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Cladding removal ramps up in Vic but other issues found

The race to remove combustible cladding has ramped up in Victoria but other significant defects have been found in about one-third of buildings assessed.

Dangerous cladding had been removed from 272 buildings as of June 30 2022, more than two-and-a-half times the number completed the year before.

The material had been entirely removed from 171 multi-storey apartment buildings and 101 government-owned buildings.

The Cladding Safety Victoria annual report for 2021/22 showed removal was still under way or yet to start on about 38 per cent of buildings deemed a risk.

More than 146,000 square metres of cladding was removed, equivalent to more than seven times the size of the turf at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The MCG is among government-owned buildings that have had cladding removed, which also includes hospital buildings, TAFES, a fire station, law courts and public housing.

About 41 per cent of buildings examined by Cladding Safety Victoria were approved for funded rectification works.

However, other defects were found in about one-third of buildings.

They included leaking roofs, substandard beams or joists, fire safety issues, insulation problems and major balcony concerns.

"These balconies are clearly not compliant with Victoria's building and construction regulations and many pose serious health, safety and amenity risks," the report says.

It prompted board chairman Rod Fehring to call for "systemic issues" in the building industry to be addressed in the near future.

About two-thirds buildings approved for cladding removal were low-rise apartment buildings.

About 13,000 residents have been affected by the works, including about 38 per cent in the City of Melbourne alone.

In 2019, the Victorian government committed $600 million to remove dangerous cladding from about buildings across the state following the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire in London that killed 72 people.

Aluminium cladding was linked to the Lacrosse building blaze in Docklands in 2014.

High-risk cladding has been banned in Victoria since early 2021.