Following the devastating fire at London’s Grenfell Tower in 2017, the Queensland Government had introduced new combustible cladding regulations in late 2018.
The new laws were part of the state government’s efforts to remove dangerously flammable cladding from residential apartment buildings and office blocks.
It essentially outlaws the use of combustible cladding materials.
The Safer Buildings program was established to help identify buildings in Queensland that may have potentially combustible cladding. Owners of these buildings are required to register their building and complete the combustible cladding checklist.
Parts 1 and 2 of the Safer Buildings audit, which required property owners and managers to register their buildings online, has already been completed,
Following these initial stages, many building owners in Queensland are continuing to go through Part 3 of the cladding compliance process as mandated by the Queensland Government.
If you are now completing Part 3, here are the answers to a few questions you may have.
Why are there two deadlines for Part 3?
Safer Buildings Part 3 has two steps with different deadlines. Part 3a must have been completed by 31 October 2019, while Part 3b must be completed by 3 May 2021.
What had to be done by 31 October 2019 (Part 3a)?
By the 31 October 2019 you had to engage fire engineer and register their details on the combustible cladding checklist (part 3).
This information can not be provided to the QBCC by any other means, and must be entered into the online system to meet your obligations.
What do I have to do by 3 May 2021 (Part 3b)?
By 3 May 2021, a fire engineer must have assessed your building and provided a Building Fire Safety Risk Assessment and a Form 35 Fire Engineer’s Statement, which is available under the Resources tab of the Safer Buildings website.
These documents will help you to answer Questions 7 to 10 on the combustible cladding checklist on the Safer Buildings website and complete Part 3.
Where do I find a fire engineer?
Building owners can undertake an online registration search with the Board of Professional Engineers of Qld (BPEQ) to find a fire engineer that is appropriately registered as a fire engineer or fire safety engineer as required by legislation.
What happens if my building is found to have combustible cladding after completing Part 3?
You must display a Form 42 Affected Private Building Notice which is available on the Safer Buildings website under the Resources tab.
For more information visit www.saferbuildings.qld.gov.au
How Long do we have to remove the cladding or upgrade the fire protection systems?
If the fire engineer has decided that full removal of cladding (or some sort of upgrade to the fire protection system) is required to make your building compliant under the Regulation and Building Code of Australia, it is likely that these measures will require significant costs and outlays.
Currently, there does not appear to be a deadline for how long you can continue to implement the interim fire mitigation measures and avoid cladding upgrade building works or fire protection system upgrades, however we can expect that insurers will implement specific parameters.
Expect changes to your insurance policy if you have combustible cladding and are implementing interim fire mitigation measures, so the key to your decision making is the cost of the insurance premium increased over time, versus the cost to undertake the required building works.
Building upgrades required due to combustible cladding concerns can be expensive and involve a great deal of financial distress and disruption to bodies corporate. The temptation to put these works off for various reasons will no doubt be there, however the primary repercussion of avoiding replacement of your combustible cladding and relying on interim fire mitigation measures is likely to be a spike in your insurance premium, additional excess charges and potentially further requirements imposed by your insurer. Eventually the building may find itself uninsurable.
When projecting cost for cladding or fire protection systems, don’t forget to include these associated costs.
- Q-Leave Levy (for works over $150,000)
- Private certification (these works will be considered assessable under the Building Codes and will require certification)
- Engineering (design and certification)
- Project Management
- Colour Consultant
- Town Planning Consultant- if you are changing the colour of your cladding you may also need to get an amendment to the development approval.
If you have any question relating to QLD’s Combustible Cladding Audit you can also contact one of our friendly managers who will be happy to have a chat.