Cladding blamed for the deadly
Grenfell Tower blaze that killed 79 is cleared for use in Australia
despite warnings it is ‘like a firecracker’
By Josh Hanrahan for Daily Mail Australia
21 June 2017
The controversial cladding blamed for fuelling the devastating Grenfell
Tower inferno is fine to use on high-rise apartments in Australia, a
top building firm claims.
In the wake of last week's horrific blaze which ripped through the
west-London block claiming at least 79 lives, witnesses told how
cladding seemed to accelerate the fire.
After the blaze, it was revealed that a Melbourne apartment block which
caught fire in 2014 was covered in a similar brand of Chinese-made
While some have called for the product to be banned worldwide, the
builder of the Melbourne high-rise that caught alight says the cladding
was cleared by experts and is safe to use, The Australian reports.
In late-2014, more than 400 residents were forced to flee for their
lives in the middle of the night as the Lacrosse building, in
Melbourne's Docklands precinct, caught fire.
An estimated $15 million damage was caused to the high-rise complex,
with pictures of the blaze bearing an eerie resemblance to the
horrifying scenes at Grenfell Tower in London.
Following the blaze, started by a lit cigarette left on a balcony, an
investigation found around half of buildings in Melbourne used the
It found the cladding should never have been put in the building and
ordered it to be taken down by mid-2018, despite builders being given
the OK to use it.
But LU Simon, the firm who built the Lacrosse building, claimed in a
VCAT hearing the cladding was tested and dubbed 'suitable for use on
the external cladding of buildings including high-rise residential and
'The use of Alucobest (or similar composite aluminium panel products
such as Alucobond) in buildings of this type has been a common practice
across Australia for at least 40 years,' the documents reportedly read.
Lacrosse after the fire
'Until the (Lacrosse) fire incident... it was standard practice in the
industry to use aluminium composite panels on the external walls of
buildings... across all the states and territories of Australia.
'The use of such panels has been routinely approved by the MFB, independent fire engineers, architects and building surveyors.'
But despite the claims of LU Simon, another building expert last week
claimed the cladding used in the Lacrosse building and Grenfell Tower
was 'like a firecracker'
'This product is so flammable, it's like a firecracker,' Phil Dwyer, president of Builders Collective of Australia, told 3AW.
looking to buy an apartment ... ask one question
Mr Dwyer said anyone looking to buy an apartment should ask one question: 'Is there any combustible cladding on the building?'
'Don't buy it, don't take the risk... It's just not worth it.'
The death toll from the Grenfell Tower inferno so far stands at 79,
with authorities still searching the building's rubble.
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