Insights from the Queensland Safer Buildings Checklist Part 3 industry breakfast
Last week DMA Engineers and McCullough Robertson hosted a joint industry breakfast event to provide a forum for discussion about the next stage of the Queensland Safer Buildings checklist.
The event was attended by more than 60 members of industry, from building and facility owners to architects and certifiers.
We kicked off with a presentation from Philip Halton, Deputy Commissioner of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC), which was followed by a panel discussion where Philip was joined by:
- Kristen Walker, Safer Buildings Principal Manager, QBCC
- Robert Mulhern, Safer Buildings Investigations Senior Lead, QBCC
- Stephen White, Partner, McCullough Robertson
- Alex Power, Special Counsel, McCullough Robertson
- Koroush Keshavarz, Associate Director & Principal Fire Engineer, DMA Engineers
If you were unable to attend the event and are interested in some of the key topics discussed, we’ve pulled together some of the highlights below:
- The representatives from QBCC noted that:
- minor amendments to the legislation had been tabled in August 2019.
- evidence of engagement of a fire engineer for Part 3 can be in the form of a short contract or a ‘letter of intent’. A full contract is not necessary.
- Relating to insurance:
- engagement with the insurance industry is still in early stages.
- Stephen White from McCullough Robertson noted that the response to date has been a combination of insurers leaving the market (particularly off shore insurers) and an increase in premiums from those who remain.
- local (on shore) insurers have seen an opportunity to step up, increasing premiums and offering cover excluding ‘façade’ type project work.
- the insurance industry will take time to reset and represent.
- Alex Power from McCullough Robertson suggested that there will be additional cost to clients for Certifier/Fire Engineering services in the future given the increase cost of insurance and additional cost to building owners/managers for any fixes required.
- there will also be an impact on the industry following Lacrosse judgement/appeal, particularly in respect to warranties.
- it is time for the legislative framework in Queensland to be updated.
- With regards to compliance by building owners, QBCC noted that post 2021, the response of building owners in complying with the cladding legislation will be monitored to decide if further legislation is required to mandate necessary cladding rectification works being carried out.
- The Safer Buildings team indicated that the online system is currently being updated to:
- make it easier for owners to nominate agents to act on their behalf.
- allow the building owner to reverse from Part 3 to Part 2 to amend the online checklist for re-submission as appropriate, for example due to decision to remove/ replace the existing combustible cladding with compliant products or newly acquired information that confirms the non-combustibility of the cladding. However, if a building owner removed the combustible cladding from the building can response No to question 8b and the building can exit from Part 3 cladding.
- QBCC also indicated that legislative changes will not consider acceptance of cladding with > 30% combustible core content despite some advice out in the market.
- Acceptance of cladding with no greater than 30% combustible core content is subject to fire engineering justifications (on a case-by-case basis).
- The Certifiers in attendance raised the issue that they can’t currently comply with Part 3 and have insurance cover for their advice. This was acknowledged by QBCC who indicated that this issue is being considered by the legislators, the Minister and QBCC in consultation with industry and industry insurers.
If you could like more information about the topics discussed at the breakfast, or advice on the next steps you need to take to comply with Part 3 of the Queensland Safer Buildings Cladding Checklist, get in touch with Koroush Keshavarz on firstname.lastname@example.org