Aluminium Composite Panel audit

The Attorney-General's Department (AGD) is coordinating a building audit in response to recent concerns regarding the use of Aluminium Composite Panels (ACP) on buildings.

ACP is frequently used for external cladding or facades, insulation and signage along with internal applications.

How the audit is being managed

The building audit is being delivered across three phases with phases one and two being delivered in collaboration with councils, the Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) and the Country Fire Service (CFS).

  • Phase one identifies buildings that need to be prioritised.
  • Phase two investigates the sites to determine the risk.
  • Phase three provides responses relative to the risk.

Purpose of the audit

The audit aims to identify buildings clad with ACP and provide recommendations and actions to ensure safety.

If a building is identified as being a risk to safety, the State Government, council and the relevant fire authority (MFS or CFS) will take immediate action as appropriate.

A council's Building Fire Safety Committee or regional Building Fire Safety Committee has a range of powers to require building owners to ensure the fire safety of an existing building.

The Commonwealth and all states and territories are also undertaking audits of buildings that have or may have ACP.

Concerns with Commonwealth owned buildings should be directed to the Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

Three phases of the audit process

The three phases of the audit process are identification, investigation and response.

Once the prioritised buildings have been completed, an audit of remaining buildings will start, having regard to the:

  • building classification
  • height and number of storeys
  • occupancy profile
  • presence of in-built life safety provisions.

Phase one - Identification

Buildings that have or may have been clad with ACP were identified.

Buildings approved after 2010 with the following characteristics were prioritised, including:

  • residential buildings more than two storeys:
    • apartments
    • hotels
    • motels
  • aged care facilities
  • hospitals
  • schools
  • assembly buildings
  • any buildings with occupants who may be unfamiliar with the means of escape or require assistance to escape.

Phase two - Investigation

Buildings identified in Phase one were investigated. Investigations included site inspections and review of approved plans and documentation to see if the cladding presented a risk to safety.

Phase three - Respond

Under the Development Act 1999 an authorised person may take a range of actions if they believe the ACP presents a risk to safety.

These actions range from alerting an owner or occupier of any risk to their safety, through to issuing emergency orders that require immediate action be undertaken.

Phase one of the building audit was delivered in collaboration with councils.

Identification of buildings in the Adelaide CBD was completed at the end of July 2017 all other councils completed Phase one by early 2018.

22 Councils self reported buildings that warranted further consideration and investigation during Phase two

  • City of Adelaide
  • Adelaide Hills Council
  • City of Burnside
  • City of Campbelltown
  • City of Charles Sturt
  • District Council of Copper Coast
  • Town of Gawler
  • City of Holdfast Bay
  • Kangaroo Island Council
  • City of Marion
  • Mount Barker District Council
  • Rural City of Murray Bridge
  • City of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters
  • City of Onkaparinga
  • City of Playford
  • City of Port Adelaide Enfield
  • City of Port Lincoln
  • Roxby Downs Council
  • City of Salisbury
  • City of Unley
  • City of Victor Harbor
  • City of West Torrens

45 Councils self reported that they have no buildings of concern in Phase one

  • Adelaide Plains Council
  • Alexandrina Council
  • The Barossa Council
  • Berri Barmera Council
  • District Council of Barunga West
  • District Council of Ceduna
  • Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council
  • District Council of Cleve
  • District Council of Coober Pedy
  • Coorong District Council
  • District Council of Elliston
  • District Council of Franklin Harbour
  • Regional Council of Goyder
  • District Council of Grant
  • District Council of Karoonda East Murray
  • District Council of Kimba
  • Kingston District Council
  • Light Regional Council
  • District Council of Lower Eyre Peninsula
  • Loxton Waikerie Council
  • Mid Murray Council
  • City of Mitcham
  • City of Mount Gambier
  • Mount Remarkable
  • Naracoorte Lucindale Council
  • Northern Areas Council
  • District Council of Orroroo Carrieton
  • District Council of Peterborough
  • Port Augusta Council
  • Port Pirie Regional Council
  • City of Prospect
  • District Council of Robe
  • Renmark Paringa Council
  • Southern Mallee District Council
  • District Council of Streaky Bay
  • Tatiara District Council
  • City of Tea Tree Gully
  • District Council of Tumby Bay
  • Wakefield Regional Council
  • Town of Walkerville
  • Wattle Range Council
  • Whyalla City Council
  • Wudinna District Council
  • District Council of Yankalilla
  • Yorke Peninsula Council

If people have concerns about buildings they own or occupy, they should contact their council Building Fire Safety Committee for more information.

Phase two of the building audit was delivered in collaboration with councils. The Department engaged with council Building Fire Safety Committees who identified buildings in Phase one to ensure a consistent approach to investigation.

This phase investigated the type of ACPs present and the installation method used to see if the cladding presented a risk to life safety. This included a review of building plans and approvals, site visits and comprehensive inspections.

Phase two Interim Audit Findings

Findings and recommendations of Phase two are now complete.

A Summary of the South Australian Building Cladding Audit Interim Report (PDF, 169 KB) provides information about the findings to date and the Phase three commitments and timelines.

30 buildings have a risk rating of High or above. Owners’ actions to address the audit findings and recommendations will be monitored on a regular basis.

