Victoria Airs Laws To Chase “Dodgy Builders” For Cladding Issues

By Evelyn Marcou, Senior Associate, MST Lawyers

Victoria has announced new laws allowing the state government to chase builders for the cost of cladding rectification, prompting the main industry body, the Victorian Building Authority,  to fume that it is being singled out for a problem caused by many players, including the government.

Planning Minister Richard Wynne said the Building Amendment (Cladding Rectification) Bill 2019, allowing the government to raise building permit costs as well as create the “step-in” power to claw back costs on behalf of owners corporations, would be effective by the end of the year.

So far, 15 buildings have been selected for publicly funded repairs out of more than 500 buildings identified by the government’s Victorian Building Authority as being at high risk of a cladding fire. Money for the repairs will come out of a $600 million fund announced in July; with half of this money to be raised by a new taxes on developments.

A new agency, Cladding Safety Victoria, has been set up to both oversee repairs and decide which buildings get their flammable cladding removed with public funding.

The new laws have received strong criticism for placing all the focus on builders. However, it has also been argued that scrutiny of the entire building supply chain is required as well as a detailed look into the agencies approving projects and buildings. There have also been calls on the federal government to tighten restrictions on importing building products. 

If you are looking at purchasing an apartment constructed using some form of cladding, it is imperative that you make enquiries into whether there are any cladding issues.  MST Lawyers can assist with all due diligence and property-related matters.

If you require assistance with a planning or leasing matter, please email our Property and Leasing team or call us on +61 3 8540 0200.