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Lethal Building Cladding Banned in Victoria

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Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London, which killed 71 people, the Victorian government will ban the most dangerous types of combustible cladding from being used on Victorian buildings.

Minister for Planning Richard Wynne has released new ministerial guidelines to building surveyors – a key recommendation of the Victorian Cladding Taskforce – which focuses on buildings where people sleep or gather.

Aluminium Cladding Panels with a polyethylene core of more than 30 per cent will be banned on all multi-storey buildings. Expanded polystyrene will also be banned.

The new ministerial guidelines spell out what can’t be used on Victorian building sites for suppliers and practitioners in the building chain.

Related reading: What’s Going on with Non-Compliant Cladding?

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Wynne has directed the Victorian Building Authority to issue a product safety alert, and building practitioners who ignore this directive will face disciplinary action from the VBA.

A Docklands tower in 2014 had combustible cladding that helped spread fire which started from a discarded cigarette on a balcony – 400 people were evacuated from the building.

“We’re putting a stop to dangerous combustible cladding being used on Victorian buildings. This has been allowed to go on for too long and we’re ending it,” Minister for Planning Richard Wynne said.

“The rules are clear: If builders use these dangerous flammable products, they’ll face disciplinary action from the VBA.”

Last year, the taskforce was set up to investigate the extent of non-compliant cladding on Victorian buildings.

The taskforce identified 1,369 buildings as having aluminium-composite cladding panels with a polyethylene core or expanded polystyrene, but that figure is decreasing.

Of those buildings, it’s since been established that 579 have not begun construction, and a further 129 are half built.

No building has yet required an evacuation order by regulators, provided certain safety measures are met while rectification works are carried out including alarms, sprinklers or evacuation procedures.

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