Is my apartment at risk from flammable cladding?

Around Australia, hundreds of buildings have been found to be at risk because they are clad in a flammable material, similar to that used on the Grenfell Tower in London, where 72 residents lost their lives in a deadly blaze.

What can you do to ensure your building is safe?

The Grenfell fire disaster of 2017 brought the world’s attention to the use of potentially flammable cladding on high-rise apartment towers.

Concerns were compounded in Australia by the fire in the Lacrosse building in Melbourne’s Docklands, which, according to eyewitness accounts, spread at an alarming speed.

It’s unknown exactly how many apartment buildings in Australia are clad with potentially flammable cladding, however audits are underway across the country to asses the issue.

An audit in NSW of 185,000 building records found 2,300 required inspection, and 435 buildings were identified as high risk.

In Victoria, the Cladding Taskforce has inspected more than 1,200 building, and found 43 to be ‘highest risk’ and 232 to be ‘high risk’. In Victoria, most buildings more than three stories high built after March 1997 will be audited.

The cladding considered to be most dangerous is Aluminium Composite. Panels made from this material were present in both the Grenfell and Lacrosse fires. Rendered expanded polystyrene cladding is also of concern.

Cladding information is often lost over the years

The difficulty for building managers in Australia is that building specifications, such as the composition of cladding, are often lost or incomplete when the building is sold by the developer.

This inadequacy of data if often compounded when building managers change. Even if the building’s original manager might have data about cladding, that information won’t necessarily be passed on to new managers.

Therefore, it can be difficult for managers to initially know whether the cladding in a building is safe – or not.

What should you do if you are concerned?

If you are concerned about the cladding on your building, you should contact your strata or building manager. They will know if your building has been part of an audit, and what the results were.

If the building hasn’t been audited, your building manager can obtain documents from your local council, building surveyors, or fire engineers, to try to ascertain whether or not the cladding is flammable.

Getting to the heart of every cladding situation

At Beyond Strata, we take the matter of flammable building cladding seriously.

When we take on a building we think could have an issue with cladding, we will do as much as we can to ascertain whether or not the cladding is safe.

Once we have the necessary information, we will ensure it is preserved in the building’s records.

If it is determined the cladding does not conform to Australian standards, the committee will be immediately informed. The insurance agency will be consulted, and if necessary, a plan for rectification will be proposed.

Author: Beyond Strata

Beyond Strata is a professional owners corporation management firm that was founded on overarching principles of professionalism, honesty, integrity, openness and transparency. We strive to continually improve our people, culture, technology and processes improving our firm’s ability to provide the highest level of service possible to our clients.

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