The NSW government says it has taken a major step forward in dealing with the removal of flammable cladding from the state’s 214 high-risk high rises – by approving four types of cladding with which to replace it.
Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson this week released an independent report outlining four safe and non-flammable product categories that can replace high-risk cladding of the type that caused the deadly Grenfell Tower fire in London four years ago, as well as fires in Melbourne and Dubai.
Mr Anderson said the four categories had been recommended by the experts of the Cladding Product Safety Panel as part of Project Remediate, the NSW Government’s billion-dollar program to remove combustible cladding.
“Thanks to our panel of experts we’ve now identified four, safe, options that can be specified for use as part of the Government’s replacement program,” Mr Anderson said.
“We are taking the lowest possible risk approach to fire safety. That’s why every component we are recommending in the first tranche will have to meet the highest fire safety standard under the Building Code of Australia. The system includes fixings, brackets, and insulation, and will also need to be completely non-combustible.”
Mr Anderson said the project would also appoint a single façade engineer who will provide guidance and quality assurance of the cladding system design on every building remediated by the Government.
Four system categories are considered acceptable replacement options for Project Remediate, subject to additional design requirements. These categories are:
- Solid aluminium panels installed with cavity barriers and fire-proof mechanical fixings
- Solid metal sheets installed with cavity barriers and fire-proof mechanical fixings
- Fibre cement panels installed with cavity barriers and fire-proof mechanical fixings
- Non-combustible cement render.
“Homeowners need to be confident their building will be rectified with systems that are safe,” Mr Anderson said. “That’s why we will also be requiring products and systems in each of the recommended categories to have demonstrated independent fire testing before they can be specified in designs under this program
Chair of the Cladding Product Safety Panel Professor, Mark Hoffman said the panel would be giving further consideration to additional products and systems but only after more rigorous independent testing is completed and demonstrated.
“There may be additional systems that can safely include elements with some combustibility. The panel will consider submissions relating to these but to date, we have not been provided with robust data from independent accredited labs which tests both the product and the system,” Mr Hoffman said.