Building cladding inspections in Moreland

Appointment of the Victorian Cladding Taskforce

The Victorian Government appointed a taskforce in July 2017 to fast-track the investigation into flammable cladding on the state's buildings in the wake of the deadly Grenfell Tower fire in London.

The Cladding Taskforce, co-chaired by former Liberal Premier Ted Baillieu and former Labor Deputy Premier John Thwaites, is working with pilot Councils to audit buildings to ensure they adhere to safety standards.

In 2014, aluminium composite cladding, similar to that found on the Grenfell Tower in London, was found to have contributed to the spread of a fire at the Lacrosse building in Melbourne's Docklands.

Since then, the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) in conjunction with the Cladding Taskforce has audited more than 200 properties in the City of Melbourne for the combustible material.

Initial audit of buildings in Moreland

The Cladding Taskforce is now progressively asking local Councils to audit buildings in their municipalities that have been identified by the taskforce.

This process is now being carried out in Moreland by the Municipal Building Surveyor working with fire engineers, the Victorian Building Authority and the Victorian Cladding Taskforce.

In August and September 2017, Council officers inspected 156 buildings in Moreland identified by the Cladding Taskforce. They found that 123 of those buildings required a more detailed investigation.

Moreland City Council did not issue building permits for any of the 123 buildings being assessed. All were issued by a Private Buildings Surveyor.

Detailed investigations

The process of carrying out a more detailed investigation of the 123 buildings identified in the initial audit is now underway.

Buildings are prioritised for inspection according to initial assessment of risk and geographical proximity to make the process more efficient.

So far eleven buildings have been subjected to this detailed assessment.

As of 18 December 2017, of the eleven buildings:

One building, being the Anstey Square Complex at 601 Sydney Road, Brunswick required the issue of an emergency order by the Municipal Building Surveyor for the installation of sprinklers to apartment balconies and removal of cladding near fire safety equipment.

The buildings at 356 - 360 Lygon Street, Brunswick East and 170 Albion Street, Brunswick have received an emergency order for removal of cladding near fire exits.

Four properties have been issued with a show cause notice by the Municipal Building Surveyor, which requires property owners to explain why certain actions to reduce risk should not be taken.

  • 10 Hope Street, Brunswick
  • 794 Sydney Road, Brunswick
  • 182 - 206 Lygon Street, Brunswick East
  • 356 - 360 Lygon Street, Brunswick East

All of these orders relate to a threat to resident safety caused by combustible cladding on the exterior of the buildings.

Moreland Council believes it is essential this work continues into the New Year in partnership with either the Victorian Cladding Taskforce or another state government agency. Please see the Victorian Cladding Taskforce's most recent report.

Determining a building's level of risk

The information obtained from investigations is being progressively forwarded to the Victorian Cladding Taskforce which will, in conjunction with Moreland's Municipal Building Surveyor, determine the building's level of risk.

The final determination about the level of fire risk will be made by Moreland’s Municipal Building Surveyor who has the responsibility to take immediate action to address extreme safety concerns associated with any building in the municipality under the Victorian Building Act.

Where buildings are determined to pose a life safety risk, the Municipal Building Surveyor can make an emergency order to address immediate building safety issues to prevent loss of life.

If this occurs, the Municipal Building Surveyor will issue an order to the Owners Corporation or owner to undertake immediate works to reduce the fire risk to a safe level for occupation.

In the most dangerous circumstances, this can mean building evacuation until appropriate measures have been undertaken.

Roles and responsibilities

The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) regulates building and plumbing practitioners in Victoria, including undertaking inspections, investigations and audits to ensure compliance with relevant legislation.

The VBA is the body responsible for receiving complaints regarding breaches of building legislation and the conduct of registered building practitioners, including builders and building surveyors.

Moreland Council has no legislative ability to investigate or take action in respect to the actions of licensed building practitioners.

Will my property be impacted?

Moreland residents with a question relating to their property can contact Moreland City Council on 9240 1111.

For more details about the assessment process visit the Victorian Cladding Taskforce website or the Victorian Building Authority for further information.

To determine your legal position in relation to your property, please seek your own legal advice directly or via your Body Corporate or insurance company.

If you are a tenant, please contact your agent or landlord. Moreland residents with a question relating to their property can contact Moreland City Council on 9240 1111.