In response to recent fires (in Australia and overseas) linked to combustible cladding materials, new laws will require Queensland building owners to complete a mandatory ‘combustible cladding checklist’.
Commencing on 1 October 2018, the Building and Other Legislation (Cladding) Amendment Regulation 2018 requires building owners to provide the online checklist to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) by 29 March 2019.
Many privately-owned buildings (where at least 50% of the building is owned by a private entity) are affected, including residential apartment buildings, offices, shops, warehouses, manufacturing facilities, education facilities and other commercial buildings.
More specifically, the buildings affected are those approved after 1 January 1994 that are Class 2 to 9 buildings of either Type A or B construction. A list of the classifications under the Building Code of Australia can be found here.
Class 1 buildings (which include houses and other low-rise residential uses) and class 10 buildings (including garages, swimming pools and sheds) are excluded from the new requirements.
The new Non-Confirming Building Products Audit Taskforce estimates that up to 12,000 privately owned buildings in Queensland may be subject to the new laws, with 10% of those likely to require detailed assessment.
If the online checklist identifies a risk of combustible cladding, owners will be required to complete a further checklist and obtain evidence from building and fire safety experts. Further, if a building is found to be at risk, there will be a likely flow-on disclosure effect to owners, tenants and potential purchasers. Building insurers may also take an interest in the assessments.
Failing to comply with each of the new obligations is an offence carrying significant penalties (potentially tens of thousands of dollars) and could also result in:
- increased liability for owners and other responsible persons (such as company directors) in the event of damage to people and property caused by combustible cladding
- difficulty selling properties that have not been properly assessed
- insurance coverage implications and premium increases
- breaches of work place health and safety requirements, which can carry strict liability for company directors and managers.
Please contact Neil Hawthorne, Marcus Ford, Kim Teague, Laura Gahan or Leanne O’Neill for further advice about the new requirements.