The Victorian government will give building owners more time to bring claims against builders that installed combustible cladding on their structures.

The two-year extension to The Cladding Safety Victoria Bill, presented by the state government last July, will extend the timeframe homeowners have to go after builders to 12 years.

This extension will cover claims in which the claim period expired or is set to lapse between the date of the government’s announcement of the cladding rectification program—16 July 2019—and one year following the commencement of the new bill.

The bill, presented at Parliament last week, will form a formal separation between Cladding Safety Victoria, the agency that facilitates the state’s $600 million rectification program, from the Victorian Building Authority regulator and render it an individual agency.

Minister for planning Richard Wynne said that apartment owners are entitled to more time, and that Cladding Safety Victoria is enacting its $600 million world-first program to repair hundreds of buildings in Victoria built with high risk cladding.

In 2014, the Melbourne Docklands Lacrosse apartment building in Victoria was set afire after a discarded cigarette caused a blaze.

After London’s 2017 Grenfell Tower fire claimed 72 lives, the issue of flammable external cladding was taken into consideration—inspiring a senate inquiry in 2017 that investigated non-­conforming building products.

In 2017, prime minister Malcolm Turnbull requested premiers and chief ministers to audit high-rise structures on the issue of non-conforming combustible cladding.

In 2018, planning minister Richard Wynne presented revised ministerial guidelines that were issued to building surveyors while a taskforce was established to review the presence of non-compliant cladding on Victorian structures.

In January 2019, the 43-storey Neo200 tower in central Melbourne was set afire, damaging a half dozen apartments.

While the structure had 1.5 per cent of its facade coated in combustible polyethylene-core cladding, the increasing number of problematic issues prompted the state government to present a $600 million fund to modify buildings with “high-risk” cladding in the middle of the year.

Premier Daniel Andrews promised to pay half of the $600 million required to fix cladding on 432 “high-risk” privately owned structures, also fixing a situation in which owners were stuck with valueless apartments.

The federal government, or the development industry, would pay $300 million by initiating modifications to the building permit levy.

RMIT University studies indicated that the price for rectification could catapult upward to $4.9 billion if the focus trained on bigger apartment buildings was handled badly.

Their report found that the lowest-cost scenario was $573 million for well-maintained modification of smaller scale buildings.

The Victorian Building Authority has inspected more than 2,500 buildings since its inception in 2017, with more than 800 discovered to bear aluminum composite panels or expanded polystyrene.


Source: Urban Developer.Com