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    Builders investigate use of flammable aluminium cladding on their projects

    Geraldine Chua

    Most of Australia’s major builders are taking measures to ensure their projects avoid the highly flammable aluminium cladding like that found to have fuelled the recent apartment fire in Melbourne.

    Only builders Leighton Holdings and ProBuild have reportedly declined to comment about whether their high-rise projects feature the aluminium cladding with a polyethylene core.

    According to a report by The Australian, only Mirvac revealed that it used Alucobond, which meets Australian Building Code (ABC) specifications for high-rise projects, while Lend Lease said it was reviewing its apartments and buildings to determine if any substandard cladding has been “used inappropriately”.

    “At this stage of the review, we have found nothing to suggest this material is being used,” a Lend Lease spokesperson told News Corp.

    Brookfield Multiplex also said that it was undertaking an audit of its Australian projects, but that it has not, to its knowledge, used the cladding installed at the Lacrosse tower on any of its Victorian buildings.

    Crown Group and Meriton both stepped forward to clarify that the aluminium cladding used on their projects meet the requirements of the building code, but did not reveal what brand or type of cladding they used.

    The questions to the companies were raised after news broke that the Alucobest cladding used on the Lacrosse Apartments was tested to be non-compliant with Australian standards. The cladding, which did not pass the test for combustibility back in 2010 when the building was commissioned, was so flammable CSIRO scientists had to abandon their tests after only 93 seconds to avoid equipment damage.

    The test mandates that samples and products are undergo 30 minutes of sustained flaming.


    RELATED: Non-compliant cladding fuelled Melbourne apartment tower fire, MFB finds


    The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) has taken steps to identify any possible use of non-compliant external cladding elsewhere in Victoria. A dedicated phone line – 136 186 – is available for anyone who is uncertain whether the external aluminium cladding on their building is compliant.

    However, these measures are based on self-reporting, and do not seem to be able to compel builders to report the use of the material. Authorities in New South Wales, Queensland, and New Zealand are also reportedly waiting on the results of the VBA investigation to determine how they will deal with the issue in their own jurisdictions.

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