As Covid-19 continues to disrupt the building and construction industry, it is important to remember the other big ‘C’ – Cladding. Failing to crack on with cladding projects may come back to haunt parties impacted by cladding in the future.

Here we have three tips to help progress cladding projects and decrease the risk of feeling the pinch late

1. Diarise Deadlines

It is important to be familiar with any deadlines for compliance which may apply to a cladding project and keep them diarised.

For example, in Queensland a “cladding risk assessment” must be obtained by May 2021. This can be a lengthy process because it must consider various factors relating to the amount and type of cladding on a building, as well as the building’s fire performance overall.

South of the border In New South Wales, there is a continuing obligation to register buildings affected by cladding within 4 months of occupation, and there may also be deadlines imposed in Orders made by the Department of Planning relating to cladding.

2. Timely Testing

Knowing the type of cladding that a project is dealing with is critical to planning the next steps.

After samples have been collected, they must be tested and analysed to determine what they are and what flows from the diagnoses. It would be crushing to undertake a removal and rectification only to find out later that the type of cladding did not require this to be done.

Determining this can be difficult given the volume and variety of cladding materials used in the industry. Furthermore, the Insurance Council of Australia has recently reissued its rating system used by insurers for assessing the building risk posed by cladding. This means that projects that have undertaken testing may need to review the outcomes given the new ratings.

3. Recognise Recovery

COVID-19 and Cladding have collided at an area close to the heart of most projects – costs.

Cladding projects can be expensive and this may be exacerbated by COVID-19 which has seen construction costs vary as projects and their participants take a hit to their bottom line.

It is critical to consider areas where parties can recover the costs of their cladding projects, either from third parties involved in the original installation of the cladding, or from insurers who have underwritten the risk. Forming a view on recovery prospects quickly is key to avoid any limitation periods or other disentitlements arising.

If you have any concerns around insurance, delays, or compliance obligations regarding cladding on your projects, please don’t hesitate to take advantage of our Project Advisory services by contacting Morrissey Law + Advisory.

Morrissey Law + Advisory communications are only intended to provide commentary and general information as at the date of publication. They are for reference purposes only, do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Formal legal advice should always be obtained about particular transactions, contracts or matters of interest before taking any action based on this communication. Authors and contributors may not be admitted in all State and Territories.