Remediation Work Proposals for Mitigating Cladding Risk for Buildings Containing Combustible External Cladding

The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) is encouraging building surveyors to familiarise themselves with the application of Minister’s Guideline 15 (MG-15).

MG-15 was issued by the Minister for Planning under the Building Act 1993 to provide guidance to Municipal Building Surveyors (MBS) and private building surveyors (PBS) when considering the suitability and risk of existing combustible external cladding.

MG-15 reflects the Victorian Government’s policy for the adoption of a risk-based approach to the reduction of fire risk associated with combustible cladding.

Cladding Safety Victoria (CSV) has recently published the Protocols for Mitigating Cladding Risk (PMCR) on its website, as a methodology for assessing and mitigating cladding risk as contemplated by MG-15.

MBS and PBS must have regard (pursuant to section 188(7) of the Act) to the PMCR, and any other guidance published or issued by CSV.

Application of MG-15

MG-15 states that MBS and PBS must have regard to:

  • Any information, advice or support provided by CSV or the Department of Transport and Planning (DTP), which is expressly identified as being provided for the purpose of MG-15. This can be provided to the MBS or PBS directly, or indirectly via information published on the CSV or DTP website.
  • A Remediation Work Proposal prepared by CSV and provided to the MBS or PBS by CSV or by building owners or another party.

To provide greater clarity to MBS and PBS and other practitioners advising on cladding risk about what “must have regard to” means in practice, the following has been determined:

  • The requirement to “have regard” to CSV/DTP advice or a Remediation Work Proposal creates an obligation on the MBS to give consideration to that advice when making decisions.
  • A Remediation Work Proposal creates an obligation on the MBS to give consideration to that advice when making decisions. An MBS should have their considerations and reasons for any departure from CSV’s advice.
  • The consideration of CSV’s advice regarding a specific building or on more general matters related to combustible cladding, is to be undertaken along with the building surveyor’s own professional judgement, exercise of discretion and consideration of the Code of Conduct for Building Surveyors (the Code).
  • Building surveyors may consider alternative pathways or options and should demonstrate their decision making when determining and being satisfied with an alternative pathway when deviating entirely or partially from MG-15 and CSV guidance. It is noted that the Code of Conduct requires building surveyors to act in the public interest when providing building surveying services.
    • If a building surveyor makes a decision to depart from CSV’s advice it is expected that the MBS documents reasons for the decision, the technical basis for the decision including a detailed explanation of how any alternative approach mitigates cladding risk and any underlying evidence such as product identification or product performance which has informed the building surveyor’s position.

In summary, “must have regard to” with reference to MG-15 means building surveyors and other practitioners advising on cladding risk must consider guidance provided under MG-15. Should building surveyors decide to deviate from it, they must document the decision and the reason for it.

MG-15, CSV’s methodology, building assessment and advice on cladding risk mitigation has been published to assist building surveyors to carry out their functions and to facilitate efficient and consistent outcomes for consumers.

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