Proposed amendments to the Building Act address the Victorian Cladding Taskforce’s Interim Report recommendation to implement priority measures to prevent the use of aluminium composite panels (ACP) with a polyethylene core and expanded polystyrene (EPS) cladding, for class 2, 3, and 9 buildings of two or more storeys, and class 5, 6, 7 and 8 of three or more storeys.

The amendment will provide the Minister for Planning with the power to declare a ban on the use of a high-risk external wall cladding products. Where high-risk external cladding product is defined as being a combustible building product that is or will provide a risk of death or serious injury arising from its use, whether it is to occupants of the building or neighbouring buildings, the public or any property.

To ensure the power is not applied to all building products, a new definition of ‘external wall cladding’ will be included in the Building Act.

These reforms will replace the existing interim Ministerial Guideline and provide a more permanent and robust ability for the government to prohibit the use of these types of products.

The prohibition on the non-compliant use of these products will be contained in the Building Act, which will also mandate compliance and provide consequences for not complying with the guideline.

The VBA and the municipal building surveyor will have the powers to enforce compliance with the prohibition utilising existing offence and practitioner discipline provisions of the Building Act, including fines of up to $400,000 or 5 years imprisonment.