The NSW Government has cast a lifeline to the state’s certifiers caught up in a shrinking insurance market by introducing a total ban on combustible cladding on all new buildings, following industry support for proposed new regulations discussed at a recent Ministerial Construction Council.
The new regulation, proposed by Mick de Brenni, minister for Housing and Public Works, would extend to all aluminium composite panels with a PE core of greater than 30% and would restrict usage across all buildings in Queensland.
De Brenni said the combustible cladding ban will allow certifiers to hold professional indemnity (PI) insurance with exclusions – “a time-limited solution that provides the industry with immediate confidence to continue operating.”
The state government also proposed requiring certifiers to declare that combustible cladding hasn’t been used, and that there hasn’t been any product substitution during the construction process. Another key solution discussed at the industry meeting was to allow certifiers to remain licensed while they are holding PI insurance featuring cladding-related exclusions.
De Brenni said the proposals would ensure that jobs growth in Queensland doesn’t slow and that the 400 licensed certifiers in Queensland will continue to operate “subject to stringent conditions.”
“We’ve already seen insurers attempting to cut and run from the market by withdrawing their insurance products and that means they escape their obligations, and that’s not on,” De Brenni said. “This has put at risk hundreds of thousands of jobs in the sector and it’s got the potential to impact homeowners who would be left holding the can if they have to pursue litigation with dodgy buildings. Certifiers provide a level of protection for homeowners and we need to keep them in the industry.”
De Brenni also called on the Commonwealth government to introduce an importation ban on all aluminium composite panels with a PE core.
“I’ve made numerous calls on the Commonwealth to ban this combustible cladding at the border, they can’t keep dodging this responsibility to the people of Australia,” De Brenni said. “This is an opportunity to both reduce risk and back Australian manufacturing jobs, to which Prime Minister Scott Morrison should be jumping at the chance. And again, I call on Minister Karen Andrews to urgently address the issue at a national level, as the retraction of the insurance market has to be rectified by the Federal Treasury.”