Owners of residential apartment buildings affected by high risk combustible cladding have hailed the introduction of Project Remediate; a New South Wales Government scheme that was announced within the New South Wales Budget in November 2020.
Project Remediate aims to fast-track the removal of unsafe cladding on at least 230 buildings that have already been identified as high risk by the NSW Cladding Taskforce. This inter-agency body was established by the New South Wales Government in June 2017 to investigate and identify the fire safety risks associated with the combustible cladding on buildings in New South Wales.
Combustible cladding generally comprises lightweight aluminium composite panels that are attached to the façade of a building. These panels can contain a flammable plastic material that is sandwiched between thin sheets of aluminium. This construction finish has left some Owners Corporations with high remediation and replacement costs in order to mitigate the fire risk coupled with massive insurance premium increases.
The New South Wales Government has allocated $139M to co-ordinate the remediation process and to meet interest costs on commercial loans taken out by building owners over the next three years for the removal and/or remediation of this material. This financial relief may in turn allow Owners Corporations to free up funds to explore recovery for these remediation costs from the parties who were responsible for the installation and supply of the defective cladding.
Indications are the eligibility for the scheme criteria will comprise two elements, firstly that the building must be a residential apartment building (Class 2) or a mixed use building that is part commercial and part residential. Secondly the building must have been assessed by the Cladding Taskforce and contain a high risk combustible cladding material in its façade that requires remediation.
At this stage, the New South Wales Government has indicated applications for the scheme will likely open in March 2021. In the interim, the Department of Customer Service will be setting up the assurance service, finalising the loans model and engaging a financial provider and managing contractors. The program design, eligibility and the loan scheme will be announced late December/early 2021 and applications are expected to open around March 2021.
As part of this scheme the Office of the Building Commissioner will provide a no cost assurance and technical advice service to oversee the remediation work of each affected property.
Key dates for Project Remediate are expected to be as follows:
- Early 2021: Program design and loan scheme details to be announced
- February 2021: Tender process for the managing contractor for the quality assurance scheme
- March 2021: applications open for building owners.
Strata Choice is working with both Strata Community Association (NSW) and Project Remediate to assist our affected clients.
Disclaimer: The articles and comments in this publication are necessarily brief and general in nature and are not intended to be relied upon by any reader in dealing with a particular problem. Whilst all care has been taken in the preparation of this publication the writer and the producers accept no liability for any omission or misguidance.