First Building Product Use Ban Issued by the Commissioner for Fair Trading
The NSW Commissioner for Fair Trading has imposed the first building product use ban under the Building Products (Safety) Act, which commenced in December 2017.
The Act provides for the Commissioner to prohibit the use of a specified building product in a building if the Commissioner is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the use is unsafe.
The building product use ban, which came into effect on Wednesday 15 August 2018, prohibits the use of aluminium composite panels with a core comprised of greater than 30% polyethylene by mass in any external cladding, external wall, external insulation, façade or rendered finish in certain multi-storey buildings, subject to specific exceptions.
The ban on use applies to all buildings which meet the specified criteria, irrespective of when the building was constructed.
A corporation can be fined up to $1.1 million, and an individual up to $220,000, for not complying with the requirements of the ban.
The ban will remain in force until it is revoked.
Further detail regarding the ban and the reasons for the Commissioner’s decision can be found here:
Cladding Update in Victoria
In Victoria, Ministerial Guideline MG-14 (effective from 22 March 2018) already restricts the use of composite panels with 30% or more polyethylene by mass, as well as expanded polystyrene.
Melbourne consultants are invited to our Update on Cladding Investigations and Compliance event on 12 September. Hear from the VBA and fire engineer Jonathan Barnett about legal requirements for the use of combustible products and the findings from the VBA’s recent building audit. More information here.
New South Wales Government Action Plan for the Construction Sector
The New South Wales government’s Construction Leadership Group, whose member agencies include Infrastructure NSW and Transport for NSW, has released a ten-point commitment to the construction sector.
The action plan states that it designed to: encourage an increase in the ‘supply side’ capacity of the sector to meet future demand; reduce industry costs and down-time by making government procurement processes more efficient; develop the skills and capacity of the construction industry workforce; encourage cultural change and greater diversity in the sector and its suppliers; and drive innovation through fostering partnership and collaboration between the public and private sectors.
The commitments set out in the report are as follows:
- Procure and manage projects in a more collaborative way
- Adopt partnership-based approaches to risk allocation
- Standardise contracts and procurement methods
- Develop and promote a transparent pipeline of projects
- Reduce the cost of bidding
- Establish a consistent NSW Government policy on bid cost contributions
- Monitor and reward high performance
- Improve the security and timeliness of contract payments.
- Improve skills and training
- Increase industry diversity
The Government is described in the report as aiming to be a ‘best in class’ client for the construction industry and it suppliers. Whilst the action plan is clearly focused on contractor involvement in project delivery and procurement, perhaps this document signals a change in government approach that may lead to similar commitments being adopted by government when procuring the services of professional consultants.
You can read the full action plan document here: