Combustible cladding in the headlines again

Combustible cladding in the headlines again

As the new year kicks into gear, combustible cladding remains firmly in the headlines after a fire at a Spencer Street residential tower on Monday 4th of February.

Melbourne’s Metropolitan Fire Brigade reported that combustible cladding was the “main contributor” to the spread of the fire from the 22nd-floor balcony. Furthermore, the flames from the balconies penetrated some apartments but were contained by fire sprinklers. Firefighters had to extinguish the blaze from inside the building as it was so high.

The importance of having fire protection equipment regularly serviced and up-to-date Annual Fire Service statements, cannot be understated.

This incident should act as a timely reminder that the new combustible cladding regulations require owners of certain buildings with external combustible cladding to register their building with the NSW Government through the Cladding Registration portal.

For buildings occupied before 22 October 2018, the deadline for registration is 22 February 2019. Owners of new buildings will be required to register their building within four months of the building first being occupied.

NSW Fair Trading has the following tips for strata managing agents and building, property or maintenance managers

Find out if the building has aluminium cladding
Review all design and construction documents to determine whether external wall cladding made of aluminium composite panels was used on the building.

Check that the annual fire safety statement for the building is up-to-date
You should also ensure that all fire safety maintenance measures have been addressed.

Engage a fire safety professional
If aluminium composite panels have been used on the building engage a fire safety professional to:
• review and inspect the cladding – including the suitability of the type of material used and installation method
• check the overall fire safety of the building
• provide an assessment of any steps required to maintain or improve the building’s fire safety.
Take immediate action to make any recommended changes to the building.

It’s important to remember that the presence of aluminium composite cladding on a building does not mean it is non-compliant or a safety hazard, the configuration and how it has been used will also be relevant.

At CRM Brokers, in every instance to-date, we have been able to source insurance terms for strata managers with properties that have a presence of combustible cladding.

We strongly suggest if you do have a property with aluminium composite panels (ACP), contact us well in advance of renewal so that we may be well equipped to assist you.

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