January 30, 2019

Retirement Living

In the wake of London’s fatal Grenfell fire in June 2017 and Melbourne’s own Lacrosse fire in November 2014, Australia is cracking down on unsafe cladding that poses risk to human life, whether domestically manufactured or imported. Queensland has introduced new laws targeting combustible cladding.

HOW DOES THIS IMPACT AGED CARE FACILITIES AND RETIREMENT VILLAGES?

Operators must adopt a conservative approach to deal with the ethical issues (not just legal issues) of having combustible material on their building(s).  Everyone has the right to feel safe in all buildings where they live, work and play. If it is not dealt with quickly and correctly, operators run the risk of undertaking building works illegally, attracting untoward publicity and/or costly financial penalties.

The Building and Other Legislation (Cladding) Amendment Regulation 2018 (QLD) (Regulation) amends the Building Regulation 2006 (QLD). It requires a three (3) stage process to be completed, managed through an online system, to identify whether a building is affected by combustible cladding.

Buildings owned by aged care and retirement village operators will fall within the scope of the Regulation and operators will need to take action to comply. 

If an operator fails to comply with these new laws, it will be committing an offence resulting in the operator and its Executive Officers being exposed to liability for any property damage or personal injury caused by unsafe cladding.

BE PROACTIVE:

Review the fire safety features and procedures for the building(s). Be involved in the selection, specification and approval of cladding products for future projects. If you receive any document issued by a public authority (or otherwise) with respect to the cladding on a building, contact us immediately.

If you are a resident of a building, you should contact the operator to understand what they are doing to ensure compliance with the new regulations.

NEXT STEP:

From 1 October 2018, operators were required to undertake the following three (3) stage process, managed through an online system (www.saferbuildings.qld.gov.au), to identify whether their buildings are impacted by combustible cladding. If you have not already done this, you should do it immediately. Please contact us if you require any assistance in this regard.

This applies to buildings that were constructed, or that had their external wall assembly altered, after 1 January 1994. This means that buildings constructed before 1994 can also fall within the scope of the Regulation if rectification work was performed on them between 1 January 1994 and 1 October 2018.