Flammable Cladding Fixes On Track for NSW Buildings


Remediation work to remove highly flammable cladding from high-risk buildings in NSW is moving ahead.

Fifty strata communities of the 214 eligible residential apartment buildings in the state have registered for the NSW government’s three-year program, dubbed Project Remediate.

The initiative provides a 10-year interest-free loan, expert assurance and professional project management services to oversee the remediation works.

The material being removed, aluminium composite panels, was banned in NSW in 2018. It is the subject of two separate class actions against manufacturers and suppliers after having been widely used in Australia since the 1990s.

Under the program, cladding may be replaced with fibre cement panels, non-combustible cement render, solid aluminium panels or solid metal sheets—all installed with cavity barriers and fire-proof mechanical fixings.

The project comes almost four years after similar combustible cladding fuelled a fire at the high-rise residential Grenfell Tower in London that killed 72 people.

The NSW Cladding Taskforce said there were 372 buildings deemed to be high risk—seven of which are government owned—after 4127 inspections.

The majority, 171, of identified buildings have been expertly assessed with two buildings still awaiting assessment.

A NSW government spokesperson told The Urban Developer the buildings could not be disclosed under instruction from NSW Police and NSW Fire and Rescue.

NSW better regulation minister Kevin Anderson said it was encouraging to see lot owners, strata communities and managers accepting the offer.

▲ The three-year program provides an interest-free loan period, and professional project management services to oversee the remediation works.

“I’d like to see that number quadruple in the coming weeks,” Anderson said.

“We’re on track to commence assessment and project design for the first batch of 30 buildings by July this year, with the first cladding removed later this year.

“Registering will start the process to have your building assessed and a design prepared—there is no obligation or commitment involved by registering.”

Strata communities who register to participate in the $139-million program will have their building assessed and a remediation design prepared before they decide whether to commit to the remediation work.

Anderson said the State government had launched new resources to help strata communities understand what’s involved in Project Remediate and the benefits of joining.

“We’ve also launched a free course in collaboration with TAFE NSW to outline the remediation process for strata managers, strata committees and lot owners who join the program,” Anderson said.

Earlier this year, the Victorian government revealed a new amendment to the state’s building code to prohibit the use of certain external wall cladding products in the construction of multi-storey buildings.

In Queensland, the state-government-led taskforce is auditing all buildings constructed in the state since 1994.

Queensland in 2018 passed laws requiring certain privately owned buildings to be cleared or remedied.

Cladding is currently being removed from a number of high-profile, privately owned Brisbane CBD buildings.

A $25-million refurbishment of Brisbane’s 60-year-old Christie Centre was announced in February after the state government completed a fire audit of the building.

In mid-2020 there were still 2700 privately-owned buildings in Queensland which had not yet been cleared of having flammable cladding.

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