Re: Combustible Cladding – What shall the Body Corporate do?
Due to the fire disasters occurring to Grenfell Tower in London and also Lacrosse Building in Melbourne, there is a global concern regarding the Aluminum cladding system which consists of Aluminum panels normally 1.6mm thick sandwiched and adhered together with a polyethylene core which is a highly flammable petroleum based adhesive.
The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) aims to tackle the combustible cladding issue and has then released Amendment 1 to Volume 1 of National Construction Code (NCC) 2016 which shall be adopted by all states and territories from 12 March 2018. Under the Amendment 1, the following building elements of high-rise apartment building (with 4 or more storeys) must be non-combustible:
- External walls and common walls including all components incorporated in them
- Flooring and floor framing of lift pits
- Non-load bearing internal walls where they are required to be fire-resisting
If bonded laminated materials were used in the above mentioned building elements, each lamina, including any core must be non-combustible.
Currently, the Body Corporate are encouraged to carry out an audit on their façade elements. However, the task force has yet to determine what to do with the prevalence of this cladding system. The current thinking is that where combustible cladding exists over main entrances and fire exits then it should be removed. However, this strategy still doesn’t enable a compliant building structure with respect to fire resistance.
Government of New South Wales has also drafted regulation requesting owners of building with combustible cladding to provide a Cladding Statement to the Secretary. The Cladding Statement is a statement to the effect that the cladding applied to a building has been inspected by a properly qualified person and the statement must include the opinion of the qualified person on:
- Whether the cladding presents a risk to safety of persons or to the spread of fire, in the event of fire
- Details of necessary actions to address risk presented by cladding
The Queensland Non-Conforming Building Products Audit Taskforce has published their status report which can be found in this link: http://www.hbcm.co/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/NCBP_Taskforce_Report_Final-Reduced.pdf
Body Corporates can contact SWConsult if they need assistance with preparing the Cladding Audit Statement.