The Iglu student accommodation building on Mary Street in Brisbane has been refused occupancy permits by the Queensland Department of Housing and Public Works due to concerns over the installation of potentially combustible non-compliant cladding on its exterior. Additionally, the Brisbane City Council is investigating building product issues in its construction.

Iglu is majority owned by Macquarie Capital and Singaporean sovereign wealth GFC, who acquired the development in 2014 to capitalise on the strong demand for accommodation amongst overseas students. However, following the Queensland Government’s decision to deny occupancy permits to residents, Iglu has been compelled to find alternative accommodations for tenants who have already entered into agreements.

In a statement published on its website, Iglu claims that concerns over fire safety issues were ‘alarmist and absolutely misleading’, and that the company was ‘satisfied and absolutely confident that Iglu Mary Street is of high quality and safety standard’.

Concerns over the use of sub-par building products within the Australian construction industry rose following the fire that broke out at Melbourne’s Lacrosse Apartments towards the end of 2014. An official investigation into the fire concluded that the use of non-compliant exterior cladding abetted the spread of the blaze across multiple floors of the building.

The Victorian Building Authority is currently auditing 170 high-rise building permits issued in the past 10 years for central Melbourne and its immediate surrounding suburbs, and has so far found 16 buildings with non-compliant cladding as a result.