Queensland's cladding reforms

King & Wood Mallesons
By Scott Watson and Aisling Scott*
Wednesday, 21 August, 2019



Queensland's cladding reforms

Lawyers Scott Watson and Aisling Scott from King & Wood Mallesons discuss the Queensland Government's planned combustible cladding ban on new builds, including a summary of other key cladding reforms already in force in Queensland. What follows was originally published here and has been republished with permission.

The Minister for Housing and Public Works has recently announced that the Queensland Government intends to implement a combustible cladding ban in the State for new builds. The ban is proposed to extend to all aluminium composite panels with a PE core of greater than 30 per cent, restricting usage across all buildings in Queensland.

The Minister also announced proposals in relation to certifiers, including:

  • Requiring certifiers to declare that combustible cladding has not been used, and that there has not been any product substitution during the construction process.
  • Allowing certifiers to remain licensed while holding PI insurance featuring cladding related exclusions.
     

Draft legislation in relation to these reforms is yet to go before the parliament.

At the Commonwealth level, the Customs Amendment (Safer Cladding) Bill 2017 (Cth) lapsed on 1 July 2019. That Bill was introduced by Nick Xenophon in September 2017 to amend the Customs Act 1901 (Cth) to prohibit “the importation into Australia of polyethylene core aluminium composite panels”. It will be interesting to see if the Commonwealth Government will introduce fresh legislation, or if it will continue to leave cladding reform largely in the hands of the State governments going forward.

The other key cladding related reforms already in force in Queensland are summarised below.

Legislation

Date in force

Key takeaways

Building and Other Legislation (Cladding) Amendment Regulation 2018 (Qld)

1 October 2018

The amendments introduced a three stage assessment regime to identify affected buildings in Queensland. 

Owners of buildings must (noting the dates for compliance with certain steps has been revised):

  • have already (due 29 March 2019) registered buildings and completed the combustible cladding checklist (part 1).
  • have already (due 31 July 2019) completed the building industry professional statement and complete the combustible cladding checklist (part 2).
  • by 31 October 2019 engage fire engineer and register their details on the combustible cladding checklist (part 3).
  • by 3 May 2021 complete the building fire safety risk assessment, fire engineer statement and the combustible cladding checklist (part 3).
     

There are escalating penalties in relation to compliance with each of the above steps (up to 165 penalty units).

See our KWM insight here for more details of who needs to register their buildings and complete the combustible cladding checklist.

Building and Construction Legislation (Non-conforming Building Products – Chain of Responsibility and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2017 (Qld)

1 November 2017

The amendments broadened the objectives of the QBCC Act to include regulation of building products (including cladding). The Act applies to building products that:

  • are not, or will not be, safe;
  • do not, or will not, comply with relevant regulatory provisions; or
  • do not perform, or is not capable of performing, for the use to the standard represented.
     

By way of summary, the amendments:

  • created new offences for those involved in the building product supply chain.
  • expanded current offences for failing to comply with an order or direction of the QBCC and its inspectors.
  • placed proactive concurrent responsibility on each participant throughout the building product supply chain and broadening the QBCC’s inspection and enforcement powers. 
  • created a new Ministerial power to issue recall orders or to publish warning statements about any product the Minister believes is non-conforming.
  • established the Building Products Advisory Committee.
     

*Scott Watson and Aisling Scott are from King & Wood Mallesons.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/burnstuff2003

Originally published here.

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