Eighteen building owners, body corporates and individuals pleaded guilty in Brisbane Magistrates Court between May 2022 and January this year in separate prosecutions brought by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC).
QBCC Commissioner, Anissa Levy, said the Safer Buildings Program had helped create more certainty and safety in regard to construction materials used on Queensland buildings.
“These laws help protect us all in the buildings where we live, work and gather, and were introduced following the tragic death of 72 people in London’s Grenfell Tower,” Ms Levy says.
The legislation involved a three-stage process with building owners required to register their building before providing relevant information relating to potentially combustible cladding on their building at each stage of the program.
Building owners were then able to exit the program depending on what was identified in the previous stage/s.
QBCC commenced prosecutions relating to 35 private buildings which resulted in a total of $82,000 in fines and orders to pay $17,750 in legal costs for failing to provide required documentation for potentially combustible cladding on their buildings.
Of the 35 prosecutions commenced, 18 matters entered a timely plea of guilty, with fines imposed ranging between $2,000 and $8,000 for companies, $2,000 to $5,500 for body corporates and $1,500 for individuals.
In the remaining 17 matters, it was determined that cladding had been rectified prior to prosecution proceedings or ultimately found to not be combustible.
Stage 3 required the building owner to provide the QBCC with a cladding checklist, Building Fire Safety Risk Assessment and a report from a registered fire engineer.
“The laws have increased public safety by helping to identify which buildings in Queensland contain combustible cladding on their external walls and any associated risks,” Ms Levy says.
Queensland Government changes to the Building Regulation 2006 which commenced on 1 October 2018 required owners of particular buildings to undertake an assessment of the material used on external walls of their building by using a combustible cladding checklist.
The checklist process is designed to identify which buildings are affected by combustible cladding and whether cladding rectification work is likely to be required to achieve an acceptable level of safety. The deadline for building owners to submit the checklist without penalty was 3 May 2021.