Recent fires in Melbourne and overseas have highlighted the risks posed by combustible external cladding on high-rise buildings.
If your building was constructed after 2000, it could be at risk.
Of particular concern are Aluminium Composite Panels (ACP) with a polyethylene core. This type of cladding has been implicated at Grenfell and Lacrosse and is combustible. Rendered expanded polystyrene cladding (EPS) is also of concern.
In July 2017 the Victorian State Government established the Victorian Cladding Taskforce to:
The Government is taking action to prevent the use of combustible cladding in future and is taking steps to remedy existing risks.
Knowing there is a potential risk to the life of occupants, every building owner needs to address this issue in relation to his specific building.
All multi-storey buildings are fitted with fire safety features referred to in the Victorian Building Regulations as Essential Safety Measures (ESM).
In its advisory note of 28 Sept 2017, the Victorian Cladding Taskforce states:
Owners’ corporations, building owners and facilities managers must produce an annual Essential Safety Measures Report (ESM) and any records of maintenance of ESM to a Municipal Building Surveyor, or a chief officer of the MFB or CFA for inspection, within 24 hours of any request.
External walls of high-rise buildings may be non-compliant if they have combustible components.
External walls can be part of the ESM for the purpose of the Building Regulations (this includes external wall cladding affixed to or forming part of an external wall).
Even if external walls or external cladding is not included as an ESM in the occupancy permit, or in a maintenance determination, The Taskforce recommends the annual Essential Safety Measures Report include it.
To help building owners meet their various obligations to provide a safe environment for workers and/or residents, we can provide an expert risk assessement on the compliance of the external cladding of a building to the relevant Victorian regulations.
The written report would include:
With over 20 years experience in managing building projects, we are able to give accurate, practical advice that will help you manage the buldling to the highest standards.
For more information, call us on 03 9857 0357.