Auditing combustible cladding in Victoria
In 2017, the Victorian Government established the Victorian Cladding Taskforce to assess the extent of non-compliant external cladding on Victorian buildings.
The Taskforce identified three reasons that led to this type of cladding being installed: the supply and marketing of inappropriate building materials, a sub-standard culture of compliance within the building industry and the failure of the regulatory system to manage these issues. In response to the Taskforce’s interim report, the Victorian Government set up the Statewide Cladding Audit.
Audit work commenced across Victoria in December 2017. As well as investigating combustible cladding, audits included assessment and review of general fire safety and essential safety measures.
This process of audit, assessment and rectification of non-compliant combustible cladding in Victoria is a shared responsibility between the Victorian Building Authority, councils, building owners and Cladding Safety Victoria.
Victorian Building Authority
Since December 2017, as Victoria’s building regulator, the Victorian Building Authority has been leading the response to cladding rectification on behalf of the Victorian Government. This includes leading the Statewide Cladding Audit, with the scope of work including privately owned, residential, multi-unit buildings of three or more storeys and public-use buildings of two or more storeys.
Through a series of ministerial declarations, the VBA has also been performing the functions of a Municipal Building Surveyor for 332 of the highest-risk buildings identified in Victoria thus far.
The Victorian Government, through the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, is leading an audit of government buildings in Victoria.
The Municipal Building Surveyors are responsible for issuing enforcement instruments such as Building Notices and Orders for longer term management of combustible cladding issues. As a result of their enforcement powers, councils have worked alongside the VBA throughout the audit, acting on buildings assessed as having combustible cladding and assisting with the identification, inspection and acquittal of these buildings within their municipalities.
Building owners and owners corporations
Current property owners and representatives of owners corporations are key facilitators of the rectification of combustible cladding. As well as helping secure site access and making site inspections possible, owners and owners corporation representatives provide documentation, for example original building plans, to help facilitate the process.
In most cases, owners are responsible for the costs associated with rectifying their building. See more about funding.
Whether or not you live in an apartment that is in scope for cladding rectification, it is always good practice to be aware of fire safety and take steps to minimise risk. Learn more about fire safety here.
Cladding Safety Victoria
Cladding Safety Victoria was established to provide support and funding to some building owners and owners corporations, helping them to rectify approved private residential buildings. This includes providing funding for cladding removal and project management, technical guidance to owners corporations and access to professional experts.
While the VBA works closely with Cladding Safety Victoria, they are a separate entity, and owners are required to contact Cladding Safety Victoria directly.
Building Appeals Board
If an owner or owners corporation disagrees with a decision made by the VBA, they may apply for review to the Building Appeals Board within 30 days from the date we tell you about the decision. If you choose to apply for a review, please note the following:
- If proposing to retain some of the combustible cladding, you should engage a professional Fire Safety Engineer to prepare a fire engineering report. This report should provide analysis and performance solutions to support your proposal.
- You may also seek advice from a building surveyor or legal professional.
- If a Fire Safety Engineer or other consultant is engaged to consider the identified issues, instruct the consultant to carry out a physical inspection of the building and all essential safety measures, helping to form a holistic understanding of the building.
- It is important that consultants provide evidence to support any proposal made in response to the relevant notice and/or order.
Please note, the VBA may be an interested party to proceedings that seek a determination from the Building Appeals Board. As a result, the Building Appeals Board will likely seek the VBA’s comments on technical and legal matters, or the VBA may seek to make a submission with regard to a specific case.
For more information on applications to modify or vary compliance with a notice or order, please visit Building Appeals Board website.