Following the 2017 Grenfell Tower tragedy in North Kensington, West London, an investigation revealed that the major contributing factor to the intensity of the destruction was the cladding affixed to the outside of the structure. Cladding of a similar composite has led to the spreading of a number of fires worldwide, including a 2014 fire at the Lacrosse building in Melbourne. In order to prevent future tragedies, Queensland has followed the lead of New South Wales in implementing regulations to identify privately owned buildings that contain combustible cladding.
This information will be used to allow the Queensland Fire Service to prioritise call outs in the short term and for owners to have the opportunity to rectify this issue. An audit was conducted by the Non-Conforming Building Products Taskforce which identified the publicly owned buildings requiring rectification and estimates that about 10 per cent of the 12,000 privately owned buildings in Queensland will be affected.
The identification process is moderated by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (“QBCC”) and is managed through an online system on the “Safer Buildings” website. Owners of single dwelling detached houses; row, terrace, and town houses; villa units; and non-habitable buildings are excluded from completing the three-stage identification process. Whereas buildings containing more than one lot, such as a block of units or other such collection of residential dwellings, must follow the below steps.
- Stage One
- Due Date: 29 March 2019
- Owners must:
- register their dwellings; and
- complete an online checklist to determine if they are required to move on to Stage Two
- Penalty for missing the deadline: maximum fine of 20 penalty units (currently $2,611.00) and automatic escalation to Stage Two.
- Stage Two
- Due Date: 29 May 2019
- Owners must:
- engage a building industry professional to examine their cladding and provide the QBCC with a copy of the professional’s Form 34 statement; and
- complete the online checklist to determine if they are required to move on to Stage Three
- Penalty for missing the deadline: maximum fine of 20 penalty units (currently $2,611.00) and automatic escalation to Stage Three.
- Stage Three
- Due Date: 3 May 2021
- Owners must:
- engage a fire engineer to assess the fire risk of the building (the name of the fire engineer must be provided to the QBCC by 27 August 2019); and
- complete the final online checklist
- Penalty for missing the deadline: maximum fine of 165 penalty units (currently $21,540.75)
The information gathered through the three-stage process will determine if the building is an affected private building. Owners must keep the completed checklist, the fire safety risk assessment, and the fire engineer statement for at least 7 years after the document is provided to the QBCC. Owners of affected private buildings will also be required to display in a conspicuous position and securely attach to a wall next to a main entrance of the building (and next to a fire indicator panel if applicable) a notice describing the building as an affected private building. This notice must be displayed until either the combustible cladding is removed from the building, or a private certifier gives the owner notice stating that the cladding complies with the regulations.
The cut off dates for the stages of this process may appear faster than you may think. If you believe your building is caught by the Regulation, please ensure you promptly comply with the requirements to avoid the substantial fines.
If you are a body corporate or another owner of a private dwelling within the scope and require further advice about this new regulation, or if you are intending to sell or buy a building which may be affected, please contact one of our experienced Property lawyers. We will be able to assist you in this new process while protecting your rights.