The Victorian Building Authority has begun an audit on over 170 buildings across the city following a blaze at Lacrosse in Docklands yesterday.
The authority will investigate builders and building surveyors after Alucobest – a building material – was found to be the cause of the fire. Alucobest is a material imported from China commonly used during the construction of similar high-rise buildings and apartments.
“In the past the Metro Fire Brigade have talked about people in high-rise buildings taking precautions like not using the balcony as storage space,” VBA spokesman John Rees told The Newsroom. “The audit will help find where non-compliant use of cladding has occurred, but any subsequent investigation will establish the reasons why.”
Alucobest was used during the construction of the Lacrosse Building instead of Australian-made Alucobond, which complies with safety guidelines set out by the authority.
“There are a range of cladding materials that have the same product composition as Alucobest,” Joseph Kellen, communications manager for the Fire Protection Authority, told The Newsroom. “We think the use of potentially combustible cladding is quite widespread, but unfortunately there’s no easy way to measure that and that’s contributing to the problem.”
Mr Kellen said it is a complex issue, and hopes this will be a wake up call for everyone in Melbourne, including architects, builders, designers, organisations and regulators. – Sarah Batt
Photo by James Davis.