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Cladding agency has hands full

03 Sep 2019

Cladding agency has hands full Image

Cladding Safety Victoria (CSV) anticipates the number of high-risk buildings in Victoria to climb from 406 to at least 1000 and for its rectification process to “test” the owners’ corporation (OC) model.

CSV chief executive Dan O’Brien made the comments at a cladding forum hosted by the Property Council of Australia on August 29.

A state-wide audit of residential buildings that has so far inspected 2000 buildings has classified 406 as “high-risk”.

“I would expect over the next 13 months that we may have a problem set of around 1000 buildings,” Mr O’Brien said.

CVS is the new state government agency set up with a $600 million budget in June to manage the cladding crisis. Mr O’Brien said he couldn’t answer to what extent additional funding would be needed to account for the rise.

The agency is currently piloting rectification processes with 15 initial high-risk buildings.

“We need to understand the risk, and the funding needed to reduce risk at any point in time. We don’t have that now, we’re just beginning on the 15,” he said.

He also said the process would “test whether the owners’ corporation model is the right model to manage buildings in some instances”.

The comment was made in response to a question about whether or not different OCs would have the sophistication to deal with a rectification process facilitated by CSV, especially in light of statistics that showed a majority of the affected buildings across the state are under 10 stories.

“The answer is we doubt it, across the board. It won’t be uniform, we know that,” he said.

“I’ve seen some outstanding owners’ corporations and I’ve seen some others … we need to build their skill set up and try to empower them.”

“Our focus is to empower and work with owners’ corporations. Working with them and getting them to take responsibility is a fundamental part of this program.”

“We would assist by helping them identify appropriate project managers. Where there is still a concern we would add and supplement that advice with other professionals.”

“We’ve got to work through that, but I’ve got good faith. It’s in their interest to get the building fixed and where there is a problem and a shared benefit people generally move pretty quickly.”

He said the agency’s relationships with different local councils was another non-uniform element to navigate, but that the City of Melbourne has been one of the more engaged so far.

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