Following the Lacrosse fire in Melbourne’s Docklands in late 2014, the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) conducted an audit of non-compliant wall cladding systems of high rise buildings in inner city Melbourne. By way of background, the Lacrosse building was clad in aluminium composite panelling, and it is alleged that the panelling (with a combustible core) contributed to the fire’s dramatic spread up the exterior façade of the building, causing significant property damage.

The VBA’s audit found a 51% rate of non-compliance, albeit only two buildings were required to carry out rectification work. The findings, which were fairly controversial, left building owners with ‘non-compliant’ buildings which were safe to occupy, in legal limbo.

On 17 February 2017, the VBA announced that it will be conducting a further, wide ranging Victorian audit. The further audit will cover:

  • other buildings of practitioners identified with significant non-compliance in the first audit
  • buildings outside the scope of the initial audit but which otherwise came to the VBA’s attention
  • a targeted sample of buildings in collaboration with local councils across all Victorian municipalities.

The results of the further audit are likely to have wide ranging implications for building and construction professionals in the state of Victoria, and we will be monitoring the progress of the audit with interest. A copy of the VBA’s announcement for the further audit can be found at the following link: http://www.vba.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/39103/VBA-External-Wall-Cladding-Report.pdf