On 24 August 2017, legislation addressing non-conforming building products was passed by the Queensland Parliament. This legislation is the first of its kind in Australia.
Non-conforming building products (NCBPs) are building products and materials that are not of acceptable quality, do not meet Australian standards, are not fit for their intended purpose, or contain false or misleading claims.
- establishes a chain of responsibility, placing duties on building supply chain participants (including designers, manufacturers, importers, suppliers and installers) to ensure building products used in Queensland are safe and fit for intended purpose
- expands the compliance and enforcement powers of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC), and the responsible minister.
Code of Practice
To assist industry in meeting their obligations under the amended Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991, the Department of Housing and Public Works is preparing a Code of Practice on non-conforming building products.
The Code of Practice will give everyone in the supply chain guidance on how to comply with these new laws.
The department recently released a draft Code of Practice for public comment. This consultation has now closed. More information will be available soon.
NCBPs can cause serious health and safety issues for Queenslanders.
It is a concern they are making their way into the Australian building and construction industry supply chain.
This Australia-wide issue is complex, and affects several industries including manufacturing, importation, retail and construction.
National program of work
Queensland is leading national work on ways to address the issue of NCBPs, whether domestically manufactured or imported.
The national Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF), via its Senior Officers’ Group (SOG), has investigated the issue and endorsed a plan to help address the problem.
The SOG is comprised of senior officers from each state and territory as well as the Commonwealth. The Department of Housing and Public Works is the current secretariat for the SOG. Queensland is also the Chair of the SOG and the Deputy Chair is Victoria.
The BMF asked Queensland to lead the implementation of the strategy that looks at ways to improve state and territory building regulatory frameworks.
- 31 July 2015—BMF established the SOG (PDF, 203KB) to form a national approach to address the issue of NCBPs.
- 19 February 2016—Outcomes of the SOG investigation were considered and given in-principle agreement by the BMF. The SOG released a consultation report (PDF, 1MB) to seek feedback on the best way to implement the strategies. The SOG is now implementing these strategies.
- 30 June 2017—Queensland Government sets up an Audit Taskforce to conduct targeted investigations of buildings in Queensland.
- 24 August 2017—Queensland Parliament passes a suite of reforms—the most comprehensive building product safety laws in the country.
What is the Audit Taskforce?
The Queensland Government has established an Audit Taskforce to conduct a targeted investigation into buildings using aluminium composite cladding and other possible combustible products.
The Audit Taskforce is working to identify government and privately owned buildings of possible concern.
Work is being prioritised, starting with hospitals, aged care facilities, accommodation buildings, high occupancy public and private buildings, and high-rise office buildings.
The Taskforce is made up of representatives from the Department of Housing and Public Works, Queensland Health, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) and the QBCC.
In relation to privately owned properties, the QBCC is supporting local authorities to identify any buildings of concern.
Investigations include a review of building certification documents, visual inspections by building surveyors and/or fire engineers, and independent tests of any material of concern in accredited laboratories.
Are Queensland buildings safe?
Maintaining the safety of Queensland buildings involves many factors, including the adequacy of existing fire safety systems.
It is important to note that investigations by the Audit Taskforce are in addition to an already strong building safety system in Queensland. Mandatory fire safety systems in commercial and accommodation buildings may include fire alarms, sprinkler systems, and evacuation requirements. Hospitals have comprehensive emergency safety measures in place.
If issues are identified during the audit process, the Audit Taskforce will work closely with building owners and local authorities to explore solutions.
While the risk of an incident is low, if you have concerns about a building, please contact the QBCC
on 139 333 or QFES