The NSW Government says it will do all it can to avoid a tragedy like London’s Grenfell Tower disaster.
Flammable cladding on the North Kensington tower block caused the rapid spread of a fire that claimed the lives of at least 79 people.
Concerns were previously raised at the amount of similar cladding used in Sydney buildings and the lack of action from authorities, particularly following a fire at the Lacrosse apartments in Melbourne’s Docklands in 2014 which also spread rapidly due to flammable cladding.
Now the NSW Government is believed to be creating “a comprehensive building product safety scheme”, likely to include powers to prevent use of unsafe materials including dangerous cladding.
Meanwhile, engineering and business consultancy ICPS Australia says potentially dangerous building cladding can easily be tested to determine its flammability.
CEO Brad Nicholls says ICPS, in conjunction with Queensland University of Technology scientists, has made a testing regime available to the insurance industry since 2015.
“It is tragic that the loss of life in London’s Grenfell Tower has been the catalyst to put this serious issue higher on the agenda for insurers and building industry regulators,” he said.
“After the Lacrosse apartment building… caught fire in November 2014, we suggested to insurers that cladding be tested because of the obvious risk it poses if it is non-conforming.
“Non-conforming aluminium composite panels were identified as contributing to the Lacrosse fire’s rapid spread, so we decided a test method and flammability index was needed to help identify buildings that posed a risk of cladding ignition.”