Combustible Cladding—500 buildings identified and growing28 March 2019
On 1 March 2019, the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal handed down its first decision regarding non-compliant combustible cladding in the matter of Owners Corporation No. 1 of PS613436T v LU Simon Builders Pty Ltd (Building and Property)  VCAT 286 (Lacrosse). To read our article about the Lacrosse decision, please click here.
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) is currently conducting a State Wide Cladding Audit. In the Audit, the VBA is primarily focussing on buildings with combustible cladding, such as expanded polystyrene or aluminium composite panels with polyethylene core. The VBA is auditing buildings constructed after March 1997 and the scope of the Audit includes:
- Class 2 buildings, which includes apartments with three storeys or more
- Class 3 buildings, which includes hotels, motels and student accommodation with three storeys or more, and
- Class 9 buildings, which includes hospitals, schools and aged care facilities with two storeys or more.
To date, the VBA has identified there are in excess of 500 privately-owned buildings with cladding in Victoria. The majority of the buildings were found in municipalities such as Moreland, Melbourne City, Port Phillip, Monash, Stonnington, Glen Eira and Dandenong.
Prior to inspecting buildings, the VBA is writing to residents, building managers, building owners and owners corporations.
The VBA is starkly warning all people who are buying an apartment in Victoria to check for combustible cladding. The VBA is telling prospective purchasers to review section 32 notices, ask about emergency orders or building notices being issued, ask when the building was constructed, ask what type of panels were used on the building and is also advising prospective purchasers to engage building surveyors.
Since the Lacrosse decision, there have been two new disputes in the Victorian Courts concerning combustible cladding. Given the Audit findings to date and these two new disputes, we anticipate that claims in this space will continue to be on the rise.
For further information on the Audit, please see www.vba.vic.gov.au/cladding.