Australian combustible cladding class actions – important information regarding Omni Bridgeway’s online registration for building owners, bodies corporate and public bodies
Building owners, bodies corporate and public bodies of properties in Australia who believe their buildings may be affected by combustible cladding will find important information on Omni Bridgeway’s Australian Combustible Cladding Class Actions webpage. The webpage contains Notices for likely class members that have been approved by the Federal Court of Australia and full details of the online registration process.
Dispute funder Omni Bridgeway and William Roberts Lawyers are working together to investigate and bring viable claims for compensation in relation to certain types of aluminium composite panel cladding with a combustible core comprised wholly or substantially of polyethylene (PE). PE core cladding is often used for aesthetic purposes to act as a cover for part or all of the external walls of a building. However, it is combustible. The safety risk associated with its use, especially multi-storey buildings, is now well known. A number of fires around the world have drawn attention to this issue, including the Lacrosse building fire in Melbourne on 25 November 2014, and more recently and poignantly the Grenfell Tower fire in London on 14 June 2017.
Two separate class actions, funded by Omni Bridgeway, have been commenced in the Federal Court of Australia. The actions are being brought on behalf of owners, owners corporations and leaseholders of Australian buildings affected by PE core cladding.
The first action, which commenced in February 2019, is a product liability class action against the manufacturers of ‘Alucobond’ PE and Plus cladding products, the German company, 3A Composites GmbH and the Australian company, Halifax Vogel Group Pty Ltd. Omni Bridgeway is also funding a second class action against the manufacturer of ‘Vitrabond’ PE and FR cladding products, Fairview Architectural Pty Ltd. The claimants in both actions are represented by William Roberts Lawyers.
In addition to the product liability claims against the manufacturers, both class actions include claims for false or misleading representations and misleading conduct with respect to Alucobond PE core cladding and Vitrabond PE core cladding.
Federal Court-approved Notices
Owners of properties in Australia who believe their buildings may be affected by combustible cladding should view the Federal Court-approved Notices for information on how to participate in the Australian class actions. The Federal Court has approved a written Notice for each of the class actions and has also approved an audio-visual Notice in relation to the Alucobond class action, one of the first such notices to be approved in Australia:
Compensation to be recovered
The main compensation to be sought for affected persons and entities is the amount that represents the cost of replacing the PE core cladding with suitable cladding or other material, together with all associated costs. Other losses that may be claimed include the cost to make the building fire safe where the cladding can remain on the building, increased building insurance premiums and the loss suffered from a devaluation of the affected property.