The release last week of Cladding Safe Victoria’s most recent research paper revealed a range of building defects that have been discovered as contractors remove combustible cladding and re-clad selected buildings under CSV’s re-cladding programme. This report has received significant media coverage and highlighted issues such as failing balconies and inadequate waterproofing, with an interviewed Building Inspector querying knowledge levels of architects, building designers, engineers, builders, building surveyors and building inspectors. The Institute, together with other industry bodies is currently participating in a Victorian Building Authority led Design Standards Working Group to uniformly raise the general standard of construction documentation. I fully expect that architectural documentation is leading industry standards, however we are all aware that building codes and building technology continue to change and evolve which means all architects need to continually update across an ever-increasing spectrum of regulatory knowledge.
The VBA has a significant, publicly funded, research division that regularly issues Building Practice Notes across a broad range of building code issues, highlighting how the National Construction Code, should be interpreted and applied to projects. These practice notes have been issued for years to all Registered Building Practitioners such as builders, engineers, plumbers et al. As architects are registered by the Architects Registration Board of Victoria, and not the VBA, architects, nor the ARBV or the Institute, have previously been the recipients of these practice notes. One of the benefits of the many industry meetings that I attend has been the opportunity to raise this oversight with the VBA and encourage forwarding of these practice notes. The VBA has consequently developed a mechanism to forward these notes to the Institute as they are published. The Institute now, through the vehicle of our fortnightly newsletter, will make the relevant practice notes available to all members. The first note we have attached is RP02 on box gutters: RP 02 Box Gutter’. Over a few pages the note summarily reviews design and performance parameters of box gutters, requirements for their support, overflow, expansion and other provisions. I would encourage all members to focus on this aspect of our fortnightly newsletters to appreciate the latest VBA advice and strengthen your knowledge of the NCC. There should be no more conversations on site with the plumber advising of the latest interpretation of how a box gutter should be constructed without our prior knowledge of the advice!
Also I wanted to appraise members that recently the Victorian Chapter Council has welcomed a new Councillor to the fold: Mick Moloney of Moloney Architects, based in Ballarat. Mick was nominated to fill a casual vacancy out of the normal electoral cycle to represent the interests of regional members, and we look forward to the insights and knowledge Mick will bring to Council. All Council members are on Chapter Council to represent the interests of members and convey to the Institute attitudes and concerns members might hold. Please do not hesitate to communicate a concern or issue to a Councillor familiar to you, or indeed one you have voted for, to enable an issue to be raised and discussed at Chapter Council.
David Wagner FRAIA
President of the Victorian Chapter