THE RESIDENTIAL APARTMENT TOWER SAGA TO DATE
This article is still on-going, but to date has 19 distinct components:-
- Seventeen (17) Overseas Towers Burn Up because of Alucobest flammable cladding (pertinent information available on internet) from 2006 onwards.
- Abbott Government cuts funds to CSIRO and fire safety testing drops dramatically.
- Turnbull government alters CSIRO activity to just potential increased productivity-based ventures… testing generally stops altogether.
- Australia imports the same flammable cladding (un-tested) into Australia.
- We build 000’s of apartment (and office) towers using the same flammable Alucobest material.
- The Lacrosse Tower in October 2014 (with this same flammable cladding) burns from 6th to 21st storey in just 15 minutes.
- The Grenfell Tower in London burns to the top and kills fifty nine (59) people including two (2) Australians.
- VBA commences proceedings to take on L.U. Simon builder of Lacrosse Towers.
- COAG replaces the Building Code of Australia with the National Construction Code and leaves in the same loophole regarding experts as regards Performance Solutions (previously called Alternative Solutions)
- The Victorian Andrews Government legislates to alter or bolster the meaning of the Building Act to knobble the VBA’s case against the builder of the Lacrosse Towers it seems. The Opposition agrees and votes for it too.
- The tallest 99 storey Dubai Apartment Tower burns up again a second time (burnt cladding was previously replaced with same flammable cladding for economic reasons it seems… to match the remainder.
- The VBA starts issuing notices to owners of Lacrosse towers and others to replace the flammable cladding. Governments still do not act for owners.
- The Grenfell Tower cladding replacement already well underway has to be radically changed or removed after tests show that the new panels fail as a system.
- Adley Burstyner solicitors start an action in Supreme Court for $ 3.4 Billion… yes $3.4 BILLION… amount may well increase.
- Whilst replacing cladding on a prestige Sydney tower (clad with Alucobest flammable cladding) and owned by law firm wanting to remove the stigma associated with the flammable cladding, the protective scaffolding mesh burns to the top after welding sparks the fire… fortunately no workmen are killed.
- The Victorian Government (at least) carries out an audit on apartment towers, finding over 1200 at risk towers… BUT KEEPS THE DETAILS OF THE AUDIT SECRET!!!
- To add salt to the wound, the Victorian Government offers 10 year loans to owners affected by VBA notices to replace cladding… to become part of (much larger) rates payments. (We at VBAG do not see the reasoning for owners to foot the bill for this).
- The owners of the Lacrosse Towers take on the builder and those who specified and/or approved the use of Alucobest flammable as its cladding material. The architect, building surveyor and fire services engineer are found more or less equally responsible for the $5.7 Million claim, but interestingly the builder was found not responsible because of his reliance on the ‘expertise’ of those who advised and approved the material for use.
- The reduced powers of the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) to act against builders ONLY DURING CONSTRUCTION has not eventuated in orders to replace illegal flammable cladding on apartment (and office?) towers still under construction at the time of the Lacrosse Tower inferno.
NEGLIGENCE HAS OBVIOUSLY BEEN RIFE ON THOUSANDS OF PROJECTS by many of the participants during the building permit process.
(A complicating factor in each apartment sale is ‘caveat emptor’, but we at VBAG think that there is possibly a strong case to be had for consumers, because the governments, the No 1 Australian Code allowance of expert judgement for performance solutions (and before that for alternative solutions) and all of the so-called experts involved with the choice of the flammable cladding and its marketers… got it totally wrong… making the buildings dangerous and illegal… may end up in High Court).
It also seems very suspicious that our governments did not act to ban imports of this flammable cladding product for buildings still under construction at the time of the Lacrosse Tower fire, even though many were being clad in the identical material.
These flammable products were not generally banned for a considerable time.
And it seems to VBAG that there seems to be a similar ginormous problem for office towers built with this same flammable cladding since about 2005… but not a mention in the media.
VBAG seems to be the only building forum to piece together the world-wide gross negligence relating to the flammable cladding saga as it involves Australia.
VBAG striving to keep interested building consumers and the general public well informed on serious issues in the domestic building industry.