With the fire to the Melbourne building, Neo200, on 4 February 2019, combustible cladding has again been thrust into focus as a continuing safety risk. Fortunately, no one was injured in the blaze however it is a timely reminder for owners of their responsibilities under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Identification of Buildings with External Combustible Cladding) Regulation 2018 (NSW) (the Regulation).

What buildings does the Regulation apply to?

The Regulation applies to:

  • residential apartment buildings;
  • other residential buildings, such as hotels, boarding houses, backpacker accommodation and aged care buildings;
  • public buildings, such as cinemas, child care centres and schools; and
  • mixed used buildings, part of which are used for residential purposes or accommodation, which have external combustible cladding.

External combustible cladding is defined in the Regulation as:

  • any cladding or cladding system comprising metal composite panels, including aluminium, zinc and copper, that is applied to any of the building’s external walls or to any other external area of the building, or
  • any insulated cladding system…that is applied to any of the building’s external walls or to any other external area of the building.

The Regulation does not apply to buildings which are solely used for retail or commercial purposes or houses.

What do owners need to do?

The owner or Owners Corporation must register the building on the NSW Cladding Registration Portal.

For existing buildings, registration is required by 22 February 2019. For newly constructed buildings, registration must occur within 4 weeks after the building is first occupied. A failure to register will incur a $1,500 fine for individuals or a $3,000 fine for corporations.

If an owner or Owners Corporation is unsure whether combustible cladding has been applied to the building, they should seek advice from an appropriately qualified building professional.