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Renewed focus on building compliance

Following the catastrophic consequences of the Grenfell Tower fire in London, there has been a renewed focus on the use of building materials within Australia that do not comply with the requirements of the National Construction Code (the Code).

The Code sets out the minimum requirements for the design, construction and performance of buildings throughout Australia. Under the Code, external walls and cladding must be constructed of material that is not combustible and must not contribute to the spread of fire within a building or between buildings.

In determining whether external cladding complies with Australia’s legal requirements, a number of factors are required to be considered including:

• the material the cladding is made of
• the suitability of the cladding having regard to its application
• the installation of the cladding product
• compliance with Australian standards.

The 2014 Lacrosse Tower fire, in Docklands, Melbourne, was allegedly fuelled by external aluminium composite cladding. The fire endangered the safety of occupants and caused millions of dollars of damage. Following the fire, a Senate Committee was established to undertake an inquiry into the use of non-compliant building materials within Australia. The Committee’s interim view is that ‘there has been a serious breakdown in the regulation and oversight of both non-conforming and non-compliant building products which requires determined action’ [Interim report, 4 May 2016, ‘Safety – not a matter of good luck’]

If you are an owner, occupant or member of an owners’ corporation and you are concerned about the use of external cladding or other building materials that may not comply with the Code you may have a legal claim against the builder, developer, building surveyor or others.

We encourage you to act now.

Maddens Lawyers has significant experience in assisting large groups of people who have suffered loss and damage, having recovered millions of dollars of compensation in Supreme Court class action proceedings.

Register your details via email at buildingcompliance@maddenslawyers.com.au or phone us on 1800 815 228 to discuss your circumstances and how we can help.