Is Your Sydney Apartment A Cladding Deathtrap?

Six years ago today, the devastating fire at London’s Grenfell Tower took the lives of 72 people, leaving the world in shock. 

The building was covered in highly flammable cladding that acted as fuel when a fire broke out in an apartment on the fourth floor of the 24-storey block.

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The fire highlighted the danger of global aluminium composite cladding, and it is now banned in many countries, including Australia. 

In this episode of This Arvo in Sydney, host Sacha Barbour Gatt talked about buildings in Sydney that were still shrouded in flammable cladding similar to the cladding surrounding the Grenfell Tower.

This tragedy has prompted a global review of using aluminium composite cladding. 

In NSW specifically, 185,000 building records have been audited, and over 4000 buildings inspected. Among those, 379 buildings posed a fire risk due to combustible cladding in Sydney.

These buildings are currently undergoing assessment by the NSW Cladding Taskforce.

Apartment owners throughout Sydney have expressed their anger and frustration as they are compelled to cover the substantial cost of $30,000 per unit for the cladding replacement.

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Matt Summerill, an apartment owner in Pyrmont, had to pay $11,500 to upgrade the cladding at his apartment block.

It was one of those things that was a real pain in the bum. It wasn’t that disruptive in terms of the actual work, but the out-of-pocket expense, that’s a lot of money,”

Mr Summerill said.

We had to get it done. We had no choice. The insurance company wasn’t going to insure the building.”

NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler said the NSW Project Remediate would update and identify buildings at risk after the Cladding Taskforce had assessed them.

In Project Remediate in NSW, we wanted to set what we called a best practice rather than a minimum compliance level,”

Mr Chandler said.

For example, we’ve included things like fire barriers in the facade remediations that we are performing. We just wanted to go that extra distance.”

Hosted by Sacha Barbour, This Arvo in Sydney is a 10 to 12 minute daily news podcast made just for Sydney! Listen now on the Listnr app.