Senate Inquiry into Non-Conforming Building Products

On 23 June 2015, the Senate referred the issue of non-conforming building products to the Senate Economics Reference Committee for inquiry. The Committee handed down its Interim Report on 4 May 2016.

On 11 October 2016, the Senate agreed to the Committee’s recommendation that this inquiry be re-adopted in the 45th Parliament. Within the context of the broad terms of reference of the inquiry, the Committee sought submissions regarding the illegal importation of products containing asbestos.

The Committee was previously required to report on its terms of reference relating to asbestos imports by 28 April 2017, with a full report on all terms of reference by 25 May 2017. On 30 March 2017, the Senate granted an extension of time for the Committee to report.

In light of the tragic fire at the Grenfell tower in London in June 2017, the Committee agreed to prepare an additional interim report on the implications of the use of non-compliant external cladding materials in Australia as a priority. On 17 August 2017, the Senate agreed to extend the reporting dates for the interim report on asbestos and the final reporting date.

On 6 September 2017, the Committee released its interim report on aluminum composite cladding.

On 14 February 2018, the Government tabled its Response to the Interim Report on aluminium composite cladding in the Senate:

The Committee is due to report on its Terms of Reference relating to asbestos imports by 31 October 2017, and the final report on all terms of reference by 30 April 2018.

For further information on the Senate Inquiry visit the Parliament of Australia website.

Non-Conforming Building Products

The issue of NCBP, whether domestically manufactured or imported, is an important and complex issue for the Australia. NCBPs can have life safety, health, economic, legal and social consequences. While it is unclear how widespread the issue is throughout Australia; the issue of NCBPs is not confined to building or plumbing products.

There is an important distinction between non-conforming products and non-compliant products:

  • Non-conforming building products are products or materials that claim to be something they are not; do not meet required standards for their intended use; or are marked and supplied with the intent to deceive those who use them.
  • Non-compliant building products are products that are used in situations where they do not comply with the requirements of the National Construction Code (NCC).

The building conformance framework for non-conforming building products centers on the constitutional authority held by state and territory governments and enacted through their building legislation. As such, compliance and enforcement is ultimately a matter for each state and territory to review and address.

The Commonwealth has developed a one-stop-shop national webpage hosted on the ABCB website, and linked with the webpages of state and territory building authorities.

The national webpage provides a single point of information for consumers and the building product supply chain on NCBPs, and allows users to submit complaints/reports directly to the appropriate jurisdiction.

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