The NSW building industry is on notice with the introduction of combustible cladding bans which officially come into force today, August 15, 2018.
Corporations will be fined up to $1.1 million and individuals up to $220,000 for using any cladding with a core comprised of more than 30% polyethylene.
The state-wide prohibition affects any form of the combustible building material used in external cladding, external walls, external insulation, facades or rendered finishes for certain multi-storey residential and commercial premises.
The ban is retrospective and applies to buildings built before the ban came into force as well as those currently under construction or any future development.
Building owners and strata bodies of affected buildings can now be issued rectification orders under the Building Products (Safety) Act requiring them to undertake remediation and removal work.
If rectification orders are not acted upon corporations and strata body directors can face 2 years imprisonment or a fine totalling $110,000 per day until the matter is addressed.
Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers’ Ben Robertson said the clock is ticking for building owners and strata corporations to act and comply with the state-wide ban.
“It is clear that rectification orders will be issued for affected buildings obliging building owners to take action now to avoid fines and prison penalties,” he said.
“And even if no rectification notice has been issued, building owners and their representatives may be held personally liable if appropriate action isn’t taken and banned combustible building material is permitted to remain in existing buildings or used in new ones.
“It is very important that building owners seek legal advice as to their potential liability and how they can comply with these new measures.”
The ban has been introduced in the wake of the deadly Grenfell Tower fire in London and the Lacrosse Building fire in Melbourne.
The NSW Cladding Taskforce identified more than 400 buildings in NSW that have the cladding installed posing a potential fire risk.
Queensland is planning to enact similar legislation in October with other states planning regulations of their own, a situation that has been criticised by Victorian Planning Minister, Richard Wynne.
“Only a national, coordinated approach will result in real change,” he said.