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Property group joins call for cladding register

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The Australian Property Institute (API) has backed calls for a public register to improve transparency around buildings affected by the flammable cladding crisis.

“The creation of a register will assist valuers, lenders and purchasers in quickly identifying properties that represent high risk because of flammable cladding,” CEO Amelia Hodge said. “This is an important issue that must be addressed.”

States are acting on combustible cladding following the 2014 fire at Melbourne’s Lacrosse building and the Grenfell Tower disaster in London two years ago that killed more than 70 people.

But despite reforms, it often remains unclear whether a property has a problem, leaving buyers facing unknown extra costs, insurers wary of cladding risks and residents exposed to hazards.

Commonwealth Bank last week supported a cladding register while Westpac has called for greater transparency.

“The health and safety of our customers is paramount,” a spokeswoman for Commonwealth, Australia’s largest home loan lender, told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“We would be supportive of a public register that effectively assists home owners and occupiers to identify the compliance of properties to requisite building and safety standards.”

The dangers were highlighted again earlier this year when a fire at the Neo200 building in Melbourne quickly spread up the exterior of several floors.

“Transparency and clarity will give homeowners and residents greater peace of mind, so we are very supportive of the property sector, government and banks working together to solve this issue as quickly as possible,” a Westpac spokesman said.

In February litigation funder IMF Bentham revealed it is supporting a combustible cladding class action in the Federal Court in Sydney, to be conducted by William Roberts Lawyers.

The claim against 3A Composites and Halifax Vogel Group relates to Alucobond polyethylene cladding products.

Consumer law specialist Maurice Blackburn has decided against a separate action after conducting preliminary investigations.