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Cladding rectification funding guidelines

Cladding Safety Victoria may provide funding for the rectification of external wall combustible cladding of some higher risk residential apartment buildings.

Funding for eligible buildings may be provided to owners corporations to design and implement cladding rectification solutions which comply with the relevant Victorian building regulations and meet the Victorian Building Authority’s Cladding Guidelines for Building Surveyors.

  • Guidelines: Cladding rectification works approved for funding by Cladding Safety Victoria

    These Guidelines have been prepared for those managing cladding rectification projects approved to proceed by Cladding Safety Victoria before 1 March 2021. This includes:

    • Relevant Building Surveyors (RBS)
    • Municipal Building Surveyors (MBS)
    • project managers and building practitioners
    • Owners Corporations (OC) and Owners Corporation Managers (OCM)
    • building design team (architect, Fire Safety Engineer, other engineers)

    Who is this information for?

    This note has been prepared by Cladding Safety Victoria (CSV) in consultation with the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) on regulatory requirements. The process outlined in these guidelines allows for CSV-funded works, approved before 1 March 2021, to proceed, including situations where additional fire rating compliance issues have been discovered following the removal of external wall cladding.

    Cladding rectification projects approved for funding by CSV after 1 March 2021 will undergo a revised due diligence process to confirm additional fire safety compliance issues earlier in the building inspection process. Separate Guidelines will be issued to explain the detailed due diligence process for these projects under the final process. 

    What is the scope of CSV funding?

    The scope of works funded by CSV, where all combustible cladding is being removed and replaced, will include replacing the cladding, and where necessary, sarking and insulation, and providing external fire rated linings where a Fire Resistance Level (FRL) is required to the outside of the external wall system.

    Funding will exclude any internal works to the external wall system or rectification of spandrels where no cladding removal and fire resistance levels are required. This means that funding will not include constructing new spandrels.

    Where problems with spandrels exist, CSV may fund those lower cost items required to improve fire resistance levels and which are considered by the RBS as best done while the cladding is removed. This will be at the direction of the MBS or RBS to limit the risk of fire spread and may also include items such as cavity barriers.

    Works funded by CSV will not include addressing internal fire resistance deficiencies such as internal linings or passive fire upgrades – this is the responsibility of OC’s to address during funded or subsequent phases of work.

    NOTE: This does not mean that other fire safety compliance issues identified following the removal of cladding can be disregarded. Where an RBS identifies fire safety non-compliance that is out of scope for a CSV-funded project, they should promptly advise the relevant MBS who can assess and consider the issue of a building notice for the additional fire safety compliance requirements.

    What are my responsibilities?

    Relevant Building Surveyors

    As the RBS you will consider and approve, as appropriate, documentation for cladding rectification works and undertake inspections to review critical construction components forming part of the external wall as considered by the building permit. This may include items that are required to improve fire resistance levels and are best done while the cladding is removed.

    CSV will provide relevant building due diligence material to the MBS, RBS and OCs, to assist in determining if any works outside the funding scope are needed by the OC and assist the OC in engaging with relevant design consultants to address any notices issued by the MBS.

    Where fire safety compliance issues are identified outside the scope of CSV funding the RBS will notify the MBS and CSV.

    Key Sequencing of Rectification Works

    CSV operates on a cladding risk reduction basis and the scope of items that CSV will fund is to be prioritised and undertaken whilst the external cladding is removed. Where additional or varied works are required, the RBS should consider the need for a variation to the building permit. Under the initial process, the potential building non-compliances associated with the external wall system that have been identified can be sequenced after the CSV funded works on a subsequent building permit. The preference would be to continue the appointment of the RBS for subsequent works at the owner’s discretion, without the agency of CSV. As these broader building defects may also present risks to building occupants and fire and rescue personnel, the enforcement of these standards remains with the MBS.

    The RBS should ensure the appropriate communication to the MBS, the VBA and CSV when potential compliance issues are identified outside the relevant building surveyor’s functions with respect to cladding rectification.

    If you are uncertain if these Guidelines apply to a particular building, you can contact CSV or the VBA via the contact details at the end of this advice.

    Municipal Building Surveyors

    As the MBS you should undertake a review of the level of safety and consider serving appropriate enforcement action on the existing building as necessary. The suggested process is outlined in the acquittal guidelines issued by the Victorian Building Authority (VBA). Enforcement action is generally addressed via a notice to the owners for action, however further liaison with CSV, RBS, the Project Manager and/or builder may be necessary to ascertain rectification works at a technical level. The MBS may be requested to provide a review and in-principle agreement (as opposed to a full design review and approval) with a proposed design solution or building permit and its likelihood of satisfying the building notice.

    The MBS may need to revisit site once the cladding is removed and any other fire safety compliance issues outside the remit of the RBS under the initial process are identified. This will follow the notification of a potential non-compliance by the RBS or other party. This may lead to the MBS amending the current enforcement or issuing new enforcement action.

    If you are uncertain if these Guidelines apply to a particular building, you can contact CSV or the VBA via the contact details at the end of this advice. 

    Project Managers and building practitioners

    As the RBS collects evidence about the form of construction and materials used in relation to a building’s cladding, other potential non-compliances associated with the external walls may be identified that present risks to building occupants.

