News August 2020
Combustible Cladding – remedial experience makes the difference
As a specialist remedial builder, CJ Duncan has completed numerous combustible cladding replacement projects in both the commercial and residential strata sectors, since the 2018 government ban on the use of various flammable building materials on the facades of many classes of building.
Unsurprisingly, it is very apparent that almost all of these buildings have other serious defects that require remedial building expertise and concurrent remediation. In fact, the combustible cladding often masks bigger issues that lay beneath, such as combustible insulation materials, inadequate sarking and vapour barriers, and significant waterproofing problems.
So far, we have unearthed building defects including incorrect flashing details, leaking balconies due to waterproof membrane failures, leaking windows and doors, and combustible cladding installed on balcony walls with floor tiles being laid directly up against it – a waterproofing disaster.
Flammable cladding affected building owners are under increasing pressure from Councils, insurers and tenants to undertake the necessary remediation works, to help ensure the life safety of the building’s occupants and importantly, achieve compliance with the Building Code of Australia.
Unfortunately, the cost of recladding works is invariably required to be met by the building owner, in the first instance, notwithstanding many owners are contemplating legal action against the original builder, developer, architect, engineer(s) and building certifier to try and recover these costs, if they still exist. Although sadly, many owners also realise that their prospects of a successful legal recovery are limited, or non-existent, due to the expiration of the strict time-limits to commence proceedings, the lack of meaningful professional indemnity insurance for respondents to claim against, and the ever-present risk that their litigation targets will simply ‘phoenix’ at the 11th hour – avoiding all liability.
It follows, that if owners are going to have to go through the cost and day-to-day onsite inconvenience of combustible cladding remediation, they ought to try and address as many of their other remedial defects as they can practically afford, at the same time. Concurrent works ought to restore the property’s value and save the owners from more financial pain in the long run. Hopefully, it’s a case of do it once and do it well!
Our advice to owners is to engage a remedial builder, who can best address the other remedial issues that are almost certainly going to be unmasked in the cladding remediation process. We may all look the same… but not all builders are remedial builders. It’s an area that requires particular expertise. To assist you, we recommend you engage remedial consultants with waterproofing and facade experience – to help you undertake thorough investigation works, upfront, to inform a detailed scope of works and ultimately, engage the right type of builder.