01.04.2018

Banning Combustible Cladding in Victoria

Victorian State Government to ban the most dangerous types of combustible cladding from being used on Victorian buildings

The Victorian State Government announced last month that it will ban the most dangerous types of combustible cladding from being used on Victorian buildings.

Victoria’s Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, released new ministerial guidelines to building surveyors – a key recommendation of the Victorian Cladding Taskforce – which focuses on buildings where people sleep or gather.

Aluminium Cladding Panels with a polyethylene core of more than 30 per cent will be banned on all multi-storey buildings. Expanded polystyrene will also be banned.

“We’re putting a stop to dangerous combustible cladding being used on Victorian buildings. This has been allowed to go on for too long and we’re ending it,” said the Minister.

The new ministerial guidelines spell out precisely what can’t be used on Victorian building sites for suppliers and practitioners in the building chain, signifying an end to the use of dangerous, flammable materials.

Mr Wynne has directed the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) to issue a product safety alert, and building practitioners who ignore this directive will face disciplinary action from the VBA.

Last year, the State Government established the Victorian Cladding Taskforce to investigate the extent of non-compliant cladding on Victorian buildings. The Taskforce, chaired by former Victorian Premier, Ted Baillieu, and former Deputy Premier John Thwaites, handed down its initial report in December.

The Taskforce originally identified 1,369 buildings as most likely having Aluminium Cladding Panels with a polyethylene core or Expanded Polystyrene, but already that figure is decreasing.

Of those buildings, it’s since been established that 579 have not begun construction, and a further 129 are half built.

The State Government has beefed up the powers and resources of the VBA, which has already assessed 87 buildings as part of a statewide audit.

If buildings are found to be non-compliant, the VBA and Municipal Building Surveyors are issuing emergency orders, ensuring additional measures are put in place to meet the highest standards of safety.

Building practitioners are now on notice, with the Government directing the VBA to inspect more of Victoria’s buildings each year, from less than two per cent annually to 10 per cent.