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On 23 June 2015, the Australian Senate referred the issue of non-conforming building products to the Senate Economics Reference Committee. The Committee released its interim report ‘Safety – not a matter of good luck’ on 4 May 2016.
The Senate Committee is due to hand down its interim report by 31 August 2017 and the final report by 31 October 2017.
Health and safety risks posed by non-conforming building products (NCBPs) also continue to be a priority for the Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF). It is for this reason that the BMF established the Senior Officers’ Group (SOG) to focus on strategies for addressing NCBPs and report on ways to minimise the risks to consumers, businesses and the community associated with the failure of building products to conform to relevant laws and regulations and at the point of import.
The SOG is comprised of senior officers from the regulator agencies from each State and Territory Government as well as from the Commonwealth Government. The Queensland Department of Housing and Public Works is the current Secretariat and Chair of the SOG.
The SOG has developed an Implementation Roadmap to help plan and map out the realisation of several key recommendations and outcomes that have been agreed to and which are currently being pursued nationally. These include:
Download a copy of the report Strategies to Address Risks Related to Non-conforming Building Products.
Issues with NCBPs have been previously identified in aspects of construction in Western Australia, including structural steel and electrical cabling (that is, in the case of Infinity cables).
The issue of NCBPs has become particularly pertinent in Western Australia in recent times given the detection in July 2016 of chrysotile asbestos in a roof panelling product at the new Perth Children’s Hospital (PCH). The department has subsequently undertaken an audit of the PCH, as well as other buildings across the state which have used similar building products. The department released an interim report on the PCH audit on 13 September 2016. The final report outlining the audit findings was released on 24 April 2017.
As part of the State Government’s contribution to the work of the SOG established by the BMF to focus on strategies for addressing NCBPs, the department is providing funding to ensure the completion of required research relating to NCBPs, and have successfully managed an open tender process to select a suitable research entity to undertake the research. This major project includes the completion of independent and quantitative research to improve the evidence base relating to NCBPs to help better determine the scale and prevalence of issues. The research will also involve the analysis of key supply chain factors, the evaluation of risk, relevant retrospective examination as well as some limited market testing. The lead researcher working on the project is Professor Russell Kenley from Swinburne University.
If you wish to provide any information about a non-conforming building product that you have come across within Western Australia, please email the relevant information to NCBPs@dmirs.wa.gov.au.