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Cladding scare ‘costs strata schemes’

Some strata schemes are struggling to find cover due to the issue of flammable building cladding, an industry body says.

Strata Community Australia (SCA) says it is “stepping up its fight for fairness” and has called for a “whole-of-government approach”.

The group will hold a summit on cladding and building standards on December 7-8 at the Novotel in Melbourne.

“The impacts are far-reaching, affecting insurance and valuations,” SCA President Chris Duggan said.

“We know of strata schemes that are already struggling to find cover or facing a rise in premiums. We want to see more protection for strata owners, including an extension of the definition of major defects to include aluminium cladding.”

Mr Duggan says the most urgent step is to identify the presence of non-complying materials on buildings.

But beyond that, he says the question of who pays remains unanswered.

“Strata owners played no part in creating the problem, but because they are the ones with the most to lose it has been left to them to pick up the tab.

“This is a problem that has been many years in the making and the failures extend right through the supply chain.

“We know the problem is big, but we don’t yet know how big.

“Owners are facing large additional costs that had not been anticipated, firstly for inspections and then if rectification works or fire safety upgrades are required.”