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I am … a tenant in a residential building

As a tenant of an apartment building in Victoria, you may have heard about the Victorian Government’s $600 million program which aims to make Victorians safer.

The program aims to make Victorians safer by reducing the risk associated with combustible cladding on residential apartment buildings.

What is cladding and why is it dangerous?

Cladding is the outside skin of a building. It is used to provide thermal insulation and weather resistance, and to improve the appearance of buildings.

While there are numerous types and brands of cladding available, there are some types of cladding that is combustible and dangerous if a fire was to break out, posing a risk for building occupants, as well as the community more broadly.

I’m concerned the building I’m living in has combustible cladding – what can I do?

If you’re a tenant in a building in Victoria and you’re concerned that your building might have combustible cladding, or you want to know whether your building is included in Cladding Safety Victoria’s program, please contact a member of your owners corporation or owners corporation manager. Your owners corporation will be contacted by Cladding Safety Victoria if your building was identified in the Statewide Cladding Audit and if it is eligible for the program.

If your building has been found to contain combustible cladding, and it is within Cladding Safety Victoria’s program, it is the responsibility of your owners corporation to let you know.

What steps can I take to reduce the risk of fire in my apartment?

It is good practice to be fire safe at all times, regardless of whether a building has been identified as having combustible cladding or not. There are a number of steps you can take to reduce the risk of fire to you, your family and your dwelling:

  • remove rubbish, clutter and flammable items from any balconies, including plant litter
  • keep your balcony furniture away from exterior walls
  • keep items 1 metre from air-conditioning units, including clothing that is on the balcony to dry
  • ensure smoke alarms are not covered or disconnected and are tested each month. If smoke alarms have 9-volt batteries, it is critical they are replaced every year. Consider changing your smoke alarms to ones with a 10-year lithium battery
  • do not use barbecues on balconies
  • do not smoke on balconies
  • do not store gas bottles on balconies
  • always keep fire doors clear, closed and unlocked at all times
  • know the building fire evacuation plan and be familiar with escape routes and escape procedures
  • keep a dry powder fire extinguisher easily accessible in your home at all times. Use only in case of a small fire and if you feel physically and mentally able
  • call 000 (triple zero) in an emergency

You can also download a poster containing these practical fire safety tips:

Learn more practical fire safety tips to reduce the risk of fire.

Whose responsibility is it to maintain fire exits and other safety measures in my building?

Fire detection and alarm systems, fire doors, emergency lighting and fire hydrants – the safety features required in a building to protect occupants in the event of a fire are known as Essential Safety Measures (ESMs).

Your owners corporation has a legal responsibility for the maintenance of your building’s ESMs. If a fire occurs, well maintained ESMs can provide residents with more time to exit the building and lessen the chance of fire spreading. ESMs require ongoing care and maintenance which is also the responsibility of your owners corporation. If you have concerns about your building’s ESMs, please contact your owners corporation.

How can I contact Cladding Safety Victoria for more information?

We’ve provided information on our website about the program, eligibility, funding and the steps to rectification, so we hope this should answer most questions. We also encourage tenants to speak to their owners corporation in the first instance should you have any additional questions about your building.

Get in touch with Cladding Safety Victoria:

Reviewed 19 January 2021

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