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Property, Strata Law

The Claddostrophy – What Is the Combustible External Cladding crisis?

The Building Products (Safety) Act 2017 (BPA) was passed to regulate building products that are
unsafe or could be deemed a safety risk. The catalyst for the BPA was the well-known Lacrosse fire in
Melbourne in 2014, the Grenfell fire in London in June 2017 and most recent the Neo
Apartments in Melbourne, which all involved combustible external cladding.

By 22 February 2019, buildings with combustible external cladding require registration with the NSW
Government (click here to register). However, as new legislation rolls out there are more questions
than answers.

A critical question for Strata Managers and Owners Corporations is whether you should register your
building if external cladding was used in its construction.

The answer is never straightforward, however in short it’s not just a question of whether the
external cladding used on your development is combustible or not, so don’t go running a test! It’s
whether the external cladding is defined as combustible by the Environmental Planning and
Assessment Amendment (Identification of Buildings with Combustible Cladding) Regulations 2018
(EPA Cladding Regulations).

‘External Combustible Cladding’ means:
(a) Any cladding or cladding system comprising metal composite panels, including aluminium,
zinc and copper, that is applied to any of the building’s external walls or to any other external
area of the building, or

(b) Any insulated cladding system, including a system comprising polystyrene, polyurethane or
polyisocyanurate, that is applied to any of the building’s external walls or to any other
external area of the building.

It’s clear that the EPA Cladding Regulations define external combustible cladding by which specific
materials it contains, so it’s imperative that Owners Corporations and Strata Managers obtain either
original technical documentation on external cladding or expert advice on its composition. Failure to
register external combustible cladding by the deadline could cause legal problems.

Talk to us about it if you think the new regulations may apply to your building.

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