Cladding coming off
By Meg Hill
Homeowners will be given an extra two years to pursue legal action against builders responsible for installing combustible cladding on their homes under legislation introduced to Victorian Parliament last month.
The state government’s Cladding Safety Victoria Bill 2020 also formally separates Cladding Safety Victoria (CSV) from the Victorian Building Authority (VBA), with CSV now officially responsible authority for delivering the Cladding Rectification Program.
At present, homeowners have a 10-year time limit on the opportunity to pursue legal action. The new laws increase the time limit to 12 years.
The state government said establishing CSV as a stand-alone entity would ensure it was best placed to deliver its “world-leading cladding rectification program”.
CSV works with building owners, owners’ corporations (OCs) and the building sector to rectify buildings and make them safe through the $600 million program announced by the state government last year.
It also provides the community and industry with information and advice on rectification works and provides financial assistance to fund rectification works.
Funding for rectification works are prioritised based on risk, to ensure buildings which present the highest risk to occupants are rectified first.
Minister for Planning Richard Wynne said apartment owners were in the situation through “no fault of their own and it’s only right they have as much time as possible to pursue compensation through the courts”.
“Cladding Safety Victoria is getting on with delivering our $600 million world-first program to fix hundreds of building across Victoria with high risk cladding,” he said.
“We’re leading the world in responding to this international problem and helping to ensure those who have done the wrong thing contribute to the cost of fixing their mistakes.”
Almost 600 buildings across the state have now been referred to CSV, who have met with more than 400 individual owners’ corporations to discuss assistance.
CSV has also completed a close inspection of more than 250 buildings and is aiming to have 100 buildings under construction by the end of this year.
Docklands News understands work is currently underway on the Neo 200 building on Spencer St, where flammable cladding contributed to a fire last year.
CSV CEO Dan O’Brien said the state government was “one of the few in the world” which was financially supporting owners to remove higher-risk cladding.
“Works are underway across more buildings every week. We’re working to have four hundred private residential buildings under construction over the next two years, which will get more cladding off apartments sooner and continue to support Victoria’s construction industry in the wake of COVID-19,” he said.
“From start to finish, we work with owners’ corporations and make sure they’re working with registered and qualified practitioners for the best outcome.” •