Clifford Gouldson Lawyers

Does your building require a cladding audit?

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The Queensland Government is seeking to determine the extent of the use of potentially combustible cladding on existing private buildings in Queensland. 
From 1 October 2018 owners of certain privately owned buildings will be required to take steps to determine whether or not potentially combustible cladding forms part of the building.

These requirements are set out in the Building and Other Legislation (Cladding) Amendment Regulation 2018 (the Regulation), which also imposes obligations on sellers and purchasers of buildings caught by the scope of the Regulation.  Fines may be imposed on owners who fail to comply with the Regulation.

The Regulation applies to certain classes of buildings where a building development approval was given to build the building, or alter the cladding on the building, between 1 January 1994 and 1 October 2018. 

The classes of buildings covered by the Regulation are specified below* and include apartments, accommodation facilities, commercial premises including offices, shops, cafés and showrooms, laboratories and factories, healthcare facilities, workshops, aged care and education facilities.
If you are unsure when a building development approval may have been given for a  building you can undertake a building records search via your local council.

The Regulation requires an owner to complete a three stage audit process, managed by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) to identify whether their building is affected by combustible cladding.

Stage 1 
Owners must register via the online system and provide the QBCC with a completed Combustible Cladding Checklist (Part 1) by 29 March 2019.  

Stage 2
If the online system indicates that the building may be an ‘affected private building’ (that is the building may have combustible cladding) then the owner must engage a building industry professional to answer technical questions about the building.  The owner will have to provide the QBCC with a Building Industry Professional Statement prepared by that person together with the completed Combustible Cladding Checklist (Part 2) via the online system. Owners have until 29 May 2019 to complete this stage. 

Stage 2 can be bypassed if an owner already suspects or knows that their building is an affected private building and they give notification of that to the QBCC.  These owners can progress directly to stage 3.

Stage 3
Stage 3 of the process requires an owner to engage a fire engineer to prepare a Building Fire Safety Risk Assessment and a Fire Engineer Statement. 

The owner must notify the QBCC that it has engaged a fire engineer by 27 August 2019.

The owner must submit the Building Fire Safety Risk Assessment and the Fire Engineer Statement to QBCC, together with a completed Combustible Cladding Checklist (Part 3) by 3 May 2021.

Actions Required After Stage 3
If the Building Fire Safety Risk Assessment states that the building is an affected building the owner will be required to conspicuously display a prescribed notice in the building and, if the building comprises 2 or more lots, give a copy of the Risk Assessment to any lot owner or tenant in the building.

The owner must keep records of documents prepared throughout the staged process, generally for 7 years.

Purchasing or Selling a Building?
The Regulation imposes additional duties on the current owner to give notice, in the approved form, about the extent to which they have complied with the Regulation and a copy of every document they have given or received in accordance with it.  As the seller they also need to give a copy of that notice to the QBCC.  It is very important that buyers or sellers of buildings are aware of these obligations

The new owner will become responsible for complying with the Regulations, including completion of the stages (to the extent they were not already completed by the seller), record keeping responsibilities and displaying signs if required.

Are you an industry professional?
The Regulation also imposes obligations on building industry professionals and fire engineers engaged to carry out work in accordance with the Regulation. 

If an owner engages a person to act on their behalf to comply with the Regulation that person must give a copy of a proof of agency document to the QBCC (via the online system) before they do any act on the owners behalf.
If you require assistance complying the Regulation please contact a member of our Construction Team.  If you are buying or selling a property that might be affected by the Regulation please contact a member of our Commercial + Property Team.

Phone 07 4688 2188

*Classes of buildings within the scope of Regulation
The Building Code of Australia defines classes of buildings.  The classes of building caught by the Regulation are:

  • class 2, 3 or 9 buildings of type A or B construction (that is 2 or more storeys);
  • class 4 buildings; and
  • class 5, 6 or 7 buildings of type A or B construction (that is 3 or more storeys).

A summary of building classifications published by the QBCC can be found here.

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