The CEO of the The Victorian Building Authority (VBA), Sue Eddy, has released the following update on the cladding audit on 15 January.
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) plays an important role in keeping the community safe in their built environment – these are, amongst other things, the places Victorians live, work and play.
In a practical sense, the VBA meets this challenge by registering and licensing those that work in the building industry and providing the right information to consumers and practitioners. Importantly, another key function of the VBA involves holding practitioners to account for their work and their professional conduct.
In recent times there have been issues raised regarding practitioners’ use of combustible cladding. In part, this involves practitioners not understanding their responsibilities when designing, approving or constructing buildings, in particular; residential apartment blocks and places where the public gather en masse or seek significant medical treatment. As a regulator, it is the VBA’s job to provide leadership to the industry on this matter, as well as help find solutions to these issues.
From 1 January 2018, the VBA will lead a state-wide audit of:
- apartment complexes, motels and hotels (three storeys and above)
- buildings where Victorians gather as a large group, such as sporting arenas; and
- schools, private hospitals and aged-care facilities (two storeys and above).
- Concurrently, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning will lead an audit of government buildings in Victoria.
The VBA is committed to undertaking this work as efficiently and effectively as possible. We want to provide Victorians with confidence that they are safe from the dangers presented by combustible cladding. Central to this is keeping residents and owners’ corporations informed and educated – while providing fire safety tips they can implement straight away. We will use the best information available to target and identify buildings that may have used cladding inappropriately.
In a basic sense, our audit work will be approached in three stages:
- Identify the buildings
- Audit and assess their safety
- Rectify, where required.
We realise that this work will not be easy. Fixing this will require everyone in the building industry to work together. As noted by the Victorian Cladding Taskforce, there are cultural issues and complexities within the industry and the building codes that, in addition to the audit, also need to be addressed. There will, no doubt, be moments of hardship for all parties involved in this process. We will endeavour to reduce uncertainty throughout the audit by being transparent and open to feedback, while continuing to update the community and the building industry about our progress.
The VBA is committed to improving outcomes for all Victorians, whether that is consumers purchasing their most prized asset or practitioners contributing to the economic prosperity of the State. Let us be clear, however, in terms of this audit and other decisions undertaken by the VBA, our expectation is that the relevant laws are followed by all.
We look forward to working with you through this critical task of auditing cladding throughout Victoria and will deliver an outcome for which all Victorians can feel confident in their building and plumbing regulator.
Chief Executive Officer – Victorian Building Authority