Class action lawsuits launched over flammable cladding

By Leith van Onselen

Back in April, Alucobond supplier Halifax Vogel Group (HVG) and its manufacturer 3A Composites were targeted in a class action by apartment owners in a Sydney building. They are being represented by William Roberts Lawyers in the first combustible cladding class action in Australia. They claim that the cladding on their building does not meet standards applicable to consumer protection laws, and that 3A Composites and Halifax Vogel Group should pay for it to be replaced, as well as compensation for expenses such as higher insurance premiums.

Now a second class action lawsuit has been launched against the second biggest composite panels supplier, Fairview Architectural, who has also been taken to the Federal Court by William Roberts Lawyers and IMF Bentham on behalf of owners of units in the Solis Apartments tower in western Sydney. The action alleges that Fairview Architectural’s polyethylene-core Vitrabond panels do not comply with consumer protection standards. It makes similar arguments to one already launched against HVG, which is the largest supplier of combustible cladding in Australia. From The AFR:

The two companies, HVG and Fairview are not the only suppliers of ACP in the Australian market…

“In our assessment the lion’s share of the market is covered by Alucobond and Vitrabond,” he said.

“We’ve got the two biggest. Why bother going after any more if you’ve got the two biggest?”

The appetite for punitive action against cladding suppliers is growing…

The two cases could give compensation to owners of potentially thousands of apartments across Australia, as well as owners of commercial and government buildings and even long-term leaseholders with the obligation to rectify defects.

So that’s the two biggest suppliers of flammable cladding embroiled in class action lawsuits. If they lose these cases, then the ramifications could be huge, resulting in many millions of dollars in compensation. Surely other suppliers will also then be dragged into litigation.

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