Strata corporations and building owners in NSW must act immediately to avoid fines and even imprisonment as a result of a new ban on combustible cladding with a core of more than 30 per cent polyethylene. The ban came into place on August 15.
The ban will affect any form of the combustible building material used in external cladding, external insulation, facades or rendered finishes for certain multi-storey residential and commercial premises. It is retrospective and applies to buildings built before the ban came into force as well as those currently under construction and any future developments.
A corporation found to be using a banned building product can be fined up to $1.1 million and individuals can be fined up to $220,000.
As well as acting as a layer for shedding water and protecting buildings, cladding has a significant impact on HVAC through its insulation properties, thermal mass, and its propensity to control the egress of water vapour.
The ban comes amid increasing scrutiny on flammable cladding after fires at Lacrosse tower in Docklands in 2014 and at Grenfell Tower fire in London last year. In the aftermath of the Grenfell fire, in which 72 people died, a senate committee said it saw “no place” for polyethylene-core aluminium composite panels in Australia.
It remains to be seen whether the NSW ban will be applied by other states, and whether a harmonised and consistent approach will be taken across the country.