Combustible cladding controversy

Conveyancing Mar 15, 2021

3 min read

Screen Shot 2022-08-02 at 4.03.16 pm
Screen Shot 2022-08-02 at 4.03.16 pm

Combustible cladding hit the news in 2014 thanks to a fire in the Lacrosse apartments. We covered the basics in this article on what you need to be aware of when looking at buying apartments.

Since the issue was identified, the State Government has been conducting an audit of apartments, aged care homes and hospitals via the Victorian Building Authority. However, what has recently come to light is that this audit is currently only going to apply to multilevel properties and not to single or double story homes.

And it’s not just apartments

As some new homeowners have discovered (to their detriment), their homes have had highly unsafe aluminium cladding installed too. Unfortunately, once you’ve settled, this becomes your problem to resolve (unless the Vendor and agent knew about it and didn’t disclose – in which case you may have some recourse). And it can be a pricey problem to have to address.

When you are looking to purchase a property, whether freestanding or otherwise, it’s important you investigate as to whether this type of cladding has been used as part of your other building inspections. A good quality building report will include this sort of information, or if you specifically want them to look for it, then ensure you let the building inspector know this is of concern to you!

What happens if there is combustible cladding?

What happens next is up to you. You can choose to withdraw from the sale (subject to the terms of the contract), you could request the Vendor cover the cost to have it removed and replaced or that the price be reduced to account for the costs, or, you can cover these costs yourself (and account for these costs in your offer to purchase the property).

Prior to making any offer on a property, ensure you have a qualified Conveyancer or Solicitor look over the contract and ensure you have the ability to withdraw from a sale if the property doesn’t meet your standards.

Important to note here is that the issue of combustible cladding is not isolated to apartments and/or multiple storey dwellings. The presence of this issue can potentially be problematic with finance approval and insurance and ongoing enjoyment of the property!