Class actions and product bans – cladding suppliers now feeling the heat

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By Scott Higgins, Partner and John Hibbard, Lawyer

While regulators announce their intentions to impose fresh liabilities on building practitioners, the prospect of litigation is stalking manufacturers and suppliers of combustible cladding products.

On 14 February 2019 a class action relating to the supply of combustible cladding was launched in the Federal Court of Australia against the manufacturer and supplier of Alucobond ACP under the Australian Consumer Law (not to be confused with the unrelated Alucobest product mentioned above). In Victoria, expressions of interest are being sought for another possible class action to claim rectification and compensation for losses caused by the defective cladding.

The impetus for regulatory reform provided by Lacrosse and the Grenfell Tower fire in the UK has now been further propelled by recent events. A final report into the damage to the Opal Tower (see our previous article here) was released on 19 February 2019 and will be the subject of a future article.

More generally, the Hayne Royal Commission’s scathing rebuke of banking and finance regulators has contributed to a growing sense that regulators in all areas undertaking their roles with increased fervour, perhaps fearful that a fresh commissioner may soon be forensically analysing their decisions.

2019 is shaping up to be a huge year for regulation of the building and construction industry. We will keep you abreast of developments.


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