Cladding FAQ

Tell me more about local government’s role

Local government must appoint, employ or nominate a municipal building surveyor. The municipal building surveyor is often the first party to whom non-compliance with building legislation is reported by members of the community.
Local government has the power to:

  • administer and enforce building permits issued by the MBS
  • act in circumstances where building work without a building permit has been identified by council
  • take appropriate action where there is a known risk to health or risk of injury or death
  • receive copies of building permits, occupancy permits, notices and orders from private building surveyors and maintain a register of these matters
  • provide information as prescribed by the building regulations
  • apply for and execute search warrants
Tell me more about the VBA

The VBA monitors and enforces compliance with building legislation. The conduct of registered building practitioners is a primary focus. If a building surveyor does not meet certain standards, the VBA becomes involved.
The VBA has the power to:

  • bring proceedings for any offence against building legislation
  • apply for and execute search warrants
  • require the production of documents or the giving of information to determine compliance with the Act or Regulations
  • act as a municipal building surveyor in relation to any matter referred to the VBA bya private building surveyor
  • direct a municipal building surveyor or private building surveyor to carry out their functions.
Tell me more about building surveyors role

A building surveyor is professionally trained in understanding the building control process.
There are two types of building surveyor:

  • private building surveyors
  • municipal building surveyors.

They are responsible for assessing building plans with a view to ensuring they comply with building legislation and the National Construction Code.

A registered building surveyor is authorised to:

  • assess building permit applications for compliance with the Act, Building Interim Regulations 2017 and the National Construction Code
  • issue building and occupancy permits and certificates of final inspection
  • conduct building inspections at the mandatory notification stages
  • serve directions to fix non-compliant building work
  • serve building notices and orders under the Act.
What is the “Shared Responsibility” in regulating Victoria’s building industry?

Regulating Victoria’s building industry is a shared responsibility reliant on co-operation, information sharing and accountability.

  • Private building surveyors are primarily responsible for ensuring buildings are built in compliance with the building legislation, and they are safe, accessible and energy efficient. Once appointed, they are involved for the duration of the building project, issue the building permit if they are satisfied the design is compliant, carry out or organise mandatory inspections and are responsible for issuing occupancy permits or certificates of final inspection.
  • Local government has oversight of all building work and building stock within their municipality. They are responsible for addressing emergency situations. This oversight includes the use of statutory powers to ensure compliance with the Building Act 1993 (the Act).
  • The VBA has oversight of registered builders and building surveyors. It can also take disciplinary or prosecutorial action for breaches of the building legislation.
Why didn’t we know sooner?

The Owners Corporation had received compliance certificates from the builder and the developer indicating materials were to Australian Standards. Since the initial Occupancy Permit was issued there have been non-compliant building materials identified used with in the building industry. All buildings in Victoria are part of the process to be tested by the Cladding taskforce. The Owners Corporation are now following this process.

Is the building safe?

To date the Building has not had any fire issues. All owners/residents must continue to be vigilant with all fire safety measures.

When will it be fixed?

It is expected that the full remediation process where needed will take place over the coming years.

When will we know more?

We are waiting for the taskforce to engage with us and outline their timelines.

Whose fault is this?

The owners corporation is seeking legal counsel to advise us of any options for recompense, and will inform the owners of any outcomes as information is received.

How much will it cost to replace?

We are unable to obtain costs to replace remediate at this time, as we are waiting for the recommendations of the taskforce as to what parts are in need of replacement.

Why are expanded polystyrene and some types of aluminum composite panels an issue when used as cladding on multi-story buildings?

These products are combustible and increase the risk of a fire spreading, particularly on multi-story buildings. This presents a risk to the safety of building occupants.

Expanded polystyrene is combustible and may melt or ignite when exposed to temperatures above 100°C or an open flame.

What fire safety measures do Australians buildings have?

Common fire safety measures in buildings such as apartments, hotels and hospitals include:

  • fire sprinkler systems
  • emergency warning systems
  • emergency lighting
  • emergency exit signage
  • fire isolated exit stairs
  • fire extinguishers
  • multiple exits
  • fire and smoke alarms.

In the Annual General Meeting Notice it states the Owners Corporation conducts mandatory responsibility to maintain common property in accordance with the Victorian Building Regulations & OHS Act to adhere to annual AESM reports, safety and risk
management.

Where can I find information about emergency orders, building notices and building orders?

Read the VBA’s building notices and orders fact sheet. These may be issued on building owners as a result of the Victorian Statewide Cladding Audit.

Where can I find information on expanded polystyrene (EPS) or aluminum composite panels (ACP)

Read the VBA’s fact sheets on expanded polystyrene and aluminum composite panels

What happens after the inspection?

A panel of experts form an advisory reference panel and review information collected during the inspection. The panel of experts typically includes:

  • a fire safety engineer
  • a fire safety emergency expert from the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) or Country Fire Authority (CFA)
  • a building surveyor.

The experts will analyse the results and, if required, recommend steps to reduce the fire safety risk of your building. These steps will be communicated to your owners corporation and your council’s Municipal Building Surveyor. The VBA will request that your owners corporation or building owner keeps you informed of inspection results.

This may include recommending the Municipal Building Surveyor issues notices or orders to improve the fire safety of the building.
Residents will be advised of the outcome in the weeks after the advisory reference panel is held.
If urgent actions are required following an advisory reference panel, building managers and residents will be informed immediately.

What happens during the inspection?

A building inspector visits your building and meets your building owner or owners corporation. Your council’s Municipal Building Surveyor or a representative may also attend. The inspector assesses cladding from the street and inside common areas and records the results. The inspector may ask if they can enter your apartment to assess cladding. They will show you official identification and explain why they are requesting entry. If you agree, you will be asked to sign a form that allows the VBA inspector to enter.

What is the next step in the process (as of October 2019)?

VBA Inspection: Prior to the inspection taking place, owners corporations and landlords will also be informed. Where possible, the VBA aims to give as much notification as possible to owners corporations – at least 48 hours. Your owners corporation will be asked to actively inform residents about the inspections, and to provide fire safety tips for your home and balcony– circulated to all residents/owners/agents.

What areas are affected by the cladding?

The Owners Corporation are only in receipt of the following confirmation: