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The combustible cladding issue has evolved into a consumer nightmare. At heart, this issue is about product safety and consumer protection, yet, strangely, consumers face the cost of fixing it. So how did we get to this point? Let's look at this from design-based perspectives of policy, practice and people. In a former life, I helped create vacuum cleaners in use today. We had strict regulations for electrical safety, energy efficiency and even waste. If such appliances fail – particularly around safety – big companies have a history of recalling those products, at great expense to their bottom line. The predicament facing people who own properties with non-compliant cladding could be compared to: your vacuum cleaner failing or hurting you; the ACCC sending you a bill for the repair; Consumer Affairs forwarding you a medical invoice; and the tab for legal proceedings to pursue the company responsible lying with – you guessed it – you. Clearly this defies logic and justice.