Legal Insights

Victorian Government prohibits high-risk cladding

By Simone Holding, Frances HallEloise Crompton

• 04 February 2021 • 3 min read

Minister’s Guideline 14 Revoked

From 1 February 2021, the Victorian Government has banned the use of high risk combustible cladding in buildings of Type A and Type B construction. The ban is implemented by the Minister’s declaration under section 192B of the Building Act 1993 (Vic) that the cladding products are likely to cause a risk of serious injury, death or severe property damage.

The effect of the ban is that all persons are prohibited from future use of certain external wall cladding products in the course of carrying out any building work in connection with buildings of Type A or Type B construction.

The Building Appeals Board can no longer declare that the installation of certain cladding complies with the Building Act 1993 and Regulations as part of a performance solution. Municipal building surveyors and private building surveyors can no longer issue building permits in relation to a building of Type A or Type B construction if the proposed building contains banned combustible cladding products.

Effective 1 February 2021, Minister’s Guideline 14 (MG-14), which previously provided for the issue of building permits where building work involved the use of certain prescribed combustible cladding products, is revoked.

What types of cladding are banned by the Minister’s declaration?

The following types of cladding are now banned in connection with buildings of Type A or Type B construction in Victoria:

  • aluminium composite panels (ACPs) with a core of less than 93% inert mineral filler (inert content) by mass in external cladding as part of a wall system.
  • all expanded polystyrene (EPS) products used in an external insulation and finish (rendered) wall system.

To what types of construction does the ban apply?

The products are banned for Type A and Type B construction. Those types have the meaning given to them in Part C1 of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) Volume One. That is:

  • an apartment building with a rise in storeys of 3 or more, or an office building with a rise in storeys or 4 or more (Type A).
  • an apartment building with a rise in storeys of no more than 2, or an office building with a rise in storeys of no more than 3 (Type B).

Does the ban apply to applications made, or building permits issued, before 1 February 2021?

No, the ban does not apply retrospectively.

This is because of the express terms of section 192(2) of the Building Act 1993. It says that a declaration made under that section does not apply in relation to the use of an external wall cladding product under a permit in respect of which the application for the permit was made to the relevant building surveyor before the declaration took effect.

What are the reasons for the ban?

In his statement of reasons for the ban, the Minister for Planning, the Hon. Richard Wynne, noted the risk of death, serious injury and/or damage from the banned cladding, and that building audits conducted over recent years have demonstrated that:

  • validation of performance solutions can be difficult due to a lack of documentation
  • performance solutions have been misused
  • on-site construction standards and controls do not always ensure that the building is built to the standard intended through the design process.

For the Minister’s full statement of reasons for the ban, and the terms of the revocation of MG-14, click here.

Looking for more information about the implications of the ban?

Contact our Construction team

By Simone Holding, Frances HallEloise Crompton

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