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Victorian builders seek halt to cladding prosecutions

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Victoria’s construction industry wants the state Government to suspend prosecuting builders for installing flammable cladding in a bid to encourage voluntary reporting of affected properties.

The number of privately owned buildings in the state identified as being in danger from the material has risen above 1200, and the Master Builders Association says more builders would come forward to report problem constructions if the fear of legal repercussions was removed.

“Master Builders Victoria continues to advocate that an all-of-industry solution is required, in addition to a moratorium on litigation for builders who want to contribute to the rectification without fear of reprisal,” the association says.

The state Government has committed $600 million to remove the combustible material from high-risk buildings.

The Victorian Building Authority (VBA), which is leading the Victorian Statewide Cladding Audit on behalf of the Victorian Government, revealed at a surveyors’ conference that it has categorised more than 1200 private Victorian buildings as at moderate or high risk for combustible cladding. The audit does not include public buildings.

Safety concerns over flammable external wall cladding have plagued the construction sector since flames raced up the cladding at the Lacrosse building in Docklands five years ago, after a burning cigarette was left on a balcony.