Many building owners and managers in Queensland continue to go through the cladding compliance process as mandated by the Queensland Government, even if their buildings have no cladding issues.
Following the devastating fire at London’s Grenfell Tower in 2017, the Queensland Government had introduced new combustible cladding regulations in late 2018, which required property owners and managers to register their buildings online. The new laws were part of the state government’s efforts to remove dangerously flammable cladding from residential apartment buildings and office blocks.
The new legislation was applicable to properties that received a development approval after 1 January, 1994 but before 1 October, 2018 to either build the building or to alter the cladding on the building.
This resulted in more than 20,000 buildings registering online with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) by the end of March this year.
Though more than two thirds of the buildings registered online have been cleared by QBCC after the first stage of the compliance process, many body corporate managers and building owners will still need to complete stage two of the compliance process by the May 29, 2019 deadline, or apply for an extension by May 1, says strata management company Archers partner Andrew Staehr.
“While some building owners should have been able to get off the ‘compliance bus’ at stage one if they had no cladding issues, many owners and managers still find themselves going along for the ride to stage two because there may be combustible cladding on signage and other parts of the property,” says Staehr.
According to Staehr, building owners will need to rush if they want to complete the stage two compliance process within the short timeframe.
This would involve engaging a licensed building industry professional such as an engineer or architect, registering their details on the Safer Buildings website, having them fill out the combustible cladding checklist, and uploading the completed checklist to the Safer Buildings website.
However, owners of buildings who know or suspect that their building has combustible cladding can skip stage two and complete the stage three process, which involves engaging a fire engineer by August 27, 2019.
Owners of buildings wanting to skip stage 2 must indicate as such via the Safer Buildings website prior to May 29, 2019, he added.
“Approximately half of Archers’ managed buildings throughout Queensland have been required to comply with the new regulations, and we have provided education and guidance on these compliance issues to all of our properties.
“There is no substitute for complying with fire safety standards, which include ensuring strata communities have evacuation plans in place,” Staehr concluded.
On its part, Archers has been hosting community education seminars across the state following the introduction of the new combustible cladding laws in late 2018 by the Queensland Government. These seminars educate stakeholders on the obligations and timelines to achieve compliance with the three-stage regulations.