Melbourne’s Tallest Building Found to Have Flammable Cladding 17

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Monday, April 4th, 2016
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Melbourne’s tallest building, the Eureka Tower, has been found to contain the same type of non-compliant and highly flammable cladding that has caused dozens of deaths overseas.

Victoria’s building authority has found Melbourne’s tallest building, the Eureka Tower, has a small amount of highly combustible cladding – but says it doesn’t pose a risk.

A VBA audit of 170 buildings in Melbourne’s CBD found 51 per cent of those checked have the cladding, including the Eureka Tower, but the majority of buildings affected have been cleared of any risk.
The audit was launched after a November 2014 fire at Lacrosse Tower in Melbourne’s high-density Docklands precinct was found to have been fuelled by the use of the non-compliant plastic-core aluminium cladding, which is so flammable the CSIRO had to abandon fire testing for fear of destroying their equipment.

The 312 owners of apartment in the Lacrosse Tower have since been ordered to replace the non-compliant cladding at a cost to themselves of at least $40 million.

“Only two buildings, including the Lacrosse Tower in Docklands, have been issued with an emergency order to remove the cladding immediately”, a VBA spokesman has said.

The fire raced up more than 20 storeys in just six minutes as flaming debris rained down below.

While no one was injured, the fast-moving blaze caused millions of dollars’ worth of damage to the building.

It has also been revealed that up to 2500 high-rise buildings in Sydney could also contain the same type of flammable cladding, which imported cheaply from Asia has become popular with developers and builders particularly during Australia’s apartment building boom.

Some of Australia’s largest construction companies have been named as using the highly flammable material on well-known Melbourne skyscrapers, including the Victorian government’s signature health development, the $250 million Royal Women’s Hospital, has also been found to contain the dangerous material.

Dozens of people have died from facade fires caused by the panelling with the plastic core. Most recently on New Year’s Eve, Dubai’s The Address Hotel was engulfed in flames in a blaze widely believed to have been fuelled by the plastic-core cladding.

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17
  1. Tom Eddie

    This is shocking but not surprising.

    More dodgy material from China. More lives under threat. It just goes on and on.

  2. Peter Young Peter Young

    The audit has uncovered the prolific use of the non-compliant cladding across the city in high-rise buildings, finding that more than half of the buildings in the Melbourne CBD constructed over the past decade have used the potentially deadly material…. This is an absolute disgrace. How many lives need to be put at risk for profits. This continual flow of cheap, non-complaint products is putting our cities and citizens at risk!

  3. Marco

    What the HELL!!!
    As a resident, not only am I concerned about safety, but who the hell will be responsible for re-cladding this 91 story fire pit?

  4. Barry B

    Just goes to show use of shoddy materials and shoddy practices lie at the heart of Australia's construction sector.

  5. Arman

    What do we pay building certifiers to do? They should be checking this and protecting the consumers who end up using the buildings they approve.

  6. Julie Ward

    The blame lies with the Australian Government for removing the Australian Standard for imports from China and other countries while making it impossible for genuine Australians to manufacture to Australian standards without millions of dollars in fees etc to be recognised. This then prices Australian Manufacturers out of the competitive market. Time for a revolution I say and make politicians accountable for the policies they make and the contracts signed with overseas markets at the expense of the working Australian who has the best interest of its nation in its sights. There is no world market if there is no Australian market.

    • Vicki S

      Agree 100 % Julie. Australia has ALL it's own resources to be fully self sustainable and that means environmentally sustainable as well. If the rest of the world needs our resources, make them pay for them – via Australian owned and operated industries and technologies. Free Trade Agreements – more like a sell out to me. Economies (markets) are based on the scarcity of resources – if we sell all ours to foreign countries, what do we have to trade ????

      Cheap imported building products that put us at risk – great work Australian government, you are also to blame for the shoddy international property developers who employ cheap unskilled labour to construct our skyscrapers as well. Are we becoming third world – cheap, unsafe, environmentally unfriendly, shoddily built infrastructure with no accountability?

  7. Robyn

    How can one building be flammable and the other not when the both have the same cladding?

    Does one morph into a non combustible material?

    It is or is not flammable, it can't be both?

  8. Graeme Doreian

    ‘Cooked from the outside,’ fixed. A new Australian Standard has just been rushed through I believe, to address this out of control issue, BUT it won't. Who's going to police the Standard? Who can be prosecuted?

    Chinese Government that controls all manufacturing not gettable? Yes they are.

    Outside countries Governments won’t stand up and support their citizens, even though their is a trillion dollars of damage. WHY?

    No one killed yet perhaps, but who would care?

    ‘Cooked on the inside,’ who cares?

    Insulation around flexible ductwork failing, causing airconditioners operating longer.

    Because of increasing temperatures, thus creating more greenhouse gas emissions.

    They can fix this too, but won’t touch the REAL insulation issues that cause this. WHY?

    Because Australian companies, among other parties can be made accountable, that’s why.

    Does anyone care? Only about three people in Australia.

    • Vicki S

      I guess like so many, our governments think it doesn't affect them personally, so why should they care. Like climate change – they will be dead before it really has a detrimental affect to ALL life on earth.

  9. Steve

    TAKE NOTE – cheaper is not always better, these sorts of inferior products are coming in all the time and are not checked against the Australian Standards including glass & aluminium and many other building products. A false economy is being created and the cost will be in lives lost!

  10. Howard Styles

    The out-sourcing Building Certification, Fire Engineering, Australian Standards, and the shutting down CSIRO's Division of Building Research. The Building Research Station and the Federal Department of Housing & Construction, then buildings become less safe. What a surprise! It seems the Federal Government has played part in the risks we now all carry.

    • Bruce Bromley

      "Most recently on New Year’s Eve, Dubai’s The Address Hotel was engulfed in flames in a blaze widely believed to have been fuelled by the plastic-core cladding."

      Wrong

      Most recently on the 29th March Firefighters battle huge blaze at Ajman towers near Dubai.

      But hey, Australian buildings are safe to occupy.

      Again as I have said ad nausiam in the past, how will people with disability be managed in such evacuations?

    • Bruce Bromley

      As for the CSIRO, karma is a B. The price they gouge companies for testing is a joke. Even a simple contrast or slip test are exorbitant. It's no wonder companies no longer use their services.

  11. Tommy Baxter

    I'm sure there are many experts .. Which I'm not .. Will tell us why these external cladding trends on high rise buildings have been the way of the future . However I have said to myself many times over the years …metal and plastic insulated panels.??.. Pressed metal decorative powder coated facsades.??…. How long will that last .??.. Imagine the cost of replacing that.??… Aren't high rise supposed to last at minimum decades and decades ..??.. Grow old and mature, be treasured .. The heritage of the future.?.. Just my gut feeling for a long time ..

  12. Tommy Baxter

    I'm sure there are many experts .. Which I'm not .. Will tell us why these external cladding trends on high rise buildings have been the way of the future . However I have said to myself many times over the years …metal and undulations panels.??.. Pressed metal decorative powder coated facsades.??…. How long will that last .??.. Imagine the cost of replacing that.??… Aren't high rise supposed to last at minimum decades and decades ..??.. Grow old and mature, be treasured .. The heritage of the future.?.. Just my gut feeling for a long time ..

  13. Anne Paten

    It just keeps on keeping on – and no-one in Government cares.

    Nothing new here!