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Building Ministers' Forum Calls for Mandatory Permanent Labelling of Cladding Products

The NSW Government, along with the Commonwealth and other states and territories, has called for mandatory permanent labelling of cladding products, Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said. State and Territory Building Ministers and the Commonwealth supported the move at the Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF), held in Adelaide yesterday. The Ministers agreed to the proposal for Standards Australia to develop a national standard for permanent labelling of aluminium composite cladding products that would then be mandated through the National Construction Code (NCC). Mr Kean said the agreement demonstrated the benefits of a united approach to cladding safety to help deliver the very best outcomes for residents across Australia. “I’m very pleased to have the support of my colleagues for this sensible reform that will help us ensure the right products are being used in the right ways,” Mr Kean said. “This new requirement is just the latest step in a series of ongoing reforms regarding the use of cladding across NSW. “I can assure the community that we will continue to push for effective, nation-wide action to give Australians certainty and security when it comes to the buildings where they live, work and play.”  Commonwealth Minister for Small and Family Business, the Workplace and Deregulation Craig Laundy commended Minister Kean on the forum’s results. “I congratulate Minister Kean for playing a key role in assisting myself and the other building Ministers in reaching a common sense solution to what is a problem that needs to be solved,” Mr Laundy said. Queensland Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni welcomed the move as a win for cladding safety across the country. “This is a major step in ensuring that buildings with cladding are safe for emergency workers, and a great example of what a bi-partisan approach to a major issue can achieve,” Mr de Brenni said.   More information on the NSW cladding taskforce is available at fair.trading.nsw.gov.au
Press Release
Minister Matt Kean

Apartment dogs bring 'No Pets' policy to heel

It's a modern-day love affair, set in the glistening, ultra-chic twin towers of Altair in Sydney's Rushcutters Bay. The pair met four years ago, batting eyes as they passed one another in the lobby of the 20-storey apartment complex. Since then, Mambo and Cherry have been regularly smooching and running around the local park together, while pursuing independent lives two floors apart. Maltese poodles ("moodles") can be like that – wildly affectionate, with an edge of boundary-setting – and besides, Mambo has a busy life as an ambassador for the City of Sydney's Strata Paws workshop, which gives tips on how to provide a better life for pets in apartment blocks. 
Sydney Morning Herald
Greg Callaghan

Urban Forest Fund helps turn concrete common areas into apartment block oases

A recent study projected daily temperatures in Melbourne would rise 3.8C above existing records by the end of the century, even hitting 50C on some days. But as our cities get hotter, green spaces are increasingly being looked at as a way to cool the concrete jungles. It has even prompted the City of Melbourne to offer predominantly ratepayer-funded grants to owners wanting to green private land.    
ABC News
Nicole Mills

Fair Trading to ban dangerous aluminium cladding in NSW

The same aluminium cladding that caused the deadly Grenfell Tower fire in London more than a year ago will be banned in NSW as of next Wednesday. It will be an offence to use the building product and corporations could be fined up to $1.1 million and individuals up to $220,000 for its installation. NSW Fair Trading said the ban would also apply retrospectively to buildings where the product was installed before the new rules were announced. Ms Stiles  said the the product ban did not go to the heart of the problem. “Those products were already banned. We don’t know need another ban, we need enforcement of the existing regulation. There’s been substitution and there’s been inadequate supervision,” Ms Stiles said. “The current regime of self-certification is letting down the community. It’s very concerning and the government needs to take action to ensure the community is protected from substituted, non-compliant products.”
Domain
Tawar Razaghi

On The Rise: Residents Outraged As Apartments Become AirBnb's

As Nashville continues to experience unprecedented growth, residents in downtown apartment buildings have started feeling the impact of essentially unchecked numbers of Airbnb units suddenly surrounding them overnight. "We signed on for a residential community, and it is a gross misuse of residential units that are being turned into tourism units," says Sam Forum. "When you put so many Airbnb’s in one concentrated place you are essentially turning it into a frat house," she adds.  
News Channel 5
Chris Conte

Can the design of an apartment affect your mental health?

