Articles on Fire risk

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The burden of regulatory failure hasn’t just hit residents of evacuated apartments like the Neo200 building in Melbourne – it affects everyone living in a building with serious defects. Ellen Smith/AAP

Housing with buyer protection and no serious faults – is that too much to ask of builders and regulators?

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.
Can Australians be confident that the new National Construction Code will ensure new buildings avoid structural defects like those that led to the evacuation of the Opal Tower (left) in Sydney? Dylan Coker/AAP

Australia has a new National Construction Code, but it’s still not good enough

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!
Flames spread rapidly up the external wall cladding at the Lacrosse building in Melbourne in November 2014. More than four years on, the combustible panels are still in use. MFB

Lacrosse fire ruling sends shudders through building industry consultants and governments

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.
Victorian Governor Linda Dessau places a flower on a model of Victoria at a memorial service for the ten-year anniversary of the 2009 Victorian bushfires. David Crosling/AAP

What has Australia learned from Black Saturday?

The Black Saturday fires transformed the way Australia responds to bushfires.
The fire in the Melbourne CBD on Monday was a reminder of the urgency of developing a system that guarantees only materials that meet building safety standards are used. Bekah Jane/Twitter

Cladding fires expose gaps in building material safety checks. Here’s a solution

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.
Wildfire threatens a home near Possum Kingdom, Texas, April 19, 2011. State Farm

How to fight wildfires with science

Many countries around the world are vulnerable to wildfires, but a fire engineer warns that most are not spending enough on research into how fires spread and ways to reduce risks.
In explaining the causes of wildfires, the media and policymakers typically point to environmental factors, but that’s not the whole story. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Don’t blame California wildfires on a ‘perfect storm’ of weather events

The media and policymakers often say a 'perfect storm' of environmental factors cause wildfires but that ignores the role of irresponsible urban planning and development in raising fire risks.

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