A REPORT to Mornington Peninsula Shire Council has revealed how many buildings are regarded being a fire safety risk because of combustible cladding, but their locations remain a secret.
Work required to make safe two buildings listed in the highest risk category is being overseen by the Victorian Building Authority while another 11 properties have been issued with notices by the shire to be made safe.
The two buildings being supervised by the VBA are unlikely to qualify for financial help from Cladding Safety Victoria because they are not residential apartments or publicly owned.
In a report to council’s 22 November meeting, municipal building surveyor Ashley Hansen said that of another 30 properties that did not fall within the scope of the VBA, council inspections had cleared 10 and the remaining 20 would be reviewed to see if any action was needed.
“Council is currently working on the 11 affected properties that have been served notices regarding their ESM (essential safety measures). This is to ensure the safety of the occupants is maintained until further investigations and rectification can occur,” Hansen said.
Hansen’s report followed a council direction in May to “update our community on the situation regarding combustible cladding of buildings”. Officers said they could provide councillors with “a brief update” by 19 July (“Building fire risk ‘update’ by August” The News 27/6/22).
Hansen last week said council was obligated to carry out safety investigations and ensure that non-compliant buildings were “brought up to the standard that is required by the building legislation”.
“On the basis of current criteria” it was estimated there would be fewer than 259 affected properties on the peninsula containing aluminium composite panels (ACP) or expanded polystyrene (EPS).
Hansen said the number was estimated to be “significantly lower” as “the highest risk buildings of three or more storeys were prioritised by the VBA at the onset of the program”.
Hansen’s report gives specific numbers of buildings that may be a fire risk because of combustible cladding, but no addresses.
“This matter does not require engagement with the broader community as there are also privacy principles that apply to the information that the council, VBA and CSV hold and council is not able to disclose personal information to third parties.”
Hansen said prospective buyers could ask council for information about any notices “if a building has been issued with a notice or order to rectify the buildings or works”.
Buildings included in the audit of combustible cladding are multi-unit residential buildings (Class 2); boarding houses, hotel, motel, backpackers (Class 3); and buildings of a public nature such as hospitals, schools, halls, churches, function centres, theatres and aged care facilities (Class 9).
The municipal building surveyor has responsibility for fixing problems with buildings not regarded by the VBA as high risk.
Hansen said the VBA based its classification on such factors as the number of storeys, the extent and location of combustible cladding and risk to occupants. “The primary concern relating to combustible cladding issue is to ensure the safety of the occupants of a building and the community, and take any action deemed necessary to achieve compliance.”
Alarm about the dangers of aluminium composite cladding was raised in June 2017 when 72 people died when London’s 20-storey Grenfell Tower caught fire. In March 2019, a cigarette was blamed for a blaze in Melbourne’s Neo200 building that that jumped five storeys (“‘Fire risk’ audit excludes houses” The News 22/2/21).