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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

ACT moves to assess presence of combustible cladding

A leading ACT strata business has welcomed today’s announcement by the ACT Government that it will catch up to neighbouring states and seek to assess the presence of combustible cladding in all strata buildings.

Vantage Strata managing director Chris Miller says he has been lobbying the ACT Government to audit strata buildings for dangerous cladding, just as Victoria and NSW have done in recent years.

The ACT Government has established a provision to commence a voluntary rectification support scheme to deal with the impact of combustible cladding. It includes concessional loans for voluntary testing of cladding materials.

“While we suspect few of the strata buildings in Canberra will actually be considered high risk, the main benefit of this audit in the short term will be the ability for owners to finally secure appropriate building insurance,” Mr Miller said.

He said that the uncertainty surrounding the use of potentially unsafe and combustible cladding in the construction of apartment buildings has been undermining the ability for owners of apartment buildings to secure building insurance within the ACT.

Current ACT strata legislation places a mandatory obligation on owners’ corporations to hold building insurance.

“We have long lobbied for an audit and remediation plan on the issue of residential apartment buildings with combustible materials. Other state governments have acted on this issue and we welcome the ACT Government’s announcement today,” Mr Miller said.

“Before today’s announcement, an increasing number of buildings were looking like they’d be uninsured and non-compliant.

“It is a common misconception that apartment buildings are owned only by large corporations in the ACT. In Canberra, they are largely a collection of homes owned and rented by everyday Canberrans. Private owners here are a mix of first-home buyers, mum and dad investors, downsizers and young working professionals,” he said.

“Victoria, for example, conducted a state-wide audit to categorise any non-compliant cladding and announced a $600 million package to rectify 500 of the most at-risk buildings with combustible cladding. The Victorian Government established Cladding Safety Victoria to provide support and guidance to owners and occupants of residential buildings with combustible cladding.

“NSW Government’s cladding taskforce has been conducting an audit of all relevant buildings across NSW; 2,300 buildings have been inspected to date.

“It’s about time the ACT caught up and we’re pleased to see a step in the right direction today,” Mr Miller said.

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