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Fire Risk Cladding – Urgent Government Action Required to the City of Sydney

Posted 05 June 2019

Category: Building Defects

The list of Sydney properties on the combustible cladding register has been made public and the results are shocking. 341 properties are on the register in Sydney alone and many of these are high profile, residential, retail and public buildings. Even more shocking is that no mandatory assessment regime has been imposed and that fire safety orders have been made in only 7 cases.

Information on the Planning NSW website suggests that the NSW Government’s decision not to impose mandatory safety assessments was based on problems in the insurance market limiting the number of experts available for such assessments. Given the enormous risks involved, as illustrated by the London Grenfell disaster, neither that position nor the justification for it is satisfactory.

Given the complexity and costs involved, building owners may be unwilling or unable to resolve their fire risk cladding issues, at least without assistance. Compounding the problem, the Government seems to be leaving it to councils to address the issue. However, Councils have not been given the additional powers and resources which they would require to do so.

Clearly, a whole of government response involving the Commonwealth, NSW and councils is required and the NSW Government should take a leadership role in formulating such a response. The objective would be to create a framework within which fire risk cladding issues can be resolved promptly and effectively, with building owners receiving such technical and other assistance as may be required for that purpose.

***The information contained in this article is general information only and not legal advice. The currency, accuracy and completeness of this article (and its contents) should be checked by obtaining independent legal advice before you take any action or otherwise rely upon its contents in any way.

Bannermans Lawyers

Published 05 June 2019

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