By Helen Tatchell
Cladding may improve the appearance of buildings, but it may also combust, with deadly consequences.
The outside skin of a building, cladding is used to also provide thermal insulation and weather resistance.
Two types of cladding may pose a risk for building occupants, as well as the community more broadly. These are – Aluminium composite panels or ‘ACP’, and Expanded polystyrene or ‘EPS’.
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) is leading a statewide audit on behalf of the Victorian Government, which found in Moorabool Shire there are three privately-owned buildings identified with cladding that may pose a risk.
But the State Government is tackling the high-risk cladding problem with an injection of $300 million of a $600 million package.
“We will establish a world-first program to tackle high-risk cladding and will fix the buildings most at risk and keep Victorians safe,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.
The State Labor Government will directly fund half of the rectification works and will introduce changes to the building permit levy to raise the other $300 million over the next five years, and will seek a contribution from the Federal Liberal Government to be “part of the solution here in Victoria” to help fund rectification, as combustible cladding is a national problem.
The statewide audit will assess:
– apartment buildings, motels and hotels (three storeys and above).
– Buildings where Victorians gather as a large group, such as sporting areas; and
– Private schools, private hospitals and aged care facilities (two storeys and above).
Since December 2017, the Victorian Building Authority inspected 2227 privately-owned buildings during a Statewide Cladding Audit and found 1069 had combustible cladding. Of those, seven per cent were deemed extreme risk, 38 per cent highest risk, 36 per cent moderate risk and 19 per cent low risk.
The project’s focus is on reducing the fire safety risk of buildings found to have combustible cladding.
The Victorian Building Association has not released information to the media on the identified buildings in Moorabool.