GENERAL PROPERTY

ACT reducing combustible cladding risk with private scheme

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THE ACT government will enable building owners to test if their property has combustible cladding, with the launch of its Private Buildings Cladding Scheme.

The scheme is designed to provide eligible owners of apartments with rebates to have their building’s cladding tested and assessed, to determine the its level of risk and what actions can be taken to address this.

“The ACT Government takes the safety of Canberra residents seriously and we are committed to reducing the risk of potentially combustible cladding on residential apartment buildings in the ACT,” said Rebecca Vassarotti, minister for sustainable building and construction.

Rebates will cover 50% of the costs of testing on each site, with a maximum rebate of $20,000 excluding GST.

If the apartment complex is found to be in need of work to reduce risk of combustion, the scheme will offer owners concessional loans to enable these works.

Details of these loans have not yet been announced and will become available at the conclusion of the scheme’s first stage.

“We recognise the challenges faced by apartment building owners to address combustible cladding without assistance, which is why the scheme will provide financial support during phase one of testing and assessment and concessional loans for phase two of rectification,” added Vassarotti.

To be eligible for phase one of the scheme, a building must be situated in the ACT, be three-storey or more, or a cluster of closely placed residential buildings that pose significant risk.

“Stakeholders have asked for practical assistance from government in sourcing skilled providers in this technical area, which is why the ACT Government is hosting an open, publicly available list detailing suppliers who have qualifications, experience, licences and insurances relevant to undertaking cladding work in the ACT,” said Vassarotti.

Furthermore, the building must contain residential apartments, though does not exclude mixed use developments. A building must also be determined to contain combustible cladding by the Owens Corporation, on reasonable grounds.

“I have consulted with stakeholders and received advice from related peak body organisations and I thank these groups for their ongoing engagement and support in communicating this scheme to their members,” concluded Vassarotti.

Meanwhile in Victoria, a flammable cladding ban came into effect back in February for all future multi-storey developments, as part of the state government’s $600 million Cladding Rectification Program.

While recently, a Brisbane family-owned company ExinTech has launched a fire-resistant cladding product that can withstand temperatures in excess of 1,000 degrees Celsius.

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