Push for audit of cladding on Newcastle buildings
26 Jul 2017, 7 a.m.
WARNING: Fire races through the Lacrosse building in Melbourne's Docklands in 2014.
NEWCASTLE council will consider an audit of the city’s high-rise buildings, following an admission that it “may not” have records of those with potentially defective cladding.
In a report focusing on aluminium composite panels used to clad the outside of buildings, the council predicted that a city-wide audit would be costly.
“Council may not have accurate and extensive records identifying the number or location of buildings which are constructed with potentially combustible external cladding,” the report said.
“Such an audit would be resource intensive and it is likely that an external consultant would be employed.”
It also noted there is “very little information” on the type of cladding used on buildings in NSW and Australia, and that the council had asked the state government how it could better manage external wall cladding.
Councillors on Tuesday noted the more than 80 deaths caused by a fire in the Grenfell Tower block in London last month, and passed a motion to assess the feasibility of an audit into cladding on Newcastle council area buildings.
But the Property Council of Australia’s Hunter director Andrew Fletcher told the Newcastle Herald an audit could be “an expensive overreaction”.
“For anyone to build any kind of residential tower block in Newcastle, there are building standards of the highest order,” he said.
“The circumstances of the London fire couldn’t be repeated in Newcastle. There’s no need here for developers to skimp on fire services.”
Last week, a Senate inquiry heard as many as 2,500 buildings in NSW and thousands in Victoria could have cladding similar to that blamed for exacerbating the Grenfell Tower fire.
The Owners Corporation Network also submitted to the inquiry about the factors leading to a deadly apartment tower fire in Bankstown in 2012, and the Melbourne Lacrosse building fire two years later that race up 13 floors of apartments.
Senator Nick Xenophon has called for a national audit of apartment buildings.