OHS and WHS: new safety laws for building products

by Kylie Field

Dec 19, 2017

Companies which use banned building products in NSW such as aluminium cladding could be hit with fines of more than $1 million dollars under new safety laws.

According to the Safety Institute of Australia, the legislation also includes fines of up to $220,000 for individuals who breach bans.

The laws were introduced following the catastrophic fire, which engulfed London’s Grenfell Tower, and was caused by combustible aluminium cladding.

“This incident was a reminder of the need to do everything possible to keep residents living in high-rise buildings safe,” said Matt Kean, NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation.

“These new laws will make it easier for us to inspect and to pinpoint exactly where unsafe cladding is on high-rise residential buildings across this state,” Kean said adding the new laws will make it easier to fix buildings with combustible cladding.

Fire and Rescue NSW has inspected about half of the 1000 buildings (including all residential high-rise buildings) identified in a state government audit in July as potentially containing highly flammable cladding.

Of those, less than 100 are considered as having potentially unsafe cladding, with further investigations required.

Law firm Minter Ellison has produced an update on the issue, and noted that a number of jurisdictions in Australia have started to formulate legislative responses to curb safety risks associated with combustible cladding on buildings.

Queensland was the first state to introduce laws, in the form of the Building and Construction Legislation (Non-conforming Building Products – Chain of Responsibility and Other Matters) Amendment Bill 2017 (Qld), followed by NSW with its Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Fire Safety and Building Certification) Regulation 2017, which came into effect on 1 October 2017.

At a Federal level, the Customs Amendment (Safer Cladding) Bill 2017 was introduced to clamp down on the importation of aluminium cladding, however, the Bill has not yet passed through both houses.

 

 


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