Topic: News

Britain to spend £200 million fixing combustible cladding

By Andrew MacAskill

London: The British government will spend £200 million ($375 million) to replace combustible cladding on the outside of high-rise buildings after some private developers refused to pay to make them safe in response to fire that killed 71 people.

Grenfell Tower, a 24-storey London social housing block, was engulfed in flames two years ago. Officials have said aluminium cladding with a plastic core contributed to the rapid spread of the blaze.

Smoke and flames rise from the Grenfell Tower building in London in 2017.
Smoke and flames rise from the Grenfell Tower building in London in 2017.CREDIT:AP

After spending months trying to persuade property companies to pay to remove the cladding with only limited success, the government has decided to step in with public funds to fix the cladding on about 170 high rise buildings.

Prime Minister Theresa May said although a number of private companies had acted, too many developers were continuing to pass on the cost of the work to people living in the buildings.

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‘Same as Grenfell Tower’: Cladding fears as fire rips through Melbourne CBD apartment building

Residents will be locked out of their CBD apartments for 48 hours after a vicious, fast-moving fire raced up dangerous cladding on the side of the Spencer Street tower. (more…)


Building Practitioners Board found Kitchener ‘Kitch’ Crespin guilty of thirty two allegations including two counts of creating false documents and forging the owners signature for a false claim in legal proceedings and creating a false contract document.

Kitchener Crespin – The Building Practitioners Board found the practitioner guilty of thirty two allegations in relation to three sites at Glen Iris, Cheltenham and Hughesdale. There were eight allegations relating to the Cheltenham site and were for breaching s16 for carrying out internal alterations for the removal of a wall and installation of structural beams for support prior to the building permit being issued. The practitioner also breached s31(1), s13(1) & (2) of the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 for having a non compliant contract, entering into a cost plus contract and not meeting the exceptions to do so nor containing a fair and reasonable estimate of the likely total money to be received under the contract respectively. (more…)


Cladding: A Troublesome Issue for Those Unable to Make a Decision

cladding

The fire that raced up the Lacrosse building in November 2014 fuelled by the combustible polyethylene composite external panelling appears no closer to a resolution after four years.
A VCAT hearing on 25 October 2017 was unable to determine who is responsible for the installation of the panels on the Lacrosse building with the owner’s corporation pursuing the builder (L U Simon), and the only agreement reached was a 30-day trial starting on 1 September 2018.

 

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Combustible

combustible-aluminium-cladding

Combustible: The dangerous legacy of failed regulation in the building industry.

“You shouldn’t have a combustible product on the outside of a building of this type, so how has this been allowed to happen?” Fire officer

Across Australia, governments, councils and the building industry are grappling with a problem so large, it almost defies belief.

“It’s unquantifiable…” Senior Fire Officer

Residential buildings, hospitals, shopping centres and commercial buildings, have been built with flammable aluminium cladding, posing a potentially serious fire risk.

“As soon as I saw that on television that night, straight away I knew it was a cladding fire.” Cladding supplier

It took the catastrophic Grenfell Tower fire in London, which claimed at least 80 lives, to set off alarm bells here, but as Four Corners will reveal, the danger posed by this cladding should not have come as a surprise.

“You can’t tell me that if this product, by all reports, has been used widely in the industry for 10 to 30 years, that major suppliers … didn’t know where this product was going to end up.” Fire officer

On Monday, Four Corners investigates why huge amounts of this aluminium cladding has been installed on so many of our buildings, and whether a desire to cut costs won out over caution.

“We have, if you will, a builder, a certifier and a fire engineer who are incentivized to reduce cost.” Fire Engineer

Insiders say there has been a colossal failure of regulation and oversight.

“There’s people out there that would have absolutely no idea what they’re doing and they’re installing it incorrectly, and they’re the people we compete against every day.” Builder

With access to the tests now under way on suspect aluminium cladding, we reveal the enormity of the problem facing authorities and ask who will pay to remove and replace it.

“Everyone has someone else to point the finger at. The product of deregulation and self accreditation, this process of abrogation of responsibility is that no one is responsible.” Federal politician

Combustible, reported by Debbie Whitmont and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 4th September at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 5th September at 10.00am and Wednesday 6th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.


Jerry-Built: A New Major Category of Building in Australia?

Planning Minister Richard Wynne and VBA CEO Prue Digby must be very concerned with their stated positions that the Lacrosse Building in Docklands that burnt in November 2014 is safe to occupy after Dubai’s sadly aptly-named Torch Tower caught fire for the second time in two years.

 

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