Researchers from Melbourne and Western Australia have launched a study looking at whether state government design policies for apartments help to improve people’s mental health and wellbeing. The study, Optimising apartment design policy to equitably enhance mental health, a collaboration between RMIT and the University of Western Australia, also aims to influence future apartment design policies introduced or updated by state governments in Australia.
Domain
Melissa Heagney

Objecting owners forced to sell in Macquarie Park strata renewal scheme

One of the first strata renewal and collective sales of apartments in NSW has closed in Sydney's Macquarie Park, but not without a long-drawn legal stoush between owners and buyer that could be cause for a review of new laws. Developer VIMG's acquisition of 40 out of 48 apartments at 159-161 Epping Road was one of the earliest collective sales strata lots in NSW since the introduction of the new strata renewal rule in late 2016, where 75 per cent of owners of a scheme can force its sale for urban renewal. While new laws might not be perfect initially, the Owners Corporation Network said these initial cases highlighted a need for the NSW government to re-examine them. "I think it is time for the legislators to review the law in light of initial cases whether it is best-practice regulation that they hoped for," OCN chief executive Karen Stiles said. "The renewal process should be robust and that dissenting owners should be given due process."
Australian Financial Review
Su-Lin Tan

Victoria turns to EUA model to rectify flammable cladding crisis

Victoria will introduce a “world-first” financial mechanism to help residential building owners pay for urgent rectification works caused by the installation of non-conforming and non-compliant flammable cladding on high-rise apartment buildings in the state. Planning minister Richard Wynne on Thursday said changes to the Local Government Act would introduce “Cladding Rectification Agreements”, or CRAs, which would be similar to the Environmental Upgrade Agreement (EUA) model, which allows owners to upgrade buildings and pay off the costs via council rates. Under the model, owners or owners corporations would enter into an arrangement with lenders and a local council, accessing a long-term low-interest loan to pay for the building works, which would then be paid off by an increase in council rates over a minimum period of 10 years. Costs would be transferred to new owners if the property were sold.
The Fifth Estate
Cameron Jewell

Neighbours' lives turned upside down by Airbnb and other 'disruptors'

Defecating in the sauna. Breaking bottles in the apartment tower’s swimming pool. Leaving running taps on so apartments flood. Vomiting in the foyer.  This is just some of the behaviour Katherine Hughes has seen from short-stay guests in her A’Beckett Street apartment tower. Each weekend the 70 per cent of permanent residents in the tower face an onslaught of holidaymakers.
The Age
Clay Lucas

Brooklyn Airbnb Host Is Slapped With $32,000 Fine by New York City

Should an Airbnb host renting out a spare bedroom or two be subjected to the same rules as a hotel? Should Airbnb give a complete list of its hosts' names and contact information to local government officials so they can enforce those rules? And what exactly should happen to Airbnb hosts who don't follow all the requirements for a hotel, such as installing an automatic sprinkler system? These are among the questions at issue in lawsuits between the City of New York, Stanley "Skip" Karol, an Airbnb host in Brooklyn's Sunset Park neighborhood, and Airbnb. Their resolution could have implications for Airbnb hosts across the country.
inc.
Minda Zetlin

Supreme Court rules in favour of Victorians with disabilities: Owners corps to pay for modification works

Apartment owners could have to pay for additional building works following a Supreme Court decision hailed as a victory for Victorians with disabilities. In a decision with potentially widespread and costly ramifications, owners corporations must make “reasonable adjustments” to accommodate tenants and visitors with a disability, or risk being found guilty of discrimination.
Domain
Allison Worrall

Stratas granted ability to fine hosts of illegal Airbnb suites $1,000/day

Homeowners groups in British Columbia will soon be able to fine owners or residents up to $1,000 a day for defying the corporation's bylaws on short-term rentals. The B.C. government says the regulations for the so-called strata corporations will be changed as of Nov. 30 to help the associations address short-term rentals, such as those arranged through Airbnb and other vacation websites.
CTV News

Airbnb told to be clearer on total cost of bookings

Airbnb has been warned that its terms and conditions fall foul of EU consumer rules, especially on pricing. The European Commission has told the firm to tell consumers up-front the total cost of renting a property, including service and cleaning charges.
BBC News

Replacement cladding fails fire safety test

A popular cladding brand failed a safety test this week - despite being seen as so fire-safe that it is permitted on tall buildings without any extra tests, Newsnight has learned. Cladding removed for failing tests may be being replaced by this brand, which has now failed the same test. 
BBC News
Chris Cook