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QLD Audit Taskforce in the wake of Grenfell tragedy

Following the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy, property owners around the world have no doubt gone back to their books to investigate the flammability of materials used in their buildings to ensure another disaster isn’t repeated.

The fire sparked apartment building safety audits in numerous countries, including Australia. Just hours after the Grenfell Tower fire, experts were quick to point towards the cladding used in a recent upgrade of the building as the likely culprit for the ferociousness with which the fire spread. While the type of cladding that was used on Grenfell is banned in countries such as the United States and Germany, it is surprising to note that similar products are used in other countries like UK, France, and Australia.

Audit Taskforce

The Palaszczuk Government recently established a building Audit Taskforce to investigate the use of substandard building supplies in Queensland. Comprised of 15 officers, the taskforce’s aim is to conduct an audit focusing on buildings that were established between 1994 and 2004 using aluminium composite cladding. The move was a response by the government after a potentially non-conforming cladding product was discovered during an inspection on the Princess Alexandra Hospital at Buranda.

The taskforce will focus on:

  • Hospitals and aged care facilities,
  • High occupancy public and private buildings,
  • Accommodation buildings, and
  • High-rise office buildings.

Since these materials are relatively new, it will focus firstly on buildings of that particular age range.

Strata Community Australia (QLD) will be working hand-in-hand with the Housing Minister and the State Government to determine the safety and financial impacts this audit may cause unit owners or strata property stakeholders.

What this means for the strata community

The strata community has already seen a surge in enquiries from insurers requesting information on the cladding used in Australian buildings. It is widely believed that the Grenfell Tower insurance bill will be one of the most complicated payouts ever, so there is an increased awareness from insurers about the possible risks.

There has long been a requirement to disclose the building materials used when sourcing insurance quotes to ensure building materials are compliant prior to an insurer offering cover. If there is non-compliant building materials that the insurer sees as dangerous, the insurers can put conditions on policies to limit risk or even decline to provide a quotation at all. However, even compliant materials can be dangerous and may affect insurance moving forward. In certain cases, owners may have to shoulder the expense of the removal and replacement of cladding if found to be high risk.

What to do if you’re concerned

  • Developers are required to hand over details like plans, warranties and information on building materials, so bodies corporate may well have that information available. If you can’t source these details, you could engage a consultant or building expert to review your building.
  • If building materials don’t comply with the necessary Australian standards, you may need to seek legal advice.
  • Even if they are compliant, you should seek independent advice as to whether or not they are still dangerous.
  • Act on any advice to rectify or mitigate any risks.


    • Consider sites like to help find a contractor that can inspect your building.
    • Ensure that your fire safety obligations are up to date and residents are aware of procedures such as how to evacuate the building in an emergency.
  • Speak with your body corporate manager for further guidance.

This article was contributed by Grant Mifsud – Partner, Archers the Strata Professionals

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