Cladding Safety Victoria may provide funding for the rectification of external wall combustible cladding of some higher risk residential apartment buildings, as assessed by the Victorian State-wide Cladding Audit led by the Victorian Building Authority.
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.
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 Victorian Building Authority or the City of Melbourne
- prioritised for rectification by Cladding Safety Victoria
Cladding Safety Victoria will contact eligible owners corporations to invite participation in the program.
Before your building can be referred to Cladding Safety Victoria, it must first be assessed by the Victorian State-wide Cladding Audit.
The Victorian Building Authority is leading the State-wide Cladding Audit for Victoria, identifying buildings with combustible cladding that pose a risk to public safety.
As part of the audit, each building:
- undergoes an on-site inspection to determine whether combustible cladding is present
- is assessed by an expert panel to review risks based on the inspection findings
- will have recommendations made to the local council's Municipal Building Surveyor (MBS) about any required action
- may be required to undertake emergency works to reduce the immediate risk
If your building is found to be in a higher-risk category, it will be referred to Cladding Safety Victoria.
The Victorian Building Authority and local councils will continue to be responsible for determining that all affected buildings are safe to occupy. Where buildings are considered unsafe, the Victorian Building Authority or your local council will order emergency action.
Once referred, the program works as follows:
- Cladding Safety Victoria sends a team of experts to inspect your property and consider solutions and potential costs. This could involve full or partial removal of combustible cladding.
- An independent panel of experts provides feedback and advice on the findings of the inspection.
- You hire a project manager and other professionals from a list on a government register to design a solution. Where appropriate and funds allow, Cladding Safety Victoria will pay for these services.
- The owners corporation solution is checked by an independent advisory panel before being submitted for formal approvals.
- Once approved, the owners corporation hires builders through a tender process from those listed on the government register. Where appropriate and funds allow, Cladding Safety Victoria will pay for this construction.
- When complete, the work will be checked by building regulators and signed off for ongoing occupancy.
The role of a project manager
The Project Manager, engaged by the owners corporation, will be responsible for:
- updating Cladding Safety Victoria on progress against the agreed project plan and milestones
- helping the owners corporation to engage a fire safety engineer, architect or other professionals as necessary
- conducting a tender process to identify a suitable builder
- developing a schedule of works which includes access to individual residential apartments to undertake any necessary building work
The owners corporation will need to decide whether it prefers an outcome that is different to the proposed design. Otherwise it will be bound by the design that is ultimately approved by the Building Appeals Board and under any Building Order issued by the Victorian Building Authority.
The role of a community liaison officer
Cladding Safety Victoria’s community liaison officer will engage directly with owners and owners corporations to support them throughout the process.
Cladding Safety Victoria will prioritise in scope buildings according to risk, progressively bringing buildings into the program over time.
Phase 1 of the program is focused on a group of 15 buildings which were identified for initial rectification prior to the establishment of Cladding Safety Victoria. The buildings were chosen to provide a range of challenges which could give Cladding Safety Victoria the opportunity to test its processes prior to scaling up the program.
The next phase will prioritise buildings according to the audit-assessed risk, which is the most logical way to reduce the risk to life. The trigger for referring higher risk buildings to Cladding Safety Victoria is the Victorian Building Authority and City of Melbourne issuing a Building Notice or Order related to combustible cladding.
Cladding Safety Victoria will progressively inform owners corporations if they are eligible to participate in the funding program.
There are practical constraints on the number of buildings that can be rectified at any one time, which means that the project overall is expected to take at least five years to complete. These constraints include limited government funding, the availability of fire engineers and other necessary professionals, the requirement to go through approvals processes, including the Building Appeals Board, and the limited resources of Cladding Safety Victoria in assessing hundreds of individual projects.
Cladding Safety Victoria will continue to explore ways to make the process of cladding rectification more efficient.
Reviewed 20 August 2020