Flammable cladding must be removed from Australia’s high-rise buildings

The Lacrosee tower burning in 2014
Contributed by Ugly

The Victorian Building authority (VBA) has said that flammable cladding used on buildings will have to be removed.

The polythene based cladding is like that used on the lethal Grenfell Tower building in London that recently caught fire.

Melbourne’s 23 story Lacrosse apartment building caught fire in 2014. Luckily it did not cause a loss of life. But it could easily have done so. The Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) has been warning about the risk since then. Nothing has been done.

With many other buildings in also covered with flammable material, a tragedy is waiting to happen, unless something is done to ensure that the danger is removed.

VBA chief executive Murray Smith has said that options are being looked at, to remove the offending material and ensure an adequate level of safety.

However, one question needs to be asked. Why was this sort of cladding allowed to be used in the first place? Proper testing would easily have revealed that it is dangerous. It should not have to wait for a disaster overseas to bring the message home.

Nor should it have taken the Senate Economic References Committee to bring the extent of the problem out into the open.

Melbourne is not the only place where the problem exists and a national response is needed to clean up the construction industry, to make sure that only safe materials are used. So far, the response has been far from satisfactory.

Even in Victoria, no orders have been made to remove existing flammable material that is covering a significant proportion of high rise buildings across the country.

For how much longer are lives going to continue to be put at risk? There is no excuse Such an act of gross irresponsibility demands that if there is continuing failure, those who have the responsibility should be held to account.



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