    The project manager and building design team should consider any subsequent sequencing of works that may impact the completion of the CSV funded works. Any concerns regarding sequencing of work should be referred to the RBS and Owners for consideration prior to completing works where the works may impact on the ability to carry out the subsequent works without undoing the CSV funded work.

    As these broader building defects may also present risks to building occupants and fire and rescue personnel, the enforcement of these standards remains with the MBS.

    CSV will only fund the elements that would have required rectification should the remainder of the wall system have been compliant.

    CSV applies an ‘agent of change’ principle and funds any ancillary, protective or remediation works associated with the cladding rectification work, such as reinstating existing waterproofing membranes where the removal of cladding causes damage.

    If you are uncertain if these Guidelines apply to a particular building, you can contact CSV or the VBA via the contact details at the end of this advice.

    Owners Corporations and Owners Corporation Managers

    It is important for Owners Corporations to understand that CSV has only been given the responsibility to fund certain parts of a wall for cladding rectification works.

    Where CSV has approved funding for the removal of all combustible cladding, funding will not extend to addressing internal fire resistance deficiencies such as internal linings or other internal building fire safety compliance issues, meaning this work may fall to you, as the owners, to address in a subsequent phase of work.

    CSV will continue to communicate with owners throughout the rectification process to clarify what works may be excluded from funding, the regulatory process and how you may progress fire safety considerations in your building that the owners corporation are responsible for.

    If you are uncertain if these Guidelines apply to a particular building, you can contact CSV or the VBA via the contact details at the end of this advice.

    What are external wall systems?

    Cladding products form part of a building’s external wall system and contribute to the achievement of the safety, health and amenity objective as expressed in the National Construction Code. The external wall system of a building includes the façade covering, cladding, framing, insulation, sarking, spandrels and internal linings. External wall systems contribute to the structural integrity of the building (including during a fire) and impact the way in which a fire may spread throughout a building, including the speed of spread and intensity of the fire. The external wall system also contributes to weatherproofing and thermal performance.

    Download a copy of the Guidelines with example scenarios

    Want to know more?

    Get in touch with Cladding Safety Victoria

    Get in touch with the Victorian Building Authority - Statewide Cladding Audit

  • Cladding Safety Victoria will contact eligible owners corporations to invite participation in the program. To be eligible for funding an owners corporation must be responsible for a residential building that has been:

    • assessed as having combustible cladding through the State-wide Cladding Audit, and deemed to be of higher risk
    • subject to a Building Notice or Order related to combustible external wall cladding
    • referred to Cladding Safety Victoria by either the VBA or the City of Melbourne
    • prioritised for rectification by Cladding Safety Victoria
  • The terms and conditions for funding will be set out in a funding agreement. Examples include:

    • engaging practitioners that are on a pre-approved government register
    • meeting agreed project milestones
    • providing regular progress reports

  • Cladding Safety Victoria will not fund building work unless it is directly related to cladding rectification to address fire safety risks. This includes where buildings are:

    • required to undertake additional non-cladding related defect work
    • has opted to fully remove the cladding where an alternative design solution has been recommended and approved

    In these circumstances, Cladding Safety Victoria will determine the amount of funding to be provided for the cladding rectification works, and these works must be invoiced and accounted for separately.

  • Cladding Safety Victoria will undertake an assessment of the proposed costs of work. This may include cost benchmarking against other similar projects or through quantity surveying.

    In assessing if the costs charged are reasonable, Cladding Safety Victoria will also be interested in:

    • the complexity of the design and construction of the rectification solution
    • the time and skill involved in the design and construction process
    • any scale of costs that might be applicable to the process
    • reasonable costs incurred in obtaining quotes for approved rectification work (full removal or BAB approved solution only), that is, the cost of quoted work for both full and BAB approved solutions
  • Owners corporations remain responsible for rectification of non-compliant combustible cladding. This includes complying with building notices and orders issued under the Building Act 1993.

    Some owners corporations may commence cladding related rectification works prior to being notified of eligibility for the Cladding Rectification Program. In these cases, owners corporations can still participate in the program, providing they demonstrate that:

    • rectification works related to cladding (including the process of procuring works) did not commence prior to the establishment of the Victorian Cladding Taskforce on 3 July 2017
    • the rectification works meet the same requirements and standards of the Program

    Importantly, Cladding Safety Victoria is progressing its program of work in a prioritised way, based on the risk profile of each building.

    Cladding Safety Victoria will enter into funding agreements with an owners corporation to ensure that it is reimbursed for incurred and proposed costs required to complete the design phase of the rectification process. An agreed schedule for works and reimbursement milestones will be developed with each owners corporation wishing to proactively rectify their buildings on a case by case basis.

    However, any retrospective funding to reimburse the construction phase will be released only to an owners corporation at the same time in the program that their building would have been designated for funding through Cladding Safety Victoria’s usual program. In addition, any retrospective funding will be subject to funding availability at that time.

    Cladding Safety Victoria can provide further advice to owners corporations in relation to their potential eligibility for retrospective funding, including providing non-financial support and guidance to ensure owners corporations are not proceeding in a way that would disqualify them from eligibility for retrospective funding.

Reviewed 03 March 2021

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