Legislation update

A quick guide to completing part 1 of the Safer Buildings combustible cladding checklist

By Blake Frost / 26 March 2019

Key issues

  • Part 1 of the QBCC Safer Buildings Combustible Cladding Checklist must be completed by 29 March 2019;
  • The QBCC has said currently 24 per cent of the 14,336 registered buildings are now subject to a physical inspection by a building professional.  That’s almost one in every four buildings;
  • Penalties to apply if building owners fail to comply.

On 1 October 2018, the Building and Other Legislation (Cladding) Amendment Regulation 2018 (Qld) introduced new laws in regards to exterior cladding used in the construction of buildings.  

The Regulation imposes a series of obligations on private building owners to identify and assess affected buildings. Specifically, owners of private buildings must report to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC). For more information, see our previous article

Key dates

The QBCC Safer Buildings Combustible Cladding Checklist has been split into three parts, with each part imposing additional requirements. The deadlines for each part are:

  1. Part 1 - 29 March 2019;
  2. Part 2 - 29 May 2019; and
  3. Part 3 - 3 May 2021.

This note explains to you how to complete Part 1 (the checklist).

Checklist - part 1

While the idea of filling out a three part checklist is daunting, the majority of building owners will not need to take any further steps after completing part 1. The checklist is a straightforward process and consists of four questions:

  1. What is your building used for?;
  2. How many level are in your building?;
  3. What is the total floor area of your building?; and
  4. Which of the following building materials are used for your external wall cladding?

Registration

Prior to completing the checklist, building owners must register their building. Owners can register their building on the Queensland Government Safer Buildings website

Once registered, part 1 can be completed.

Question 1: What is your building used for?

This question will require the building owner to select which class their building falls in. There will be 10 different classes to choose from. This is necessary as only buildings in classes 2 to 9 are subject to the new cladding laws.  

You can find a description of each class of building here

Question 2: How many levels are in your building?

The building owner will be required to select from one of the following: 

  • one; 
  • two; or 
  • three or more. 

This question again looks to classify the building. The cladding laws will only apply to “A” and “B” constructions regardless of whether it is a class 2-9 building. In general, buildings which are only a single level will be classed as a “C” construction. Class 5, 6, 7 and 8 buildings which are two levels will also be classed as a “C” construction.

This is expanded upon in the table below:

Rise in storeys Class of building 2, 3, 9 Class of building 5, 6, 7, 8
4 or more A A
3 A B
2 B C
1 C C

 

Question 3: What is the total floor area of your building?

Here, the owner will have to insert the floor area of their building.  This does not have to be an exact measurement. The owner will need to select one from the following: 

  • 2,000m2
  • between 2,000m2 and 3,000m2; and 
  • over 3,000m2.  

If a building owner does not have access to a building record which specifies the floor area, QBCC suggests a simple length x width calculation. This can be achieved through:

  1. a physical on-site measurement;
  2. using available design documents;
  3. using evacuation diagrams; or
  4. using the Google earth measuring tool.

Question 4: Which of the following building materials are used for your external wall cladding, soffits and building attachments (such as architectural features, sub shades, awnings)?

The building owner will need to select the materials that were used on the external wall of the building.

The options listed are:

  1. Aluminium Composite Panels (ACP)
  2. Rendered Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) bonded laminate or composite panels with a core comprise of EPS or similar material
  3. Plywood or High-Pressure Laminates (HPL)
  4. Concrete (including pre-cast/tilt-up concrete, but excluding a rendered surface finish)
  5. Solid masonry (stone, brick or concrete block)
  6. Glass (including glass curtain walls and/or aluminium-framed windows)
  7. Metal wall sheeting (metal used in a single sheet and not as part of a bonded laminate or composite panel)
  8. Fibre cement sheet
  9. Materials other than those listed above
  10. Not sure what materials are used on the building

The owner can select any number of materials at this stage. If they are unsure as to what materials have been used, they should engage a “building industry professional” to assist with identifying the material.

The definition of a “building industry professional” can be found here.  Building owners must ensure the professional they use meets at least one of these criteria.

While this will come at a cost, selecting “not sure what materials are used on the building” will most likely result in the owner having to complete Part 2 of the checklist which will require the engagement of a “building industry professional” regardless.

Completion of checklist

If at any point during the checklist it is concluded no more information is required, the building owner will be prompted by the website to sign a statutory declaration. They will need to sign this declaration and upload it to QBCC. This document signifies that Part 1 of the checklist has been completed. Building owners will need to retain this document for seven years.

After an owner is required to submit a signed declaration, they will have no further obligations under the new cladding laws.

If the website does not provide a prompt to sign a declaration, Part 2 of the checklist will need to be completed.  

Further guidance in regard to Parts 2 & 3 will be provided closer to the due date of 29 May 2019.

Conclusion

As the deadline draws closer, it is important that all building owners familiarise themselves with the new cladding regime and obligations. Failure to complete Part 1 of the checklist in time can result in fines or a requirement to complete Part 2 or 3 of the checklist. These parts will require expert advice at a cost.  

For further information in relation to the new cladding laws or if you are unsure if the new laws will apply to you, please contact HopgoodGanim Lawyers’ Construction or Property teams.

Authors
Blake Frost
Partner
Blake is a Partner and leads our Construction practice.
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