The New South Wales state government has announced a 10-point fire safety package in response to London’s Grenfell Tower fire.
According to the NSW minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean, “Our priority is to put consumers first and keep them as safe as possible in their homes.”
“We’ll do this by ensuring unsafe building products are taken off the shelves, buildings with cladding are identified and notified and that we only have people with the necessary skills and experience certifying buildings and signing off on fire-safety,” he says.
“This package will protect consumers from building products that are inherently dangerous or that are being advertised for use in a way that makes them dangerous.”
Kean says that every part of the supply chain would be responsible for making sure these products are only used for their intended purpose.
Parts of the plan like the establishment of the taskforce, the letters to the building owners and the testing regime were already underway, while other facets, such as the enhanced training of the fire safety inspectors will start later this year.
The new legislation also allows for rectification orders as well as prosecution for people caught supplying, selling or using them.
The government says that so far it has identified 1011 buildings across the state that needed to be checked for potential cladding fire safety issues.
- A product safety scheme that would prevent the use of dangerous building products
- Identifying buildings that might have aluminium or other cladding
- Writing to building / strata managers or owners to encourage them to inspect the cladding and installation of cladding
- NSW Fire and Rescue visiting all buildings on the list, as part of a fire safety education program
- Creating a legally-binding fire safety declaration that requires high rise residential building owners/managers to inform state and local governments as well as NSW Fire and Rescue if their building has cladding on it
- Expediting reforms to toughen up the regulation of building certifiers
- An industry-based accreditation to ensure only experienced people do fire safety inspections
- Establishing a government taskforce that will coordinate and roll out the reforms
- Instructing government departments to audit their buildings and determine if they have aluminium cladding
- Writing to local councils to follow up on correspondence they received from the state government, after Melbourne’s Lacrosse Tower fire, in 2016
This plan, according to the NSW government, is one of the “most comprehensive plans in the nation” and is designed to ensure that NSW residents and building owners have peace of mind