Building cladding safety inspections
Important information for Victorians seeking cladding cost claims
On 3 September 2020, the Victorian Government announced that people seeking compensation against builders who installed combustible cladding will now have 12 years to make their claim, rather than 10. See Premier Andrews’ media release for more information on the extension.
About the Statewide Cladding Safety Inspections
In the wake of the deadly Grenfell Tower fire, the Victorian Government appointed the Victorian Cladding Taskforce in July 2017, to undertake an investigation into suspected combustible cladding in other municipalities outside of the City of Melbourne.
This led to the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) being responsible for the Statewide Cladding Safety Audit.
In the City of Merri-bek 97% of Building Permits are issued by Private Building Surveyors who are registered and monitored by the VBA (not Council). The City of Merri-bek’s Municipal Building Surveyor, who has legislative responsibility to address building life safety issues, has been assisting the VBA in the Cladding Safety Audits carried out in Merri-bek.
The Minister for Planning has declared the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) as the Municipal Building Surveyor for most of the high risk buildings identified in Merri-bek. Council’s Municipal Building Surveyor (MBS) has responsibility for a small number of high risk buildings plus all of the moderate and low risk buildings. As of 2021 the current cladding program is expected to continue over the next two to three years where it is expected that the remaining buildings with combustible cladding will have works undertaken to address the safety of these buildings.
At the end of 2019, Cladding Safety Victoria was established. The $600 million program aims reduce the risk associated with combustible cladding on residential apartment buildings and publicly owned buildings. The funding given to Cladding Safety Victoria is helping them deal with the most extreme risk buildings across the State.
Cladding audit outcomes
The MBS has legislated powers to take action in the event that any building is found to be unsafe. Council has been working collaboratively with the VBA to audit buildings, in order to understand the level of risk and work towards solutions to improve the safety of these buildings. Both the VBA and Council’s MBS gave orders to the owners of buildings regarding the work to be done to reduce the risk of fire. The VBA and Council’s MBS continue to work with building owners to assist them to resolve cladding issues.
The VBA has responsibility for registered builders, building surveyors and plumbers in Victoria. This responsibility includes making sure they are meeting safety standards and legal requirements. If you have a complaint that someone has not met these requirements in their building or plumbing work, you should contact the VBA.
Advice for apartment purchasers
If you are thinking of buying an apartment, you should make sure you are aware of any issues with the building. Before you buy an apartment, the owner should give you a Section 32 statement, which is a statement that contains information about the property. You should read this carefully for any information about combustible cladding.
A Section 32 statement might include:
- a building notice asking the owners to explain why they should not replace combustible cladding.
- a building order telling the owners to carry out building work to replace combustible cladding.
- a letter from the VBA to the owners corporation manager with recommendations to reduce the safety risks of the building.
If you are buying an apartment, you should ask the owners corporation manager to give you an up-to-date owners corporation certificate so that you can make sure you have the most recent information.
You can also contact us or the VBA to find out when the building was last audited.
More cladding resources
- Victorian Building Authority - Victorian State wide Cladding Audit
- Victorian Cladding Task force
- Cladding Safety Victoria