Following the tragic fire at the Grenfell Tower in London in 2017 and the fire at the Lacrosse Building in Melbourne in 2014, new laws have been made for buildings with combustible cladding. The laws are part of a whole-of-government response to the fire safety risks posed by external combustible cladding.
These laws are the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Identification of Buildings with Combustible Cladding) Regulation 2018 and State Environmental Planning Policy Amendment (Exempt Development – Cladding and Decorative Work) 2018. They commence on 22 October 2018.
Under the Regulation, owners of certain buildings with external combustible cladding are required to register their building with the NSW Government through a simple, user-friendly online portal. For buildings occupied before 22 October 2018, the deadline for registration is 22 February 2019. Owners of new buildings will be required to register their building within four months of the building first being occupied.
The Regulation applies to the following building types (both new and existing buildings) of two or more storeys:
- Residential apartment buildings
- Other types of residential buildings where unrelated people sleep. For example, hotels, boarding houses, backpackers, student accommodation
- Aged-care buildings; hospitals and day surgeries (and any associated single dwellings within the building)
- Public assembly buildings. For example, theatres, cinemas, schools and churches (and any associated single dwellings within the building).
The Regulation applies if any of the above buildings have external combustible cladding made of the following materials:
- metal composite panels, including products that consist of aluminium, zinc, or copper outer layers and a core material; or
- insulated cladding systems including systems comprised of polystyrene, polyurethane, and polyisocyanurate.
There are also new provisions in the Regulation that require referral of certain 'alternative solutions' (under the Building Code of Australia) involving external combustible cladding to Fire and Rescue NSW.