26 Sep What’s in the news?

What’s in the news?

The mainstream media is paying a lot of attention to stories which are happening in strata communities right across SE Queensland. This month we look at the issue of fire and cladding, both have become extremely emotive issues which have risen because of some very high profile stories in recent months.

Fire forces dozens of people out of a unit block at Chermside.

At least 80 residents of Focus Apartment on Hamilton Rd, Chermside, were forced to evacuate after a third-storey balcony fire reignited just before 2am on Friday. They have since been allowed back into their units to grab provisions for the weekend, but with electricity shut off, it is unknown when the building will be deemed safe for them to return. The cause of both fires is being investigated by Queensland Police and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.

A QFES spokesperson confirmed there was no combustible cladding on the building and that alarms were clearly audible when crews arrived.’

Read the full story from The Courier-Mail by Madura McCormack.

Click here.

Fire-at-Chermside What's in the news?
Image by: Madura McCormack

Queensland bodies corporate may have to pay to rip out combustible cladding once deemed safe.

Queenslanders living in body corporate-run apartment blocks could be forced to pay for new safety audits and pick up multi-million-dollar tabs for ripping out combustible cladding in buildings that have previously been ticked off as safe.

The ABC’s Four Corners program has revealed more than a decade before a deadly fire in London, Australian suppliers of aluminium-composite cladding knew the product they were selling with a polyethene (PE) core was highly flammable.

It is not known how many non-government buildings in Queensland have the unsafe cladding, but 40 government-owned buildings are under investigation and Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital has already been found to be a potential fire risk.

Strata Community Australia director Simon Barnard said bodies corporate across the country could be forced to increase fees to pay for new safety audits and if cladding was found, pay millions in remediation.

“Who’s going to pick up the tab for the expensive and dangerous headache of dealing with this product?” he said.

Read the full story from the ABC

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cladding-image What's in the news?
ABC News: Isobel Roe

Calm Down when it comes to cladding says insurer. 

As the panic over dangerous inflammable cladding spreads like a bushfire, one of the country’s top strata insurance companies has come up with a course of action for worried owners.

Check your documents, then put safety measures in place if you have flammable cladding, is the message from one of Australia’s top strata insurers.

Strata Community Insurance says if a review of the original building documents show suspect cladding was installed, owners corporations should get a fire safety professional to inspect and recommend steps to improve safety.

This need not be the horrendously expensive remove and replace programme and could be a simple as a drenching sprinkler system which would at least slow the spread of fire.

fire-fighter-300x201@2x What's in the news?
Image credit: Title Magazine

In addition, says SCI, committees and strata managers should put a plan in place to recover cost and rectify non-conforming cladding immediately. They should also seek legal advice to recover costs.

Strata Community Insurance says that from early in the 1990’s, aluminium composite panel (ACP) has become a standard material for medium and high-rise buildings across Australia. It revolutionised the building sector by providing a low-cost, aesthetically pleasing skin or layer that was easy to attach to a building’s framework.

Benefits of this cladding included its ability to stop wind and rain entering a building, sound and thermal insulation as well as fire resistance. In addition, it was required to meet minimum standards under the Building Code of Australia.

In the aftermath of the disastrous Grenfell Tower fire in London on 14 June 2017 and the Lacrosse building fire on 25 November 2014 in Melbourne, questions are now being asked regarding the viability of cladding, and potential impact across Australia given the significant growth of multi-dwelling developments.

Read the full story in Title Magazine.

Click here