Since the Grenfell Tower fire claimed 72 lives in 2017, Australia has identified flammable cladding on more than 3,400 buildings. Despite apartment owners’ fears and rising costs, few have been fixed.
Identifying and fixing apartment defects can be challenging, especially as they’re often the shared responsibility of all owners in the building. A new guide aims to help navigate the pitfalls.
Orders to fix serious defects, even up to ten years after completion, and to delay the occupation certificate developers need to sell apartments until they’re fixed, gives regulators real teeth.
The difficulty of finding out about building defects creates an information deficit that threatens public confidence and stability in the apartment market. NSW has begun work on a solution.
Ensuring a building will be safe against fire requires careful consideration from not only fire engineers, but also from builders, architects and building owners.
Unsafe apartments are being evacuated as confidence plummets – even the author of a report commissioned by building ministers wouldn’t buy a new apartment. What will it take for governments to act?
The delay in adopting a national approach to building industry reform, based on a report received more than a year ago, typifies official neglect of the impacts of uncertainty on the affected people.
The construction industry crisis didn’t happen overnight. Authorities have been on notice for years to fix the problems that now have the industry itself calling for better regulation.
Regulations that are meant to protect residents from building failures and fires have been found wanting. All governments must take responsibility for fixing the defective regime they created.
Estimated costs for Victoria alone range from hundreds of millions to as much as $1.6 billion If work to rectify buildings fitted with combustible cladding isn’t well handled.
Years of regulatory failure are having direct impacts on the hip pockets of the many Australians who bought defective houses or apartments. It’s turning into a multibillion-dollar disaster.
Under the new code, buildings are hardly likely to differ measurably from their fault-ridden older siblings and can still fall short of a six-star rating. It’s possible they may have no stars!
Architects, certifiers and engineers who work as consultants to builders are on notice about potential liability for the use of flammable cladding, but governments are also culpable for their actions.
The risks of combustible cladding on high-rise buildings have long been known. And audits have identified hundreds of Australian buildings with this cladding. Delay in replacing it is inexcusable.
As more and more Australians live and work in high-rise buildings, their responsibilities and roles in ensuring all occupants’ safety must not be neglected.
Fortunately, no lives were lost in the latest cladding fire in Melbourne, but it’s a stark reminder of the urgent need to track and verify that building materials comply with safety standards.