Topic: Featured

Combustible

Combustible: The dangerous legacy of failed regulation in the building industry.

“You shouldn’t have a combustible product on the outside of a building of this type, so how has this been allowed to happen?” Fire officer

Across Australia, governments, councils and the building industry are grappling with a problem so large, it almost defies belief.

“It’s unquantifiable…” Senior Fire Officer

Residential buildings, hospitals, shopping centres and commercial buildings, have been built with flammable aluminium cladding, posing a potentially serious fire risk.

“As soon as I saw that on television that night, straight away I knew it was a cladding fire.” Cladding supplier

It took the catastrophic Grenfell Tower fire in London, which claimed at least 80 lives, to set off alarm bells here, but as Four Corners will reveal, the danger posed by this cladding should not have come as a surprise.

“You can’t tell me that if this product, by all reports, has been used widely in the industry for 10 to 30 years, that major suppliers … didn’t know where this product was going to end up.” Fire officer

On Monday, Four Corners investigates why huge amounts of this aluminium cladding has been installed on so many of our buildings, and whether a desire to cut costs won out over caution.

“We have, if you will, a builder, a certifier and a fire engineer who are incentivized to reduce cost.” Fire Engineer

Insiders say there has been a colossal failure of regulation and oversight.

“There’s people out there that would have absolutely no idea what they’re doing and they’re installing it incorrectly, and they’re the people we compete against every day.” Builder

With access to the tests now under way on suspect aluminium cladding, we reveal the enormity of the problem facing authorities and ask who will pay to remove and replace it.

“Everyone has someone else to point the finger at. The product of deregulation and self accreditation, this process of abrogation of responsibility is that no one is responsible.” Federal politician

Combustible, reported by Debbie Whitmont and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 4th September at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 5th September at 10.00am and Wednesday 6th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.


Jerry-Built: A New Major Category of Building in Australia?

Planning Minister Richard Wynne and VBA CEO Prue Digby must be very concerned with their stated positions that the Lacrosse Building in Docklands that burnt in November 2014 is safe to occupy after Dubai’s sadly aptly-named Torch Tower caught fire for the second time in two years.

 

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Letter from the NT Government

Dear stakeholder
RE: Residential Building Cover (RBC) Package Review 2013

The Minister for Lands, Planning, and the Environment has announced an independent review into the Residential Building Cover Package. A copy of the Review’s Term of Reference is attached for your information.

The Review Panel will as part of its review be testing the RBC package against past builder failures in the Northern Territory to quantify the extent that the current RBC package (including the cover provided by the fidelity fund scheme) would have benefited consumers.

The Panel is also inviting comment from stakeholders to assist in identifying if there are any potential modifications to the RBC package which will reduce the red tape burden on the building industry whilst maintaining consumer protection.

An Issues Paper has been prepared to help generate discussion and is available from www.nt.gov.au/rbc.

You are encouraged to provide your written comments by 26 August 2013, which may be forwarded by email to rbi@nt.gov.au or by mail to RBC Review Panel, PO Box 1680 DARWIN NT 0801.

Yours sincerely
Residential Building Cover Review Panel
12 August 2013


Darwin Builder Meeting

The builders meeting held on the 11th July attracted both builders and consumers, and was successful considering the blanket advertising blitz undertaken by the Master Builders.

Whichever way the Fidelity fund is presented nothing alters the fact that it is a LAST RESORT product with a narrow claims criteria of only four triggers that will not deliver to our clients/consumers a responsible consumer protection regime.

Remember builders pay for every cent of compliance and consumer protection and we want a say in what is provided.

We want a regime that will protect our consumers, manage our industry, and deliver the intended benefit and not embarrass our Government and our industry.

Government have a responsibility to us to deliver an appropriate regime on our behalf and not abrogate their responsibility to the expensive secretive private sector last resort scheme that will not deliver as “CHOICE” has stated in the past, and are now currently reviewing at our request.


Alice Springs Builders Have Their Say

Thursday June 6 saw virtually all the Alice Springs builders come together over concerns bought on by the introduction of the MBA Fidelity Fund by the previous Government as a kneejerk reaction to the Carey Builders failure.

This Last Resort scheme in the southern States has had devastating impacts on both builders and consumers with unimaginable outcomes, and has been maintained under an illusion as the regulatory oversight was removed by the instigators at the outset.

The nations consumer advocate ‘Choice’ in their written assesment of Last Resort refer to it as Junk policies/certificates not worth the paper they are  written on, and making a mockery of consumer protection while the Productivity Commission state its been a running sore since inception.

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The State of the Nation

Every State except Tasmania is undertaking a review of their consumer protection-warranty insurance regimes because of the constant critisism from consumers and the legitimate building industry associations however the one association being the Housing Industry Association (HIA) that has enjoyed the ear of Governments over the past decade considers the Last Resort Warranty Insurance concept they introduced back in 2002 that still manages our industry is appropriate today. HIA also enjoy the support of MBA Victoria.

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Conflict and anger

“Conflict and anger”

Describes the warranty insurance regime in the states where Last Resort insurance exists and is inflicted on both the consumer and builder when a dispute arises.

The Baillieu, O’Farrell, and Barnett Governments all know the issues as they have conveyed them to their parliaments on behalf of builders and consumers over their years in opposition. (more…)


The Age

Builders Warranty Insurance — the great “scam”

These stories were on the front page of the AGE newspaper and one would hope they will prick the conscience of the Baillieu Government as this matter is now well beyond a joke and hurting Victorians in the extreme.

There is more to life than money and this insurance can be dropped with a stroke of a pen by your Government right now! (more…)