Buildings found in Phase two that need improvements to ensure their safety could be subject to rectification work. Any privately owned buildings identified to have ACP present, owners have been notified of the audit risk rating, recommendations, and action required.

What needs to be done

Rectification work could include:

  • replacement of the ACPs as part of the general ongoing maintenance routine
  • removal of part or all the ACPs as a matter of urgency
  • additional alarms, escape points or sprinklers
  • placement of barriers that prevent fire spread, should an ACP catch fire.

Government will be responsible for ensuring that its own buildings are safe.

Councils will be responsible for ensuring any buildings they own are safe and also that the owners fix any privately owned buildings identified.

In many cases existing fire safety systems will provide the level of safety required if they are maintained to the relevant standards.

With additional information provided by owners or building managers, a number of risk ratings have been lowered.

Some buildings have started or completed rectification works. Updated statuses for buildings in the High and Extreme risk categories can be seen in the SA Building Cladding Audit Status Report (PDF, 645 KB).

For government owned buildings identified to have ACP present, the relevant agencies have been notified of the audit risk rating along with recommendations and required action.

There were two government owned buildings identified with a risk rating of High, and rectification works for both buildings have been completed.

Milestones

  • July 2017 - Phase one commenced across South Australia.
  • July 2017 - Phase one completed in City of Adelaide.
  • Aug 2017 - Phase two commenced in City of Adelaide.
  • May 2018 - Phase one completed in remaining councils.
  • May 2018 - Phase two commenced in remaining councils.
  • October 2019 - Phase two completed for public owned buildings and privately owned residential and assembly buildings.
  • November 2019 - Phase three commenced. Owners and occupiers are being notified.
  • February 2020 - Phase three ongoing. Risk ratings for both public owned and privately owned buildings are progressively being lowered as further investigation and work is being undertaken.

Buildings found in Phase two that need improvements to ensure their safety could be subject to rectification work.  Any privately owned buildings identified to have ACP present, owners have been notified of the audit risk rating, recommendations, and action required.

What has the South Australian Building Cladding Audit found

After examining thousands of buildings across the state, a detailed audit identified almost 300 residential and assembly buildings with some level of façade cladding present. Details of the Audit findings are now available on this page.

No buildings in South Australia were found to be at a level of risk to warrant evacuation.

Two government-owned buildings with Aluminium Composite Panel (ACP) cladding were risk-rated as high by the Audit and work has started on these buildings to reduce this to an acceptable level (i.e. low or moderate).

28 private buildings with ACP cladding were rated as either High (21) or Extreme (7) risk and local Councils are in communication with building owners.

Recommendations have been made about what should be done by building owners to reduce the risk to an acceptable level (i.e. Low or Moderate). The remedial or other work required on public buildings will be done in collaboration with the fire safety authorities. Remedial work on private buildings will be overseen by local Councils as the responsible authority for ensuring the safety of private buildings.

For specific information about a building, individual owners, lessees and tenants should contact the Building Manager or Owners’ Corporation.

How do I know if my building is safe?

Individual owners, lessees and tenants should contact the Building Manager or Owners’ Corporation for information about your building.

If a building facade includes ACP, this does not necessarily mean the building is unsafe.

The audit was undertaken to see:

  • if a building has façade ACP cladding
  • the life safety risk impact of this material on the building
  • how that risk can be eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level.

How can a building be safe if it has ACP cladding?

The Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) and the South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Commission (SAFECOM) are closely involved in the Audit process.

Their expert advice is that even if a building has some ACP cladding on the façade, if the building’s active fire safety system will ensure people can safely exit if a façade fire occurred, then the building may be classified as safe.

An active fire safety system is fire warning or suppression equipment that triggers automatically in the event of a fire, such as:

  • sprinklers
  • fire extinguishers
  • smoke alarms
  • automatic fire doors
  • fire control systems
  • and other fire safety measures.

For more information about a specific building, contact the Building Manager, Owners’ Corporation, or local Council.

What measures are recommended to increase safety?

DPTI has worked with fire safety authorities to identify specific actions that may be taken in response to the Audit to reduce risk to an acceptable level. These include installation of an active fire safety system and removing ACP from:

  • around exits
  • around firefighting equipment
  • the first three metres above ground level
  • within one metre of a balcony.

In private buildings any work to improve the life safety risk should be undertaken in consultation with the Council’s Building Fire Safety Committee and may require a Development Authorisation.

Who is responsible for fulfilling these recommendations if needed?

If a government agency owns the building, that agency is responsible for ensuring that all fire safety measures are appropriate and operational, and that any remedial work required is undertaken. This work will be overseen by the Department, in conjunction with the MFS.

If a building is privately owned, the building owner must adequately maintain the fire safety of their buildings. They must submit evidence to council each year that the maintenance has been undertaken.

When a Council believes a building’s fire safety is not adequate it must take appropriate action under the Development Act 1993.

Councils can order the building owners to prepare a report on the building’s fire safety and to develop plans to fix it under the guidance of a fire engineer and the Council Building Fire Safety Committee.

Who will pay for any work done on a building to reduce risk?

The cost of any works undertaken in response to the recommendations of the Audit are the responsibility of the owner of the building.

What happens now?

The Department will monitor building owners’ responses to the recommendations made in their building’s Audit.

A summary of this information and any further recommendations may be included in the Final Report of the Audit prepared when all identified buildings have been fixed to a safe level.