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London fire may provide lessons for local building


The ASI is concerned over reports that sub-quality cladding may have significantly fuelled the horrendous fire that claimed the lives of many in the Grenfell high-rise apartment block in London this past week.

It will be monitoring the aftermath of the tragic incident for evidence of any non-compliance with UK building regulations creating a fire-prone structure.

ASI Chief Executive, Tony Dixon said as best intentioned as regulations may be, if they are not policed or practical mechanisms put in place to ensure compliant product, there will continue to be high risks of instances like this occurring.

“While we recognise that it is extremely onerous to retro-check every component of a large building, there are practical ways of ensuring that building codes and regulations are honoured, such as independently assessed certification schemes for contractors or targeted assessment tools,” he said.

“Third party verified, open certification programs, such as our National Structural Steelwork Compliance Scheme linked to the recently published AS/NZS 5131 standard, can operate as effective prequalification requirements to ensure engagement with contractors who are compliant suppliers.

“With this approach, you are heading off issues long before they can become ‘life and limb’ risks.”

He said that the provision of targeted guidance can also be a beneficial part of the equation by helping engineers specify to the requisite standard and assist building certifiers in what to look for to deem erected structures as safe, or otherwise.

The issue of faulty or non-conforming building inputs has recently been the subject of a major national Senate enquiry in Australia.

“Like many associated with the local building construction industry, we will be focussing on any hard factors found that may have been preventable in a bid to head off further risk of similar disasters occurring here,” Mr Dixon said.

“Right now, our thoughts go out to all the families and friends of those hurt or lost in this tragic event.”

Posted On: 20 Jun 2017


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