The Victorian Building Authority’s audit of high-rise buildings throughout inner-city Melbourne has uncovered more than a dozen instances of the use of potentially combustible non-compliant cladding.
The VBA launched its External Wall Cladding Audit after an official report into the Lacrosse Apartment fire that took place in Melbourne’s Dockland district towards the end of 2014 concluded that sub-par aluminium wall cladding played an instrumental role in the conflagration.
The audit is focusing in particular on non-compliance in relation to 170 high-rise buildings in the Melbourne CBD and adjacent suburbs, all of which obtained their building permits within the past decade.
The VBA has uncovered a total of 16 buildings with non-compliant cladding during the course of the audit thus far, with seven identified in January alone.
Of the seven buildings with non-compliant cladding identified in January three are hotels or apartment complexes located in the CBD, including the 55-storey MY80 apartment complex at 410 Elizabeth Street, the Tune Hotel at 607 Swanston Street and the 26-storey Metro Park West at 557 Little Lonsdale Street.
Two buildings are located in the Dockland District – 750 Collins Street and 100 Lorimer Street, and another two are to be found on the same stretch of road in Southbank - 8 – 10 Kavanagh Stret and 1020 – 120 Kavanagh Street.
VBA Director, Technical and Regulation, Jarrod Edwards, previously said to Sourceable that the audit had found the usage of non-compliant materials in Melbourne to be “unacceptably high.”
Despite the installation of non-compliant exterior cladding the Melbourne City Council (MCC) building surveyor has deemed all of the properties identified as “safe for occupation,” with the exception of the residential complex located at 144 – 150 Clarendon Street, Southbank.
According to the VBA non-compliant buildings are not automatically considered unfit for human occupation, and can be approved as safe for usage as long as they are installed with a sufficient number of measures to shore up fire protection.
These measures include fire and smoke detectors attached to early-warning alarm systems, sheltered evacuation pathways and automatic fire sprinklers.
Other measures include internal walls and construction materials that can stymie the spread of fire and smoke within the building itself.