On 16 September 2021, the Building Amendment (Registration and Other Matters) Bill 2021 (Bill) passed the third reading in the First House: Legislative Assembly. Hence, amongst other amendments, section 49A of the Bill proposes to amend section 134(2) of the Building Act 1993 (Act) by extending the limitation period for bring an action for defective cladding work from 12 years to 15 years.
Therefore, building owners, owners corporations and local councils have more time for action against builders responsible for installing combustible cladding. This is due to the amendments specified within the Bill. The purpose is so that parties can prioritise cladding removal without needing to urgently commence recovery proceedings. This recognises the complexity of beginning cladding-related legal action, as well as the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
Quotes on the matter attributable to the Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, are:
“Owners are in this situation through no fault of their own and it’s only right they have as much time as possible to pursue compensation through the courts.”
“We’re continuing to lead the world in responding to this international problem and helping to ensure those who have done the wrong thing contribute to the cost of fixing their mistakes.”
As identified in our previous article “Victoria’s Combustible Cladding Nightmare – Local Council’s beware: Holy Sheet? We are responsible!” dated “14/09/2021”, local councils will inevitably be joined into the storm of litigation proceedings surrounding combustible cladding. The above extension merely delays the inevitable.
However, local councils should see the extension as an opportunity to strengthen their internal policies and project governance procedures. Furthermore, time to prepare for, and seek advice on, the risks and liabilities. As well as any other concerns that local councils may with respect to their exposure and involvement in the installation of combustible cladding over the years. Local councils will enjoy the benefit of cost savings and the opportunity to identify early mitigation strategies. By beginning the above analysis and preparation early and ahead of the wave of litigation proceedings.
Need More Information or Help?
If you have any immediate questions in relation to these matters, for more information please contact our Construction Team, Chloe Moorfoot (Chloe.Moorfoot@fal-lawyers.com.au) and Malcolm Liu (Malcolm.Liu@fal-lawyers.com.au).