Fast tracking high-rise fire safety checks

In the wake of the Grenfell fire tragedy in London, the Inner West Council is fast tracking a fire safety audit of all high-rise with external cladding within the New South Wales local government area.

Council is also urging the State Government to act upon recommendations into fire safety made almost two years ago, as NSW awaits the announcement of a high-rise fire safety task force.
Administrator Richard Pearson said that Council would not wait for the State Government to act, but would begin the task of auditing local high-rise immediately.

“Our staff are already working to identify buildings in our council area that must be checked to make sure that their cladding meets building safety standards,” he said.

“When the State Government confirms its high-rise fire safety taskforce, we will be ready to go.

Mr Pearson said that the State Government needed to make sure that homeowners didn’t bear the brunt of costs to replace any unsafe materials.

“If builders have cut corners by installing cheap and non-compliant cladding, they must be held accountable and fix their own mistakes.
“Council is keen to obtain State Government data that can track cladding from its point of sale to its use in construction.

“That sort of information will be invaluable to finding out if any buildings have non-compliant cladding and which builders are responsible.”

Council is also urging the State Government to act on recommendations from the 2015 Lambert Review into the Building Professionals Act.

“In October 2015 the former treasury secretary Michael Lambert made 150 recommendations for improvement to the legislation which regulates NSW building and construction,” said Mr Pearson.

“That report concluded that inaction would result in a ‘major negative event’. However two years later the State Government is yet to act upon almost half of those recommendations, including specific fire safety regulations.

“As the Grenfell tower has so horribly illustrated, this is an unacceptable and dangerous delay.”