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It's expensive to replace cladding on apartment blocks. Dr Kate Nguyen, who leads a fire and facade engineering group at RMIT University, says there's a cheaper way that's just as safe: introduce vertical firebreaks. These work in the same way as firebreaks around houses in grasslands and bushland — create a barrier that stops fire spreading. "If you replace half the cladding with firebreaks, then it is possible to stop the fire spreading," Dr Nguyen said. "We think that if you really understand the facade and the cladding, you can make buildings and the people living inside safe."