 2018, the VBA will lead a state-wide audit of:

  • apartment complexes, motels and hotels (three storeys and above)
  • buildings where Victorians gather as a large group, such as sporting arenas; and
  • schools, private hospitals and aged-care facilities (two storeys and above).

Concurrently, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning will lead an audit of government buildings in Victoria.

The VBA is committed to undertaking this work as efficiently and effectively as possible. We want to provide Victorians with confidence that they are safe from the dangers presented by combustible cladding. Central to this is keeping residents and owners' corporations informed and educated – while providing fire safety tips they can implement straight away. We will use the best information available to target and identify buildings that may have used cladding inappropriately.

In a basic sense, our audit work will be approached in three stages:

  1. Identify the buildings
  2. Audit and assess their safety
  3. Rectify, where required.

We realise that this work will not be easy. Fixing this will require everyone in the building industry to work together. As noted by the Victorian Cladding Taskforce, there are cultural issues and complexities within the industry and the building codes that, in addition to the audit, also need to be addressed. There will, no doubt, be moments of hardship for all parties involved in this process. We will endeavour to reduce uncertainty throughout the audit by being transparent and open to feedback, while continuing to update the community and the building industry about our progress.

The VBA is committed to improving outcomes for all Victorians, whether that is consumers purchasing their most prized asset or practitioners contributing to the economic prosperity of the State. Let us be clear, however, in terms of this audit and other decisions undertaken by the VBA, our expectation is that the relevant laws are followed by all.

We look forward to working with you through this critical task of auditing cladding throughout Victoria and will deliver an outcome for which all Victorians can feel confident in their building and plumbing regulator.

Sue Eddy
Chief Executive Officer – Victorian Building Authority