In Victoria, authorities have extended a deadline to be provided evidence that the external cladding used in high-rise buildings complies with the national construction code, while Western Australia conducts its own enquiries.

In June, the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) began an audit of about 170 high-rise buildings in inner Melbourne and immediately surrounding suburbs to ascertain whether potentially dangerous non-compliant cladding products have been used.

The audit follows a finding that external cladding used in the construction of the Lacrosse Apartments fuelled a fire that broke out in the Melbourne, Docklands area last year, causing more than $2 million worth of damages.

There were rising fears around the risks to the public due to the increasing number of cheap, non-compliant products being imported into Australia.

Meanwhile, the Western Australian Building Commission announced in-mid June that a building in Perth CBD that contains a type of cladding similar to that used in the construction of the Lacrosse Building in Melbourne had been assessed and was found to be safe.

Following that, the City of Perth, with support from the  Building Commission, announced they would audit up to 70 high-risk buildings in the Perth CBD to identify if aluminium composite panelling products similar to that in question in Victorian “has been used in other buildings and if it has been used, to determine whether it complies with the building standards”.

Victorian Building Authority (VBA) announcement (June 22, 2015):

“The VBA builders and building surveyors involved in these building projects were given 21 days to provide the VBA with evidence that the external cladding used complies with the National Construction Code. The deadline for providing this information to the VBA was Friday 19 June 2015. 

“Due to the historical nature and volume of information requested, the VBA has received requests for extensions of time to provide the information required. These requests are being considered on a case-by-case basis.

“The VBA has begun working through the large volume of documents and information provided as it assesses the responses received to date and is following up with builders and building surveyors who have not yet responded.

“The documents builders and building surveyors are required to provide will be extensive and complex. It will take some time to work through this information to determine compliance. This task remains a priority for the VBA and it is important that the audit of each building is carried out thoroughly.”

Both the Victorian and WA Building Commissions have released reminders of the obligations and roles of those in the industry, such as the documents below (click through to the PDFs).