Owners of the Lacrosse apartments in Melbourne's Docklands area were ordered to replace non-compliant flammable cladding which had been used in the external construction of the apartments following a fire that ripped through the building in November 2014.
Following an audit on potential non-conforming sites, it was revealed there could be as many as 170 non-confirming sites in Melbourne CBD alone, with other states remaining silent on the potential risk in Flammable Cladding that may be present in Units, Townhouses or Apartments located in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
Further concerns were raised by Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Acting Assistant Commissioner Chris Lewis who was concerned about "the use of non-conforming products to clad NSW buildings and how such products would impact on firefighting and evacuation should a fire occur. FRNSW is working to address these operational concerns through the formation of an internal specialist working group".
The Victorian Building Authority says that Aluminium Composite Panels (ACP) are often used on external walls for decorative purposes, but no single builder is consistently responsible for non-compliant use and that whilst some buildings may contain non-compliant panels, it doesnt necessarily mean they are unsafe because of other features like sprinkler systems which can prevent the spread of fire.
Insurers who provide Residential Strata Insurance, Commercial Strata Insurance, and Commercial Property Insurance will require disclosure regarding the presence of any type of Sandwich Panel, whether they are ACP systems or other systems that utilise an Expandable Polystyrene (EPS) Core.
This is because Insurers of Residential Strata Insurance, Commercial Strata Insurance, and Commercial Property Insurance deem sandwich panels, particularly those with an EPS core to be a high fire hazard. Non-Disclosure of ACP or EPS panels, even for decorative purposes could negatively impact the outcome of a claim if they are not disclosed on your Residential Strata Insurance or Commercial Strata Insurance policy.
If your apartment, unit complex, townhouse or other strata complex has external cladding or walls made entirely from sandwich panels, you should work with your executive committee to raise the question of whether your building materials are compliant and whether their presence has been disclosed to your Residential Strata Insurance, Commercial Strata Insurance, and Commercial Property Insurance provider.