Unions ACT has urged the territory government to audit privately-owned buildings in Canberra that may have combustible cladding and create a public register all buildings for such products.
The government is currently auditing all ACT government-owned buildings to identify all such buildings with combustible cladding, to identify any that may need removal.
While the government's cladding working group chairman Geoffrey Rutledge said the group was working with the private sector to identify any such buildings in Canberra, that work has stopped short of conducting a full audit.
Unions ACT secretary Alex White said the union was concerned the government was doing "the bare minimum" when it came to privately-owned buildings.
"Our concern is that there's no obligation on private building owners to actually check if panels might have the polyethylene core, and we've also suggested they create a public register of all buildings," he said.
"If you're a private tenant in a commercial or residential buildings, there's currently no way you can check if the panels on your building are just aluminium, or if it's combustible, or if its installed in the wrong way.
"A public register could also show people other fire safety measures that are in place, so even if you've got aluminium cladding, you've got the appropriate sprinkler systems, safety measures and fire escapes."
Mr Rutledge said the government on Tuesday had a "frank discussion" on the issues at a forum with the Property Council and other stakeholders.
He said the government's next step was to "continue raising awareness and calling on property owners to engage" with the government on cladding.
Mr Rutledge said the government was manually working through prior building approvals with ACT Fire and Rescue to find any buildings deemed "worthy of further inspection".
He said "relatively few" buildings had been identified and the group had asked the owners to have a second inspection done, but no rectification works had been requested on those buildings to date.
But he said a complete audit of all such buildings in Canberra would be difficult as the building records were not stored or documented digitally.
But Mr White said even if the government was going through building approvals, he was concerned such checks may actually miss some buildings, as he believed "builders and developers are notorious for cutting costs".
"I think the critical reason you need to check every panel is that it could be that developers say they put one type of panel, or manufacturers tell them that, but it's actually a cheaper type that may pose more risks," he said.
Mr White said he understood the panels were safe, when used in the right manner, but that "the unfortunate fact is that we rely on industry to follow the regulations, but sometimes they don't".
Both Mr White and Mr Rutledge also acknowledged that given the high demand for replacement panels, there was a risk that the combustible panels could be replaced with another type that may pose different risks.
"We think that is what will happen now, and it's one thing that could get us into the same problems we have now," Mr White said.
Mr Rutledge encouraged anyone in the industry, or members of the public, with concerns about cladding on Canberra buildings, to contact the working group on 6207 8370 or email email@example.com