Cladding Installation at Melbourne’s Royal Women’s Hospital Under Review 1

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Tuesday, November 10th, 2015
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Construction giant Lend Lease could be made to undertake millions of dollars’ worth of work to rectify cladding on a major hospital project in Victoria which does not meet safety requirements, media reports suggest.

According to News Ltd, Victorian health minister Jill Hennessy has ordered the company to provide details of the cladding it installed on the exterior of Melbourne’s Royal Women’s Hospital, and has directed the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure any aluminium cladding installed on the building met fire safety requirements as specified under the Building Code of Australia.

“The minister has requested the contractor provide urgent advic­e confirming the compliance of the cladding system with building safety standards,” the report quotes a spokesperson for the Hennessy as saying. “The minister has directed the department to work with the contractor to confirm any necessary action to ensure compliance with the Building Code.”

The latest move follows the discovery of non-compliant cladding on the hospital during a Victorian Building Authority inspection in August, which is part of a wide-ranging audit of cladding types being conducted throughout Melbourne following rapid spread of fire up the Lacrosse apartment complex last December.

Following that discovery, the VBA referred the matter to the Department of Health and Human Services, whose independent surveyor stresses that the building is safe for occupation and is determining the appropriate action.

Thus far, around 70 buildings have been checked as a result of the VBA’s program.

Of these, non-compliant cladding was discovered at seven buildings which, along with the Royal Women’s, include the currently under construction Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre and a number of inner urban apartment complexes.

Appropriate action with regard to the cancer centre is currently being determined.

According to News Ltd, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade has placed the site in the ‘enhanced response’ category, meaning that double the firefighters and more trucks would be dispatched in the event of an incident.

This would cost taxpayers more, as the hospital would be forced to pay extra in the event an emergency did happen, the report said.

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  1. Les Williams

    The Melbourne fire chief was reported as saying in relation to the Lacrosse fire that they had never witnessed a fire of that type and speed on the exterior of a building. Similar cladding was used on a residential building in China that resulted in over 20 deaths. Reportedly the speed of the fire in that event was significant. It has also been reported that the cladding does not comply with the Australian Building Code. I am also sure that I read recently that the residents of Lacrosse have been advised that repairs will be at their expense.
    The fire department has the hospital on an enhanced response category but the independent building surveyor has said the hospital is safe for occupancy. Thank god for the media.