The Queensland Government’s care package to Bodies Corporate

Good news for bodies corporate! The Queensland Government has announced an extension to the compliance period for the next two (2) stages of its Safer Buildings Program.

All bodies corporate comprising of a class 2 to 9 building, of Type A or B Construction and built (or cladded) after 1 January 1994 and before 1 October 2018 were required to register their details on the Safer Buildings website and upload their completed Combustible Cladding Checklist (“the Checklist”) by 29 March 2019. If you believe your building falls within one of these categories and you have not yet registered your building, contact the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (“QBCC”) immediately, or alternatively contact our office. Failing to register your building may see the body corporate prosecuted and fined by the QBCC for its non-compliance.

If, after submitting Part 1 of the Checklist, the QBCC’s online system determined that your building remains potentially affected by combustible cladding, the body corporate will be required to proceed with Part 2 of the Checklist. Following completion of Part 2, the online system may then indicate the body corporate is required to complete Part 3.

After consultation with peak bodies in May, the Minister for Housing and Public Works, Mick de Brenni, extended the deadline for compliance with Part 2 from 29 May 2019 to 31 July 2019 and Part 3a from 27 August 2019 to 31 October 2019, with stage 3b still to be completed by 3 May 2021. Even though the extension has given bodies corporate some breathing room, this does not mean bodies corporate should be complacent.

Part 2 of the Checklist requires the body corporate to engage a building industry professional to provide a building industry professional statement to assess the building’s attributes against the requirements of the Building Code of Australia. Ultimately, this statement will determine the type of construction and provide advice to the body corporate on whether any combustible cladding products are contained within the external wall or another external part of the building. If the building industry professional statement determines the building is not affected, the QBCC online system will automatically exclude your building from further consideration.

When engaging a building industry professional to provide this statement, the body corporate should ensure the person they are engaging has the appropriate qualifications as required by the Building Regulation 2006 (“the Regulation”). Under the Regulation, a building industry professional is considered a:

  1. Building certifier (Level 1);

  2. Builder (Open Licence);

  3. Building Design (Open Licence);

  4. Fire Safety Professional;

  5. Practising Architect; and

  6. Practising Professional Engineer (Civil Engineer, Fire Engineer, Fire Safety or Structural Engineer).

For a building that is no more than 3 storeys and has a total floor area of less than 2,000m2, a building industry professional may also be a building certifier (Level 2) or a person who holds a licence in the class of Builder (Medium Rise) and/or Building Design (Medium Rise).

Notably, in the media statement announcing the extension, the Minister encouraged property owners (including bodies corporate) to ‘shop around’ and get their building assessed at a competitive price. This is amidst concerns some building professionals were charging exorbitant fees to property owners to prepare a building industry professional statement for lodgement with Part 2 of the Checklist.

Whilst the QBCC is currently examining allegations that some building industry professionals are potentially overcharging, we recommend bodies corporate obtain more than the mandatory two (2) quotes from qualified building industry professionals so that the body corporate can be certain it is not being overcharged. It is also imperative bodies corporate obtain these quotes sooner rather than later (if not already) to ensure decisions are made in a complaint manner.

We previously put together a facts sheet with information to help bodies corporate understand their obligations under the Safer Buildings Program. Please see our updated facts sheet here, reflecting the extended timeframes for compliance. As always, we are here to help. If you have a question, please contact us.


Disclaimer:
Reliance on content the material distributed is general information only. The information supplied is not and is not intended to be, legal or other professional advice, nor should it be relied upon as such. You should seek legal or professional advice in relation to your specific situation.