Victoria to fast-track cladding investigation amid fears of 'widespread non-compliance'



July 03, 2017 11:45:16

The Victorian Government has appointed a taskforce to fast-track the investigation into flammable cladding on the state’s buildings in the wake of the deadly London tower fire.

The taskforce — co-chaired by former Liberal premier Ted Baillieu and former Labor deputy premier John Thwaites — will audit buildings to ensure they adhere to safety standards.

In 2014, aluminium composite cladding, similar to that found on the Grenfell tower in London that burnt down last month, was found to have contributed to the spread of a huge fire at the Lacrosse building in Melbourne’s Docklands.

Since then, the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) has audited more than 200 city properties for the combustible material.

The audit was recently expanded to include Port Melbourne but dozens of other Melbourne suburbs have not been examined.

Mr Thwaites said the State Government was concerned the building codes were not working and action was not happening fast enough.

“What I know is that [Planning] Minister [Richard Wynne] has asked this taskforce to accelerate action. He’s concerned that action isn’t taking place fast enough,” Mr Thwaites told ABC Radio Melbourne.

“The advice from various fire authorities is that there is, right around Australia, widespread non-compliance with the building code.

“There has to be a system of compliance or people aren’t going to be safe.”

On June 19, Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said 17 buildings in the City of Melbourne identified in the VBA audit remained “non-compliant”.

Non-compliant buildings can still be considered safe to live in if safety measures such as automatic sprinklers are put in place, according to the VBA.

The Senate’s economic committee is carrying out its own investigation into the use of cladding material in Australia, which will be headed by Labor senator Chris Ketter.









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