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Cladding audits : The problem of combustible cladding and the wider problem of NCBPs and non-compliant building work
Governments in Australia and the UK see their duty to the public in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire in simple terms of making buildings safe through cladding audits and bans on cladding products. But in the process they are largely ignoring the underlying issues that have led to the proliferation of Non-Conforming Building Products (NCBPs) and the even bigger problem of the non-compliant use of building products. By burdening strata/apartment owners with the costs of identification of suspect cladding as well as the costs of rectification, they have unfairly burdened the public and sent the wrong message about building compliance. This paper identifies a more equitable and effective approach to the immediate problem of combustible cladding and the wider problem of NCBPs and non-compliant building work. The paper discusses the need for all parties in the building supply chain to raise their game, how to avoid the incidence of substandard building products, and the need for professional associations to impose more stringent accreditation requirements on their members. Various regulatory and non-regulatory solutions are then proposed to help improve the building regulatory system.
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Rodger Hills is the Executive Officer of the Building Products Innovation Council (BPIC). He has over 35 years’ experience in the building industry, originally in design/specifier roles, later in building product manufacturing firms, and most recently in the building regulatory and industry advocacy space. Rodger is passionate about improving the quality and performance of building stock in Australia and has written numerous submissions to the government on the suggested improvements to the National Construction Code and government procurement processes, curbing the incidence of non-conforming building products, as well as developed industry guides on construction product conformance data and the substitution of construction products.