Cooper Grace Ward’s Laura Gahan and Leanne O’Neill, both Special Counsel, discuss the new Building and Other Legislation (Cladding) Amendment Regulation 2018 (Qld) which has introduced a tough, mandatory combustible cladding checklist for many Queensland building owners.
In response to recent fires (in Australia and overseas) linked to combustible cladding materials, new laws now require Queensland building owners to complete a mandatory ‘combustible cladding checklist’.
In effect since 1 October 2018, the Building and Other Legislation (Cladding) Amendment Regulation 2018 requires building owners to provide the online checklist to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) by 29 March 2019.
Many privately-owned buildings (where at least 50% of the building is owned by a private entity) are affected, including residential apartment buildings, offices, shops, warehouses, manufacturing facilities, education facilities and other commercial buildings.
More specifically, the buildings affected are those approved after 1 January 1994 that are Class 2 to 9 buildings of either Type A or B construction. A list of the classifications under the Building Code of Australia can be found here.
Class 1 buildings (which include houses and other low-rise residential uses) and class 10 buildings (including garages, swimming pools and sheds) are excluded from the new requirements.
The new Non-Confirming Building Products Audit Taskforce estimates that up to 12,000 privately owned buildings in Queensland may be subject to the new laws, with 10% of those likely to require detailed assessment.
If the online checklist identifies a risk of combustible cladding, owners will be required to complete a further checklist and obtain evidence from building and fire safety experts. Further, if a building is found to be at risk, there will be a likely flow-on disclosure effect to owners, tenants and potential purchasers. Building insurers may also take an interest in the assessments.
Failing to comply with each of the new obligations is an offence carrying significant penalties (potentially tens of thousands of dollars) and could also result in:
- increased liability for owners and other responsible persons (such as company directors) in the event of damage to people and property caused by combustible cladding;
- difficulty selling properties that have not been properly assessed;
- insurance coverage implications and premium increases;
- breaches of work place health and safety requirements, which can carry strict liability for company directors and managers.
Leanne O’Neill regularly provides advice to government and private clients in relation to land access and use, planning and environment matters. As a special counsel in Cooper Grace Ward’s property, planning and environment team, Leanne brings 12 years’ experience, including nine years as a solicitor representing the State of Queensland in negotiations and litigation across a number of forums. Whilst with government, Leanne held several senior legal roles in government and provided high level advice and representation in land and resources sector law. Leanne advises on land access and tenure management, planning and development approvals and appeals under the Planning Act 2016, compulsory acquisition and valuation law (including objections and appeals in the Land Court), environmental compliance, vegetation and water management applications and approvals, environmental offsets, native title and cultural heritage, and landholder access and compensation agreements for petroleum and resources. Leanne has also been involved in numerous compulsory acquisitions, and represents landholders in resolving issues in relation to compulsory acquisition of land. Contact Leanne at leanne.o’[email protected]
Laura Gahan, Special Counsel, is a commercial property lawyer who delivers clients with efficient, pragmatic and commercially-focused advice. Laura advises clients on a range of property matters including: commercial and industrial property purchases and disposals including office towers, shopping centres, manufacturing and distribution facilities; agribusiness transactions including farm land, farming business, livestock and crop purchases, disposals and management advice; commercial, industrial and retail leasing; commercial, industrial and retail asset management and redevelopment; due diligence investigations and reporting, and state leasehold and land tenure issues. Laura’s experience is consolidated by having worked on secondment as in-house legal counsel for one of the world’s largest family restaurant owners, meaning she is acutely aware of the challenges faced by clients with respect to asset management, and is responsive and practical when advising clients. As a property law advocate, Laura is an active member of the Property Council of Australia, Retail Committee and also undertakes sessional academic work in the Faculty of Law at the Queensland University of Technology. Laura has presented at various property industry events and training programs. Contact Laura at [email protected]