Building cladding review

Cladding is a term which describes the material used to cover the external wall of a building. Common materials used for cladding include weatherboard, lightweight panels (such as aluminium composite panels (ACPs), polystyrene products and metal sheeting. External cladding material can be part of the wall or used as an attachment. Cladding materials, including aluminium composite panels, can meet the ACT’s building safety standards if they are installed in accordance with the National Construction Code (NCC).

Purpose of the review

The ACT Government is carrying out a review to determine whether combustible cladding materials have been used in Territory buildings in a way that doesn’t comply with ACT building standards, or poses an unacceptable risk to building occupants.

The Inter-agency Building Cladding Review Group (the Review Group) has been established to determine fire safety risks associated with the non-compliant use of external wall cladding including ACPs and potentially combustible claddings and wall systems on privately owned buildings in the ACT, and buildings owned or leased by the ACT Government.  It has been working with ACT Directorates to facilitate a review of ACT Government buildings.

The Review Group will provide expert advice to the ACT Government on the scale of the use of non-compliant cladding in buildings in Canberra and on specific measures to manage any risk of rapid, external structure fires that may prevent safe evacuation of a building or buildings.  It will also advise ACT Directorates on what remediation or risk mitigation, if any, may be required on ACT Government buildings.

Buildings covered by the review

The review will initially include all buildings with National Construction Code classifications of Class 2-9 buildings in the Territory covered by the ACT Building Act, with priority for buildings including classes 2, 3, 4 and 9 classifications of two storeys and higher.

Class 2, 3 and 4 buildings are residential buildings such as apartments, hotels, and student accommodation. Class 9 buildings include health care, education, public buildings and entertainment venues. It can be more difficult for occupants to safely evacuate these buildings.

Single and attached dwellings (class 1 buildings) and associated buildings such as sheds, garages and carports (class 10 buildings) are not included as the fire safety risks for these buildings are lower and so there are fewer restrictions on the type of material used for external walls in these buildings.

Download: NCC Building Classifications guide

The review does not include buildings located in the Territory but owned by the Australian Government. The Australian Government has undertaken to review its own buildings.

The review group

The review group include officials from the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD) (building policy), Access Canberra (building regulation) and the ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA). EPSDD chairs and coordinates the group.

The review group members are:

  • Dr Erin Brady, EPSDD Deputy Director-General, Land Strategy and Environment
  • Vanessa Morris, EPSDD Coordinator, Building Policy
  • Mark Brown, ESA Chief Officer ACT Fire & Rescue
  • David Foot, ESA Director Risk & Planning
  • Craig Simmons, Access Canberra Director, Community, Business and Transport Regulation and Construction Occupations Registrar

Terms of reference

The review group will:

  • as far as practicable, identify buildings on which ACPs or other materials have been used as external wall cladding in a way that is not, or may not be, compliant with the building code.  Identification methods may include assessment of building documentation and visual verification of the presence of cladding
  • undertake a risk assessment and prioritisation of identified buildings for further audit, inspection or remediation
  • provide advice to the Minister, other directorates, building owners and occupants on managing any identified fire safety risks, including temporary fire safety precautions
  • report to the Minister on findings of the identification and risk assessment and priorities for further work including short- and long-term management of buildings for which non-compliant cladding poses an unacceptable level of risk
  • coordinate communications, briefing and reports in relation to the review and any identified safety risks.

Updates

The review group is currently working with ACT Government Directorates to identify any government-owned and operated buildings that may be at risk from incorrect use of cladding materials. Many of these buildings are class 9 buildings, which are a high priority for review.

The review group is also preparing to extend work to privately owned buildings in the ACT.

Further updates will be posted on this page.

Contact

If you have any information that would help to identify the non-compliant use of ACPs or other combustible cladding materials on a building in the ACT please contact the Building Cladding Working Group on (02) 6207 8370 or at claddingreview@act.gov.au.

Amendment to the National Construction Code

The Building Ministers’ Forum directed the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) to expedite changes to the National Construction Code (NCC) from a comprehensive package of measures for fire safety in high rise buildings developed following the Lacrosse Apartments fire in Melbourne in 2014. At its 23 November 2017 meeting, the ABCB endorsed the release and adoption of NCC 2016 Volume One Amendment 1. The Amendment takes effect on 12 March 2018. All approval applications made from this date must comply with the NCC 2016 as amended.

The main aspects of the amendment are:

  • a new Verification Method that adopts the external wall testing standard, AS 5113
  • improving the evidence of suitability provisions
  • clarifying the deemed-to-satisfy provisions relating to the fire performance of external walls
  • referencing the updated sprinkler standard, AS 2118, with a transition period from the currently referenced version.

More information

The ACT Government is committed to improving the accessibility of web content. To provide feedback or request an accessible version of a document please contact us or phone 13 22 81.